Disinfecting Without Damage

27 Jun 2020
How to keep the car’s interior clean and pristine

Amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, frequent hand washing is a crucial part of staying healthy, but so is disinfecting surfaces, including those in your car. Yet the very cleaning agents to disinfect could well end up damaging the surfaces of your car’s interior.

“Most people are still using their vehicles, whether they are essential employees commuting to work or someone running to the grocery store while in quarantine,” said Ryan Fulkerson of Nissan North America. “We want to make sure they’re informed on how to best keep their vehicle disinfected.”

It is recommended that disposable gloves are used for cleaning and disinfecting surfaces. Then if a surface appears dirty, it should be wiped down with soap and water prior to disinfection. For vehicle interiors, a soft or microfiber cloth dampened with soap and water can be used to wipe down hard surfaces.

While most common household disinfectants are effective, some are not ideal for use on a vehicle including bleach, hydrogen peroxide, benzene, thinners or other harsh and abrasive cleaners. These chemical products can damage your vehicle’s upholstery and interior surfaces. Instead, alcohol-based wipes or sprays containing at least 70% alcohol are effective against the coronavirus according to the CDC, and can be safely used in your vehicle.

Care is important when it comes to the central control console. The infotainment screen is tricky because it is a high-touch area that should not come in contact with aggressive cleaners. Use screen wipes or a soft cloth dampened with soap and water to clean the screen surface, then make sure to wipe dry with a clean, soft cloth. Ammonia-based cleaners should not be used on infotainment screens, as they can damage the anti-glare and anti-fingerprint coatings. If the vehicle is equipped to do so, using voice commands can help avoid touching the centre screen altogether, keeping the surface clean and germ-free.

 

The following checklist will help you remember vehicles surfaces to regularly disinfect:

  • Steering wheel
  • Key and remote fob
  • Exterior door handles, both sides
  • Trunk lid or lift gate grab areas
  • Interior door pulls, both sides and interior door panels
  • Start button, if equipped
  • Rear view mirror, back and edges
  • AC vents
  • Gear selector
  • Turn signal lever
  • Windshield wiper controls
  • Centre stack knobs
  • Centre console and arm rest
  • Seat belt and buckle. Avoid harsh cleaners on the belt itself, they can degrade the fibres and the belt’s strength
  • Parking brake handle, parking brake or release lever