Men Washing His Car

Car Sanitization Information
For Germain Volkswagen Customer Support

At Germain Volkswagen of Columbus, we fully understand the concerns our customers have about exposure to COVID-19, or coronavirus. While many people are using hand sanitizer and wearing masks when out shopping, it's important not to forget the items you buy are then touching the interior of your vehicle. 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?

Since your vehicle contains a variety of materials, the biggest challenge may be cleaning the different surfaces. You'll likely need several tools to properly disinfect your car's interior. 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 and put on disposable gloves before getting started on the cleaning process. 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. We recommend keeping disinfecting wipes and hand sanitizer in your car, too, so that you can clean surfaces and your hands while traveling.

Worker washing of interior leather seats

How to Clean Leather Seats in My Car

Make sure to spot test the leather cleaner if it's your first time using it to ensure it works well on your specific seats. Use a microfiber cloth to avoid scratching the leather, then apply leather conditioner after cleaning. You can mix two parts vinegar with one part water if you don't have any leather cleaner available.

How to Disinfect Surfaces in My Car

The most important areas of your VW 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 works well if that's all you have. Just dampen the surface and scrub for 20-30 seconds. It's important to wipe your dash and steering wheel with a disinfecting product frequently, too, as well as other high-touch surfaces like:

  • 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?

Even though germs are less likely to live on the outside of your car thanks to the sun and other weather elements, it's still smart to clean high-touch surfaces. Make sure to disinfect spots like door handles and the gas cap.

Are There Disinfectants I Should Avoid Using in My Car?

If you want to avoid damaging your Volkswagen 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 Germain Volkswagen of Columbus, 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 VW dealership in Columbus, OH.

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