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Covid-19 Health Precautions | How to Properly Disinfect Your Car

DirectAsia Insurance_a person wearing gloves, holding a spray bottle cleaning the interior of the car

PSA: 5 Steps to Sanitize Your Car Against Covid-19 

Reading time: 3 mins

The recent spike of Covid-19 cases in Singapore, serve as a reminder that it may take a while before our daily lives return to somewhat normal. While wearing masks and social distancing in public can help curb its spread when we head out, don’t forget that your car can also become an incubator of the coronavirus as you shuttle between home, work, and other essential destinations.

But don’t worry! There are ways you can keep your car sanitised and void of any pesky bacteria and viruses. We’ve put together 6 useful and simple steps you can do at home, if you’re reluctant to head out to the car wash and not sure how to go about disinfecting your car to limit your exposure.

Step 1: Vacuum the Interior

If you haven’t cleaned your car in a while, then this is a good place to start. Vacuum all parts of the interior, especially the crevices to remove accumulated dust. Although you can’t just vacuum up a virus, ensuring that the interior is clean and void of debris is the first step of properly sanitising your car. It’s best to wear a face mask while you do this so that you don’t breathe in the tiny dust particles or bacteria blown into the air.

Step 2: Wipe Down all Main Touch Points

Next, wipe down all areas that are frequently touched, like the steering wheel, dashboard, armrest, knobs, handles, levers, windows, mirrors, display screens, cup holders, paddle shifts and the gearstick. Remember that some of these areas have tiny nooks and compartments, which can harbour germs and it’s a known fact that Covid-19 can transmit and remain infectious for up to 72 hours on plastic and stainless steel surfaces. So, it's important to give all interior surfaces a thorough wipe-down.

However, refrain from using bleach or hydrogen peroxide when cleaning the interior of your car. Although these substances are good disinfectants, it can also cause damage to the vinyl and plastics used in most modern vehicles today. You also shouldn’t use ammonia-based cleaning products, like glass cleaners for your windows or display screens, as it can corrode the tint and anti-glare coating. It’s best to use isopropyl alcohol-based cleaners or wipes. If you don’t have this on hand, then a simple solution of warm water and soap will get the job done. Use gloves when cleaning all surfaces as you want to ensure no dirt or foreign bodies get onto your hands.

Step 3: Disinfect the Seats

Once you’ve thoroughly cleaned all interior surfaces, move on to the seats. This is another hot zone that could be housing unwanted bacteria or virus particles that you or your passengers unwittingly carried in. However, cleaning your car seats can be tricky, depending on what material it's covered with – fabric or leather. 

For fabric seats, use a disinfectant spray meant for cloth, as it dries out quickly and won’t leave your seats damp. Spray all surfaces of the seats and let it dry out with your car doors open. 

For leather seats on the other hand, you shouldn’t use an abrasive cleaner as it can easily strip it of its natural oils. It’s best to use a microfiber cloth with soap and water to clean off any dirt, so you don’t scratch the leather. It’s also a good idea to apply a leather conditioner after cleaning, to help preserve the leather’s moisture, strength, durability, and appearance.

Step 4:  Clean the Air-con Vents

There’s a high likelihood that there are loose particles of bacteria that may be stuck in your car’s air-con vents. The best way to clean this out is with a pressurised cleaner, as shown in the image above. Just remember to mask up for added protection when you spray through the vents. If there’s still loose dirt stuck in the vents,  then grab a vacuum and hold it against the vent cover to suck out all debris. You can wipe any remaining dirt and dust off the vent slots with a cloth or sponge.

Step 5: Wash the Car Mats

Finally, wash out all the car mats thoroughly to get rid of dirt and bacteria that may have been carried in by your shoes. If you have delicate fabric car mats, then you should look for a proper mat cleaning solution that will not ruin the colour or feel of it. But if you have the usual rubber mats, a solution of warm water, soap and vinegar will suffice. Use a brush to give it a good scrub and let it dry out properly before you put it back into your car.

A Word of Advice to All Car Owners

Do ensure that your car is properly disinfected and does not become a breeding ground for the Covid-19 virus or other harmful bacteria. It's even more crucial to clean out your car if you are a rideshare driver and constantly have different passengers in your vehicle. You might need to set aside some time for this to be done routinely, to avoid the risk of contracting Covid-19, or simply send it to a professional car wash regularly. Practice these steps to stay sanitized and healthy!

Besides protecting your family and other passengers from bacteria and viruses, by cleaning the interior of your car, ensure you also have good car insurance to protect them and your vehicle while on the road. If you have any questions related to car insurance in Singapore, check out DirectAsia’s official website, drop us an enquiry or call us at 6665 5555 and we’ll be happy to help!