As the pandemic gradually releases its grip, more people are now venturing the outdoors and planning their vacation getaways. While these offer a great time to escape the year-long quarantine, it’s still better to be safe than sorry. So whether we like it or not, we have to follow safety protocols once we step outside our homes.
If you’re planning to go on a long journey with your friends or family, it’s important to keep yourself protected at all times. Your car serves as your first line of defense from all the outside elements so it’s critical to keep it in good shape.
Sending your car to an experienced auto mechanic is the best way to protect your car against unexpected car issues along the way, but what about COVID-19? Keep reading to discover ways to stay safe when traveling by car during a pandemic.
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Choosing the right cleaners for car sanitizing
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the best cleaning products to kill COVID-19 are water, germ-fighting soap, and 70% isopropyl alcohol disinfectant. These products are safe to use for vehicle interiors. When applying this technique, make sure to provide friction when scrubbing the surface to disinfect the surface completely.
Products with bleach, ammonia, and hydrogen are highly effective chemicals known for killing COVID-19, but cause significant damage to leather, upholstery, and fabrics by changing their quality and color. They also cause health concerns, such as burns and eye and skin irritation. Research also shows that using bleach as a cleaning product produces indoor air pollutants.
If you’re planning to use natural products, such as vodka, vinegar, and tea tree oil, there’s no evidence that these products are effective in killing COVID-19.
Avoid using aggressive products on touch screens and infotainment screens. The market has a wide range of cleaning products for touch screens to ensure your device remains safe from harmful chemicals. For alternatives, use screen wipes or a dampened soft cloth soak with water and soap. Make sure the cloth is not dripping with water once it comes in contact with the electronics. Another way is to use a wipeable cover on devices to make cleaning safer and easier.
Aside from cleaning products, you’ll need other supplies to ensure proper disinfection of the vehicle’s interior. These include gloves, vacuums, brushes, glass cleaners, leather conditioners, and microfiber cloths.
Disinfecting the car
If you’re going somewhere by car, it’s important to disinfect all surfaces of the interior before and after the journey. You’ll want to clean and disinfect all places you and the passengers come into contact with the most, so make sure to take cleaning seriously, including the common touchpoints of the vehicle.
Start by cleaning the obvious areas, such as the steering wheel, hand brake, gearstick, key fob, radio, door handles, infotainment controls, and other high touch surfaces. You can also include the steering column stalks (e.g., indicators, cruise control, and windscreen wipers), door frame, elbow rests, seat position controls, exterior door handles, and luggage compartment handle. These aspects also apply to drivers of public transportation, such as taxis and buses.
When disinfecting the interior, it’s best to use 70% isopropyl alcohol solution to prevent any harm on the car’s surfaces. In fact, alcohol is what most carmakers use when disinfecting vehicle interiors. For added peace of mind, you can also use alcohol when wiping down the upholstery and other interior surfaces of the vehicle. But make sure not to soak the parts with too much alcohol.
Alcohol will not ruin leather upholstery and surfaces made from imitation leather, but excessive cleaning causes discoloration. To avoid unexpected damages, avoid scrubbing the surfaces too hard. Afterward, use leather protection solutions to treat the leather surfaces.
Filing up the car
Since you’ll be going on a long trip, there’s a high chance you’ll be stopping over at a gasoline station. When making stopovers, put hygiene and sanitation in mind. As much as possible, minimize contact, or you may opt for a self-service station to avoid human contact. After filling up the car, wash your hands with a disinfectant solution, which you need a constant supply of.
When making payments, go for contactless payment methods. This is a more hygienic way of paying for services and products while minimizing Human interaction.
Some of the safety measures seem excessive and drastic, but taking extra caution and care can make a big difference in the overall safety of the driver and its passengers. The more we observe these measures, the more we prevent the risk of infection, and the sooner we can return to normal. As you take note of our suggestions above, always wear masks and practice social distancing when out in public.