Men Washing His Car

How to Clean Your Car for Coronavirus

At Mercedes-Benz of Kingsport, we fully understand the concerns our customers have about exposure to COVID-19, or coronavirus. From wearing masks and gloves to frequently using hand sanitizer and sanitizing items they purchase, many people in Kingsport, TN, are already taking necessary precautions to reduce the risk of exposure to germs outside their homes. However, it's important to pay attention to your car's interior surfaces, too. 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 Coronavirus Survive on Surfaces?

There are many surfaces in your car's interior, from soft leather seats to plastic on the dash. Therefore, you may find that you'll need several different tools for cleaning your vehicle. 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?

First and foremost, wash your hands before you begin sanitizing your vehicle. Disposable gloves are also great to wear if you have them. 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. For the future, keep disinfectant wipes and a small bottle of hand sanitizer in your car so that you can wipe down interior surfaces frequently.

Worker washing of interior leather seats

How to Clean Leather Seats in My Car

Leather surfaces can be tricky, so always spot test any type of leather cleaner on a hidden area to ensure it will work with your specific seats. Furthermore, use a microfiber cloth while cleaning to avoid scratching the leather. For those without any leather cleaner readily on hand, mixing two parts vinegar with one part water can produce your own solution. If possible, always apply a leather conditioner after cleaning.

How to Disinfect Surfaces in My Car

The most important areas of your Mercedes-Benz 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 also works if you simply dampen the surface and scrub for 20-30 seconds. In addition to your dashboard, seats and steering wheel, focus on cleaning high-touch places within your car. These 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 outdoor elements like weather, germs are less likely to live on the outside of your vehicle. It's still smart to frequently disinfect areas you touch frequently, such as the gas cap, door handles or handle buttons.

Are There Disinfectants I Should Avoid Using in My Car?

If you want to avoid damaging your Mercedes-Benz'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.

Here at Mercedes-Benz of Kingsport, we want to do our part to help educate our customers 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 Mercedes-Benz dealership in Kingsport, TN.