As COVID-19 is wreaking havoc around the world, people are adjusting to the new reality. Keeping hands and surfaces clean is a big part of it.
We are getting used to washing our hands as often as possible and disinfecting surfaces in our homes. However, some of us are overlooking the obvious places a virus could linger — our vehicles.
Let’s talk about turning your vehicle into a sanitizing station and keeping all the necessary surfaces clean.
1. Stock Up on the Right Products
What should you have in your car during the pandemic?
- Single-use gloves (make sure you have the right size)
- Hand sanitizer (at least 70% of alcohol)
- Sanitizing wipes (at least 70% of alcohol)
- Paper towels
- Clean masks
- Trash bags
Even if you already have all these in your car, you may not have them arranged for easy use. So now, it’s time to do some organizing.
2. Arrange Easy Access
What do you do when you enter your car? You either put the key in the ignition or reach for your seatbelt. Before you do any of these things, you need to clean your hands. That’s why all sanitizing tools must be within easy reach.
- Install a passenger seat organizer with many compartments.
- Use the standard back of the seat organizer. Simply strap it on the front of the passenger seat.
- Create a DIY organizer. Anything works as long as all sanitizing tools are stacked separately and located within your reach.
All organizer compartments must be large enough for you to reach the contents easily without touching any other objects.
3. Use Your Dashboard
If your passenger seat is occupied or you need quicker access, consider mounting objects on your dashboard. You can use special mounting tape to keep the most important tools like sanitizer handy.
When you just enter your car, you usually act on autopilot. A hand sanitizer sticking up on the dashboard will remind you about the new part of your driving routine.
4. Install a Trash Bin
With all the masks, gloves, and paper towels you are using during the pandemic, you need a place to dispose of them. Arrange a trash bin behind the passenger seat or, if you don’t drive any passengers, place it at the bottom of the front seat.
Throwing things into a bin is much easier than opening the bag and putting trash inside. If you don’t have time or budget to purchase a special trash bin for vehicles, a cardboard box can work just fine.
5. Secure All Items
When you brake or swerve, your entire sanitizing station could go flying around the vehicle. Make sure your organizer, trash bin, and dashboard items are properly secured. You can use mounting tape, straps, Velcro or anything else that comes to mind.
6. Replace the Sanitizer Timely
Since the hot season is coming up, leaving sanitizer in the car for a long time could render it ineffective. Sunlight and the heat it generates can cause the alcohol to evaporate. So consider replacing the sanitizer every one or two weeks.
7. Consider Keychain Sanitizers
You can keep door handles clean if you sanitize your hands before touching them. Achieving that is possible by attaching a keychain sanitizer to your car keys. Every time you pull your keys out of the pocket, you’ll remember to use a sanitizer before entering the vehicle.
How to Clean Your Car during the COVID-19 Pandemic and Beyond
Even if you clean your hands before touching the car surfaces, you still need to disinfect the interior of your vehicle, especially if you drive any passengers.
- Use microfiber cloths to collect as much dirt as possible without damaging surfaces.
- Pay special attention to the door handles. Clean both exterior and interior handles daily.
- Close the a/c vents and dust them with a foam paintbrush. Run a disinfecting wipe over the vent. Never spray disinfectant solutions inside the vents.
- Clean and disinfect your car mats once a week. Don’t use bleach or you may wash away the color.
- Use a disinfecting wipe to clean gearshifts and signaling levers every time you use your vehicle.
- Wipe seats and seat pockets with damp cloth and mild soap.
- Consider cleaning your trunk professionally once a month.
- Spot test all the cleaning products before using them on interior car surfaces.
Other parts of your vehicle that need special attention during the pandemic are:
- Steering wheel
- Window control buttons
- Cup holders
- Ignition and power buttons
- Heating controls
- Radio controls
Always wear gloves when cleaning your vehicle.
Keeping Your Car In Top Shape during the Pandemic
Even if you continue driving to work during the pandemic, you probably don’t use your vehicle as often as before. To make sure it stays in top shape, consider doing the following:
- Check the battery — when the car sits idle for several days, the battery can drain down. Run the car at least once a week for about 10 minutes to replenish the battery’s power.
- Check the fluids — if you aren’t using the car regularly, check the oil and other fluids once a week to make sure it’s in good shape when you finally need it.
- Check the tires — your tire pressure may go down with time, so check it once every week or two.
- Look for pests — insects, birds, and small animals tend to view an unused vehicle as a nice place to make a new home. Consider cleaning the car regularly and driving it around the block to keep the unwanted tenants away.
Make Your Car a Safe Place
Even when the government starts lifting strict lockdown measures, the virus won’t go anywhere. So keeping your vehicle clean will stay on the agenda.
COVID-19 isn’t the only virus people have to deal with on a daily basis. That’s why all the cleaning habits you acquire during the pandemic will be useful in the future.