COVID19 VIRUS and your Vehicle (how to protect your family)
Adapting to Change with Covid-19
We have all come to terms with the fact the SAR-Covid19 is not going away anytime soon. Our lifestyles have taken a dramatic change and we are very familiar with the hygienic benefits of preventing infection. We take extra precaution around our elderly; we consistently inform and remind our children about being more precautious and to wash their hands as often as possible. Even our pets are becoming acclimated to social distancing and the new hygiene methods being adopted.
What we do or don’t know about Corona Virus
After an extensive lockdown period and now released into “the wild” we must not become relaxed in our families and our protection. There are many opinions on the virus and its true effect on the people and very little factual information. With not much factual reports circulating we must consider worst case scenarios for peace of mind.
Staying Vigilant when schools and work open
Now that most countries have eased up the lockdown and allowed us to return to work, school and also exercising and this comes with additional preventative responsibilities. If you feel sick stay home, wear a mask in public at all times, wash hands regularly and get the spray down before entering any shop or building for that matter. With this well needed decision to open back up we must take responsibility for our loved ones and be vigilant in every way.
The Possible Monster in your garage
With this new found freedom, we find ourselves getting back to normality with school runs, carpooling, taking your normal taxi route or even taking an uber to work. This freedom comes with many additional precautions we are all aware of, but one seems to slip most peoples thoughts….the Family vehicle. Your vehicle is fitted with many features to keep us safe, airbags, seatbelts, ABS brakes, Park distance control and many others but nothing to protect you from the virus, especially now as we are not washing our vehicles as often for obvious reasons. With all this information we must be clear on what we consider cleaning, sanitizing and disinfecting
Cleaning – removes grime, dirt, debris, and dust with soap/detergents and water but does not necessarily kill them. It reduces the risk of spreading infection.
Sanitising – reduces germs, bacteria, fungi, and viruses which helps lower the spread of infection.
Disinfecting – uses chemicals and disinfecting agents to kill germs, bacteria, and viruses.
For your vehicle we highly recommend disinfecting the “hot spots” and for material that is sensitive cleaning or sanitizing is a must.
Studies carried out before we even knew about Covid_19 have proven that steering wheels carry up to 9 times more germs than a public toilet seat. This being just one hot spot in your vehicle, other sensitive areas are as follows.
Turn indicator levers
All knobs and buttons
Key and remote control fob
Seat belts and buckles
Glove compartment handle
Rear view mirror
1. Door handles
2. Boot handle
3. Fuel cap
With these being just a few of the “hotspots” you can see the possible breach in your family’s safety.. With so many different surfaces within a vehicle including plastic, metal, rubber, Velcro, nylon etc; we must use the right disinfectant to eliminate the virus. Some of the surfaces can carry the virus for up to 9 days which is quite a scary thought
Tools and Cleaning Products (recommended)
Microfibre cloth- ( designed to lift dirt instead of rubbing it into the surface.
Soap – antagonizes the surface of the virus and quickly degrades and destroys it.
Sanitiser spray-ideally one that is free of fragrance and at least 70% alcohol
Isopropyl alcohol or ethyl alcohol- (70%) can be used to disinfect plastic, glass, and metal surfaces including touchscreens and Bluetooth devices such as your phone.
Paint brush- for crevices and hard to get to spots
What Is Not Recommended
Bleach – if you do decide to use it, dilute to a very weak solution in a spray bottle and wipe with a damp cloth. Do not mix with any other cleaning products.
Ammonia – and any ammonia-based products can damage vinyl and plastic and most other surfaces.
Hydrogen peroxide – can damage vinyl and plastic and leave marks.
Unfortunately, your basic interior car cleaners just won’t cut it and you must be extra cautious with chemicals like bleach, ammonia and hydrogen peroxide as they can and will destroy your interior. The safest and most effective disinfectant to use is Isopropyl alcohol at least 70% of the dilution. Alcohol is very gentle on fabrics, plastic and metal and is proven to kill the virus. We recommend keeping a pack of alcohol wipes to continuously keep your car safe. This will help keep the surfaces virus free.
How to properly clean /disinfect your vehicle
1. Start by cleaning the exterior. Spray the door handles , petrol flap and boot handle.
2. Start by using the brush to dislodge dust etc from air vents and crevices.
3. Vacuum your vehicle from top to bottom.
4. Use your microfiber cloth and cleaning solution to wipe down all surfaces especially power controls, mirror controls and other switches.
5. Finally wash your hands properly.
How long does the virus stay on surfaces
We have heard mixed opinions and different research stating the length of time the virus stays on surfaces.Harder surfaces tend to be the ones to watch for but don’t only focus on these. Go the extra mile and make sure all surfaces are correctly disinfected.
Now that we are clear on what and how to protect the surfaces of your car, the next is airborne. We are all accustomed to wearing masks which helps indeed but even with a mask our social distancing is jeopardized in a vehicle. With the need to create luxury cars that are sound proof is also a possible risk. The cabin of a car is much smaller than a standard bedroom and we literally right next to each other. We cannot avoid these issues however by keeping the window cracked about 3 inches provides an sufficient amount of air to circulate through the cabin and is highly recommended to assist in keeping your loved ones safe.
I am not a hypochondriac nor do I wish to live with the fear of basic day to day needs such as driving, however with the information we are provided with often makes no sense I feel better safe than sorry by taking these precautions.