Men Washing His Car

How to Clean Your Car for Coronavirus

At Cascade Subaru, we fully understand the concerns our customers have about exposure to COVID-19, or coronavirus. In order to reduce the risk of exposure to germs, many people in Wenatchee, WA, are taking precautions by washing their hands and using hand sanitizer as well as wearing gloves and masks when necessary. Even with these precautions, however, it can be difficult to remember to properly sanitize the inside of your vehicle after loading groceries or other items. 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 Coronavirus Survive on Surfaces?

Your Subaru interior has many different materials, from plastic to cloth to leather and more. You may need different tools and cleaning solutions depending on which area you're cleaning. 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?

If you have disposable gloves available, put them on once you wash your hands. 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. If you have enough to spare, it's a good idea to keep disinfectant wipes and a bottle of hand sanitizer in your Subaru.

How to Disinfect Surfaces in My Car

The most important areas of your Subaru 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. Focus on different high-touch areas in your vehicle, and be sure to wipe down the steering wheel and dash with a disinfecting solution. If you don't have any disinfectant, you can use dish soap and water. High-touch surfaces to focus on cleaning 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 environmental factors like the sun and rain, it's less likely germs will survive for very long on the exterior of your vehicle. You should still regularly wipe down high-touch areas such as the door handles and gas cap, though.

bleach container

Are There Disinfectants I Should Avoid Using in My Car?

If you want to avoid damaging your Subaru interior, 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

Spot test your leather cleaner on a hidden area to ensure it works well with your specific seats. Be sure to use a microfiber cloth to avoid scratching the leather, and if you have any leather conditioner you can apply it after cleaning. Don't have a leather cleaning solution? You can make your own by combining two parts vinegar with one part water.

Here at Cascade Subaru, we want to do our part to help educate our customers 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 Subaru dealership in Wenatchee, WA.

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