Car Sanitization & Disinfecting: What Goes Into It
The COVID pandemic changed society’s definition of cleanliness. Before, things were described as either “clean” or “dirty.” Now we toss around terms like germ-free, disinfected, and sanitized. And they don’t all mean the same thing.
Cleaning is removing dirt, dust, crumbs, and germs. Using soap and water to physically clean surfaces doesn’t necessarily kill the germs, but you’ve removed some that might infect you.
When you disinfect something, you use chemicals, like bleach and alcohol solutions, to kill germs on surfaces. But disinfecting doesn’t necessarily clean dirty surfaces.
Sanitizing means that you are reducing the number of germs to a safe level by cleaning and/or disinfecting surfaces. What is considered a safe level depends on public health standards or standards set by specific industries like food service or healthcare.
Since the beginning of the pandemic, people are more concerned with the level of sanitization of their surroundings. That’s why auto dealerships and car rental agencies have begun taking extra steps to sanitize the vehicles on their lots.
How to Disinfect Car Interiors
First, find a cleaning solution that’s tough enough to kill the germs but not so harsh that it will damage the vehicle’s interior.
The first choice of many car cleaning professionals is 70% isopropyl alcohol. Besides killing germs, it also removes smudges, stains, and residues. It is safe to use on most car interiors. Mild soap and water are safe to use, and vigorous scrubbing can wash away germs. Most common EPA-approved household disinfectants will work on cars as well. Read the label to make sure, and test it in an inconspicuous spot.
Whatever cleaning products you use, apply them with a microfiber cloth to avoid scratching delicate surfaces. And never use bleach or hydrogen peroxide to clean the interior of a car.
Start by Vacuuming
Remove the floor mats and thoroughly vacuum the car to remove dust and debris. Besides the floors and the seats, you’ll want to vacuum under the seats, the cup holders, glove compartment, the trunk, and other storage areas. This will help eliminate germs.
Focus on High-Touch Surfaces
Car sanitization involves cleaning the entire vehicle, but you’ll want to concentrate on high-touch surfaces, which have the highest level of germs.
- The Steering Wheel
- The Dashboard
- Door Handles
- The Key
Pay attention to small spaces where viruses and bacteria can hide, like the seams on the wheel or the buttons that operate the radio and the cruise control.
The buttons and knobs on the dashboard, along with the gearshift, are touched frequently whenever someone operates the car.
Disinfect both the interior and exterior handles. Don’t use disinfectant wipes on the exterior handles, as they may damage the paint.
Disinfect the straps and the buckles.
Don’t forget to wipe down the key, as it is handled by everyone who drives that car.
Sanitizing the Seats
How you sanitize the car’s seats depends on whether they are upholstery or leather.
For cloth seats, use mild soap and water, but don’t use too much. If suds soak into the fabric, you will never get it out. And if the seats get soaked all the way through, you could wind up with a mold problem.
Disinfecting Leather Seats
Use a cleaner specifically designed for leather and spot test it in an inconspicuous area to make sure it will work well. Use a microfiber cloth so you don’t scratch the leather. Don’t rub too hard because most leathers are dyed, and you could wind up removing layers of color.
Clean the Floor Mats
If they are rubber, disinfect them with alcohol. If they’re carpet, clean them with mild soap and water and make sure they are thoroughly dry before returning them to the car.
Enviro-Master Can Help
If you have an entire fleet of cars, car sanitization is a big job, one your employees may not have time to do while they are busy trying to sell or lease these vehicles to customers. And your regular cleaning crew may not know how to disinfect car interiors.
The germ-killing experts at Enviro-Master Services can help. We offer a one-of-a-kind weekly electrostatic spraying service that cleans and sanitizes using a hospital-grade disinfectant. This disinfectant is electrostatically charged before it is applied, in order to extend the amount of time it clings to surfaces. It is safe to use on hard and soft surfaces alike, and our 360-degree coverage reaches places other cleaning methods can’t.
Contact Enviro-Master Today
If you’d like to learn more about our electrostatic spraying services, as well as the other services we offer, and how we can help you with your car sanitization needs, contact us today.