How to Clean Your Car for Coronavirus

Men Washing His Car

Cleaning and Sanitizing Your Car
Tips On How to Keep Your Car Clean

At LeBrun Toyota, we fully understand the concerns our clients have about exposure to COVID-19, or coronavirus. People in Canandaigua and across New York are wearing masks, frequently using hand sanitizer and sanitizing items they purchase during their errands to reduce the risk of exposure to germs. What they might forget, though, is that once those purchased items are loaded into their car, they are then touching the interior. 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?

Your Toyota interior is comprised of many different materials, including cloth, plastic and even carbon fiber in some cases. You’ll find that several tools are required to sanitize all these surfaces correctly. 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?

Always wash your hands before sanitizing your vehicle. And if you have them, wear disposable gloves. 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. Keep a package of disinfecting wipes and a bottle of hand sanitizer in your vehicle at all times, so you can be ready to clean within a moment’s notice.

How to Disinfect Surfaces in My Car

The most important areas of your Toyota 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 works perfectly well for this application — just dampen the surface and then scrub for 20-30 seconds. Make sure to focus on areas your touch most frequently, including but not limited to the dash and steering wheel. Other high-touch 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?

Because of the sun, wind, rain and other weather elements, germs are less likely to thrive on the exterior of your Toyota. That doesn’t mean you should skip over areas you frequent when cleaning, though. Make sure to sanitize surfaces like door handles, handle buttons and the gas cap.

close up of bleach container

Are There Disinfectants I Should Avoid Using in My Car?

If you want to avoid damaging your Toyota 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 what you should use to clean the leather seats in your Toyota? Only use leather cleaner, and if you don’t have any, you can simply mix two parts vinegar with one part water to make your own. Before using the cleaner, make sure to spot test it on a hidden area within your vehicle’s interior. This will help you to ensure it works properly on the material. When cleaning, always use a microfiber cloth to avoid scratching the leather. Afterward, apply a leather conditioner to give your seats an extra polish.

Here at LeBrun Toyota, 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 Toyota dealership in Canandaigua, NY.