Men Washing His Car

How to Clean Your Car for Coronavirus

At Herb Chambers Toyota of Boston, we fully understand the concerns our clients have about exposure to COVID-19, or coronavirus. People across Boston and beyond are wearing gloves, frequently using hand sanitizer and sanitizing items they purchase on errands to reduce the risk of exposure to germs. What’s easy to overlook, though, is that those items are coming in contact with the interior of their vehicle when they load them in. 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?

You'll find that your Toyota is made up of a wide variety of different materials, which makes it a bit challenging to disinfect each surface correctly. That's why you'll need several tools to do so. 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?

Wash your hands before sanitizing your vehicle. Have disposable gloves? Now would be a smart time to use 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. Keep disinfectant wipes and a bottle of hand sanitizer in your Toyota, as this will save time when you need to clean something quickly.

Worker washing of interior leather seats

How to Clean Leather Seats in My Car

Your Toyota may be equipped with leather seats, and it's important to use specific cleaner designed for that material when wiping them down. Always spot test the leather cleaning solution you have on a hidden area in your vehicle, so you can be sure it works properly. It's also recommended to use a microfiber cloth, as that helps to prevent scratching or scuffing of the leather. Don't have leather cleaner? Simply mix two parts vinegar with one part water to make your own. And if you have leather conditioner, it's recommended to apply that after cleaning.

How to Disinfect Surfaces in My Car

The most important areas of your Toyota 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 can be used for this application. First, dampen the surface of whatever you'd like to clean. Second and lastly, scrub for 20-30 seconds. Make sure to focus on high-touch areas like your steering wheel and dash. Other high-touch 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?

Thanks to the sun, wind, rain and other weather elements, germs are less likely to live on the exterior of your Toyota. That being said, it's still smart to disinfect the surfaces you touch most frequently, including door handles, handle buttons and the gas cap.

Are There Disinfectants I Should Avoid Using in My Car?

If you want to avoid damaging your Toyota model'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 Herb Chambers Toyota of Boston, we want to do our part to help educate our clients 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 Toyota dealership in Boston, MA.