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How to Sanitize Your Car

sanitize your car

Many of us spend more time in our cars than in our beds. And while you may do everything you can to keep your home clean, do you sanitize your car?

Your vehicle can be filled with all kinds of nasty stuff, in addition to the old french fry or lost banana peel that fell between the seats. And what about the germs spread by coughing and sneezing?

Here’s a guide to making sure your vehicle is clean, inside and out.

Washing Your Car

Let’s start with the basics – get out the vacuum and clean the carpets, seats and even the roof. Since you have the vacuum out, clean out the trunk and toss out unused stuff that just seems to accumulate.

Once all the dirt is gone, it is time for a good interior wash. Mix up some mild dish soap and water and use a soft brush and use more of the suds than the actual liquid and brush away, getting into all the nooks and crannies. Wipe off surfaces with a microfiber cloth. There are also specialized interior cleaning products, although soap and water usually does the trick.

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Sanitizing Your Car

Now that the car is clean let’s get to those germs. Disinfectant wipes that both clean and disinfect for all the surfaces that you touch, work well. If disinfectant wipes aren’t available use 70 percent isopropyl alcohol.

Wipe down all surfaces and finish up with a microfiber cloth. In addition to the steering wheel and shifter, other areas you should attack include switches, interior and exterior door handles, armrests, console covers, even the sun visors. A light touch is all you need, don’t flood any surface with cleaner.

Posted by AAA Northeast on Friday, April 3, 2020

Sanitizing Different Materials

If your car has a touch screen, be careful with cleaners. Alcohol-based cleaner can damage touch screens. Some professional cleaning crews will use a 50/50 mixture of vinegar and distilled water sprayed on one microfiber cloth and then wiped down with a clean/dry microfiber cloth. Don’t use paper towels on display screens or gauge clusters, they can scratch these surfaces. Finish up with a quick spray of antibacterial antiseptic spray in the vents and under the seats.

With leather seats, use specialized leather cleaner. Cloth and vinyl seats can be cleaned with interior cleaner or a mild soap and water mix. The same mixture can be used on the carpets and floor mats. Don’t use too much cleaner, flooding the carpets could lead to mold and mildew buildup. Let the carpets dry thoroughly before putting the floor mats back in and don’t forget to secure them in place.

Cleaning your car on a regular basis will minimize germs and help maintain its value. Click here for more tips on how to properly clean your vehicle. 


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15 Thoughts on “How to Sanitize Your Car

  1. Parking your car in the sun with all windows tightly closed will raise interior temperatures to 100+ degrees which should kill germs. Using car soaps rather than dish soaps will safely clean the car inside and out. Lysol spray is great for the air conditioner. Attempting to clean the car like a hospital operating room will have disastrous results. Keep it simple!

    1. Boiling water kills germs, not 100 degrees. CDC says touching surfaces is not a likely transmission of Covid. So don’t go crazy.

  2. Using alcohol on a car interior is a bad idea. It can remove color from surfaces.
    Most sources day that covid only survives
    for a few days so a general cleaning and parking the car for a few days should make it safe.

  3. There is “no water” car wash solution with special microfiber cloths for those who want to wash the car and don’t have access to water.

    1. Hi Janet, an ozone machine is used to deodorize, disinfect, and remove germs and other dangerous particles inside the car. The machine makes “ozone” which is a toxic gas and if used properly kills most if not all the germs and bacteria that are floating around or growing inside your car.

  4. You missed a big one! Ozone machines are not expensive and kill all germs in a vehicle. Run the vehicle with the ait recirculating and in less than an hour your car will have zero odors. ZERO!!!

      1. It is true. An ozone machine treatment produces high levels of ozone far beyond the public health standard for a short time. This is why you have to follow the instructions when using one. They are very effective.

        1. Sorry, Christopher, so what is the EPA missing? You cannot both be correct. Can you explain why you feel you’re correct?

  5. This is really common sense. My question is, with car washes closed, what’s the best way to wash my car? I park in an open lot at my apartment.

    1. There are ways to do detailing, inside and outside, expensive but that will sanitize the car internally, I do believe! And, you car will look 100% better.

  6. Before you change your wiper blades,be sure to clean windshield,anything that is staying on your windshield will pass on to the new wiper blades, that,s why it is important to clean windshield before replacing wiper blades

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