We know many of you are keeping each other safe and not using your cars too much during the current coronavirus pandemic. However, if you do need to make an essential trip, you must reduce your risk of contracting or spreading COVID-19.
If you are using your car to do the following essential outings: travel to work, pick up shopping, attend medical appointments or check on vulnerable people, then you must stay alert to the dangers. To help, here is some advice that my guys and I have about keeping you, your loved ones and your car safe for the journey.
We all know that cleaning our car is not necessarily something we look forward to doing. Still, during this time, it is incredibly important.
Here is a systematic cleaning checklist of touchpoints you need to keep clean:
- The driver area - (steering wheel; central console; levers and switches; internal door release) is essential, as it is used the most.
- Front passenger area - glove compartment inside and out; central console; levers and switches; internal door release
- Rear seats - cup holders; armrests; switches; cabin lights; internal door release
- Seat belt clips - are often forgotten during the cleaning process. Parents doing up seat belts for children in the back could be at risk to spread the virus or bacteria in the process.
- External car handles - are the first point of contact with any vehicle. The boot latch is especially crucial after a food shop, as most people do not think about potentially transferring germs from the shopping cart handle to the lock of the car boot.
- Bonnet - bonnet release; engine bay; oil cap; windscreen fluid cap and oil gauge
- Boot - internal release; parcel shelf and spare wheel compartment
- As summer is nearly here, electric window buttons, window handles, and sunshades will be used more frequently and should be added to the list.
- Car keys - they are often attached to a key ring with multiple other important keys used daily and accumulate dirt, bacteria, or viruses
It is vital to protect yourself. The key to reducing the spread of coronavirus is always remembering to wash your hands. You should do this every time you venture out of your home. Coronavirus is unable to stick to the skin when soap and water are used, as this breaks down the outside lipid layer of the virus, and it will be washed away.
So before starting, wash your hands, dry, and then put on washing up gloves, and where possible, limit the areas of skin on show to avoid any unnecessary direct contact. You are going to dislodge a lot of dirt and dust, so you may want to consider wearing a facemask to prevent breathing in anything that can lead to reduced health.
Locate all the cleaning products you are going to need. It is not necessary to go on a hunt for multiple specific cleaning products. All that is required is a bleach-free household disinfectant or even just soap. Avoiding bleach is essential, as it may damage plastics and vinyl. Also, chlorine bleach can weaken the fabric of seat belts – so should not be used.
Take care cleaning media screens, such as touch displays, these may be affected by household glass cleaners, due to their anti-glare coatings. So, again, we recommend a damp cloth and regular soap and water as a better option.
Open all the doors and windows for maximum ventilation. Pull out the floor mats, take off the seat covers and remove any items from the seats or back shelf until the car is completely empty. Then, meticulously sweep out every bit of debris.
Do not forget to empty the boot and get to work in there too. It is going to get plenty of use, considering the main reason to leave the house is to do your supermarket shop.
Vacuum the whole car thoroughly. Get a stiff brush into the corners to remove any stubborn dirt, grime, or mould, to loosen it up before attacking those extra-problem areas with the vacuum.
Sponge down the seats and all material parts of your car's interior. If you have got a bowl or container big enough, fill it with the same mix of hot water and detergent and leave all the floor mats and loose fabric items to soak for at least half an hour.
Keep water use to a minimum – You want your car to get a thorough wash, but it is essential not to use too much water or soak your seats and footwells. Too much water can promote mould growth, which in turn leads to musty odours and foul-smelling interiors. Be sure that all fabric dries thoroughly, before reducing the ventilation to your car's interior.
Be methodical in your approach and work your way through the vehicle's interior from one area to the next. This could mean starting with the dashboard, before moving on to the steering wheel and media area. The gear stick and handbrake, over to the seats and then finally the doors, handles and other surfaces. You should remember to focus on areas where the driver and other occupants will commonly meet so you can eliminate the possibility of coronavirus on these touchpoints.
Your car's interior should now be looking and smelling its best. Washing your car's exterior with car shampoo or hot soapy water comes next. The most essential areas for concern are, of course, the door handles. Let soap rest on them for five minutes or so to maximise its impact.
Do not forget the boot handle or switch. It may be hidden out of sight, but it is going to receive a lot from human contact. The boot sill where you grab it to shut the boot again is also a prominent point of contact, so be sure to pay close attention there too.
Rinse off all the soap and dirty water to reveal your impeccably clean car.
As we said earlier, good vehicle hygiene offers many benefits in regular life. Still, it is more beneficial than ever right now.
If you can get into the routine of regular car cleaning and sanitising, then you are giving yourself and your family the best chances of protection from the virus.
Please also look after yourself when filling up with petrol, make sure your hands are covered. If you have a pair of gloves brilliant. Otherwise, we always advise keeping a pair of latex gloves in the car.
We cannot ignore the harsh way that this health emergency is affecting our daily life. So, we want to let you know that we’re here for you. We can check your tyre pressures, lights, oil and water. We also offer a free battery test and charging service. Plus, if your car is due an MOT, we can sort this out too.
You do not need to leave your home; we will collect and drop off your car. My guys always wear protective gloves and are following all the handwashing protocols. They will maintain safe distances when dealing with you to avoid physical contact, and there’s no need to sign for anything - we’ll do it over the telephone. Before returning your car, we will have given all surfaces a sanitising cleanse.
We just want to add again, for all the NHS staff, nurses, doctors, contract cleaners and other essential keyworkers struggling with their cars, please call Andy on 01628 788880. We will make sure your vehicle is in working order, so you can continue being heroes.
Stay safe, everyone. Hopefully, by the summer, our daily lives will return to normal.