Attila Dobos, operations director at LeasePlan UK
With COVID-19 spreading across the globe, the need for all of us to practise good hygiene has never been greater.
This means that we have to take extra care to keep our cars clean and disinfected, as this will reduce the chance of the coronavirus being transmitted through commonly touched surfaces such as our steering wheel, gearstick, radio and door handles.
To ensure your car remains a safe space, here is full guide to sanitising your car from the inside out.
Step 1: Protect yourself first
Before stepping out to clean your car, it is important that you wear the right protective gear. Put on a pair of high-quality rubber gloves and a face mask if you can, as there will be a lot of dirt particles in the air as your dust surfaces. Apply a generous amount of alcohol-based sanitiser to your hands before putting on the gloves so that you have an extra layer of protection. Though you may usually wear a pair of shorts and a t-shirt when cleaning your car, at this time, we recommend you wear jeans and a full-sleeve top to limit the amount of direct contact to your skin.
Step 2: A regular clean
Start your car clean in the same manner that you would normally. Pull out the floor mats and dust them, use a vacuum cleaner and work on getting all the dirt and grime out from the corners. While you’re at it, you can vacuum the seats as well. Remember to dispose of the vacuumed dirt effectively, preferably in a bin bag you can throw into your main bin immediately. Do not leave it lying around where someone might inadvertently come into contact with it.
Step 3: The soak
Take a large tub of water and add regular detergent or a liquid soap and mix well. Take all the carpets/floor mats and soak them in this tub. If you have any other fabric that is removable in your car, put them in to soak as well. Leave them in the tub for a minimum of 30 minutes before getting them out and leaving them in the sun to dry.
Step 4: Scrub well
Prepare a separate soap-based mix to be used as a scrub for fabrics that can’t be removed from your car. Dip a sponge in the mix, give it a squeeze so that it isn’t going to soak your car and use it to scrub away at your seats, door panels and armrests. Make sure you reach into all the corners. We recommend that you also give the roof lining a good rub down with the same solution.
Step 5: Down to the detail
Now that your car has been vacuumed and scrubbed, it’s time to get down to the details. Take an alcohol-based disinfectant and put some on a sponge. Use this to rub down all plastic parts including the door panels, centre console, dashboard, the pillar covers between doors and around your windscreen. Don’t forget to clean up the boot of your car as well, as this is one place that sees the most foreign items in the form of shopping and shopping bags. Remember to apply the disinfectant/sanitiser to all the most commonly touched parts of the vehicle including the steering wheel, gear stick, power window buttons, rear view mirror, fuel lid opener and bonnet opener.
Step 6: The exterior
Now that you are done with the interior detailing, it’s time to address the exterior. A soap wash will make sure that all the exterior surfaces are clean, but make sure you are generous with the soap mix and go over commonly touched parts like door handles, mirrors, and the boot. Letting the soap sit there for about 5 minutes, then wash the car down, using a dry cloth to get rid of the excess water.
Step 7: Clean up
Now that your car is done, it’s very important that you dispose of the gloves, waste cloths and other disposable material effectively. All your clothes and car wash cloths and sponges should go straight into the wash and you should take a long shower. After all that effort, you don’t want to leave your clothes lying around as these could potentially contaminate other surfaces, so play safe and proactively get everything cleaned.
Final step: Stay protected
The best defence against COVID-19 is to restrict your movements. A lot of people are already working from home and though there is a lockdown, people are still able to go to the shops and work where necessary.
Avoid driving somewhere unless it’s absolutely essential and remember to always carry an alcohol-based hand sanitiser with you. We recommend using this to periodically rub down the door handles and steering wheel, particularly after you’ve been shopping as you may have touched a contaminated surface.
Finally, if you need to fill up your car at the petrol station, make sure you wear gloves when handling the petrol pumps as these too might be contaminated.