Men Washing His Car

Cleaning and Sanitizing Your Car
Tips on How to Clean Your Car

At Herb Chambers Ford of Westborough, we fully understand the concerns our clients have about exposure to COVID-19, or coronavirus. In order to reduce the risk of spreading germs outside of their homes, people in Westborough and across Massachusetts are wearing masks, frequently using hand sanitizer and sanitizing items they purchase on errands. What might be overlooked, though, is that those same items are touching the interior of their vehicles when they load them in. According to the World Health Organization, studies suggest that the coronavirus may live on surfaces for a few hours or up to several days. That means that you should be sanitizing the interior of your car to kill any germs it may have collected on your last visit to the grocery store or pharmacy. 

Car cleaner wiping car door with rag

How Long Does the Coronavirus Survive on Surfaces?

The interior of your car is made up of many different materials, so it should come as no surprise that you'll need several tools to properly clean them all. The same tool that you use on soft leather seats may not work for the plastic on your dash. According to the National Institutes of Health, the virus that causes COVID-19 is stable for up to 24 hours on cardboard and up to two to three days on plastic or stainless steel. Another study suggests that similar viruses can live on "inanimate surfaces like metal, glass or plastic for up to nine days."

Cleaning the interior of the car with a microfiber cloth

What's the Best Way to Sanitize My Car's Interior?

Wash your hands before sanitizing your vehicle, and use disposable gloves if you have them available. Most common EPA-registered household disinfectants will work well for sanitizing your vehicle. Just be sure to read the product's label to make sure it's safe for the surface you're planning to use it on. Have extra disinfecting wipes and hand sanitizer? Keep some in your vehicle for next time!

How to Disinfect Surfaces in My Car

The most important areas of your Ford to keep clean are the dashboard and the steering wheel. Bacteria tends to collect in these spots, as air is cycled throughout the vehicle. To clean your dash, simply use soap and water. Dish soap can be used for this application. First, dampen the surface of what you want to clean. Second and lastly, scrub for 20-30 seconds. Make sure to focus on high-touch areas within your vehicle, like the steering wheel and dash. Other surfaces can include:

  • Door Handles
  • Door Buttons
  • Key Fob
  • Steering Wheel
  • Inside Door Buttons
  • Seat Belts
  • Gear Shifters
  • Touchscreens
  • Buttons on the Dash
  • Buttons for Lights
  • Buttons for Windshield Wipers
  • Glove Compartment

Do I Need to Disinfect My Car's Exterior?

Thanks to the sun and other weather elements, germs are less likely to thrive on the exterior of your Ford. That being said, it still is smart to disinfect areas you touch most frequently. These areas include door handles, handle buttons and the gas cap.

bleach container

Are There Disinfectants I Should Avoid Using in My Car?

If you want to avoid damaging your Ford model's interior surfaces, don't use bleach or hydrogen peroxide to disinfect. These can damage the vinyl and plastics in your cabin. You should also avoid any ammonia-based cleaning products used to clean glass, as they can break down the vinyl on the dashboard. Heat and light may then cause your dashboard to become sticky.

Worker washing of interior leather seats

How to Clean Leather Seats in My Car

Wondering how to clean the leather seats in your Ford car, truck, van or SUV? Be sure to spot test the cleaner you have on a hidden area in your vehicle. This will help to ensure it works properly for your application. When cleaning, also make sure to use a microfiber cloth to avoid scratching the leather. Don't have cleaner? Simply mix one part water with two parts vinegar to make your own! Afterward, apply leather conditioner if possible.

Here at Herb Chambers Ford of Westborough, we want to do our part to help educate our clients and keep them safe and healthy during this difficult time. If you have any questions about car care or need assistance, please don't hesitate to reach out to our Ford dealership in Westborough, MA.