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For most of us Americans, our cars are our sanctuaries. Our vehicles are an extension of our homes, providing us with a space that allows ourselves and our families to enjoy life beyond our place of residence..
Unfortunately, for all the time most of us spend in them, we don’t always clean or sanitize our cars as often as we should. Given that some illnesses can spread through contact with contaminated surfaces inside vehicles, it’s a good idea to keep your car as sanitized as you can. Here are some ways you can keep your vehicle’s interior cleaner and free from impurities:
1.) Avoid Bringing Outside Contaminants into Your Car
Most of the potentially harmful microbes and contaminants in your car come from outside. To reduce the number of impurities that get inside your vehicle, you can try to be mindful of the things you touch before you drive. To be even safer, you can make it a habit to wash your hands with soap and water for before you drive, or at least to use an alcohol-based sanitiser before putting your hands on the wheels.
In the time of a global pandemic, it’ll also help to wear a face mask. Both ordinary cloth face coverings and surgical masks can be very useful in preventing your own respiratory droplets from contaminating the inside of your vehicle. It’s a good practice, especially if you usually give your spouse, kids, or friends a ride.
2.) Clean Mats Frequently
A lot of dirt gets stuck to the bottom of your shoes, and it’s unavoidable that some of them will make it to your car. Fortunately, your car’s floor mats help protect the inside of your car from the gunk that collects in your shoes, as well as from spills, food crumbs, and other debris.
It’s no surprise, then, that your mats are the dirtiest things inside your car, outside of the steering wheel and other frequently-touched surfaces. However, it’s a good thing that mats are also easy to clean. In most cases, weekly vacuuming and monthly washing will be sufficient, unless you have children or you find yourself walking in the mud often, in which case you’ll want to do the cleaning somewhat more frequently.
3.) Make Sanitizing a Habit
Keeping your car sanitary shouldn’t be a monthly (or worse, yearly) project that takes up the better part of a day. The key is to take on the problem of sanitizing consistently and in small chunks. By spending one minute a day wiping down surfaces on weekdays, you can dramatically cut down on the drudgery involved in deep cleaning your ride when you have the time to do so. The key is to be consistent so that sanitizing becomes second nature to you.
4.) Change Out Your Air Conditioning Filters as Often as Recommended
Over time, AC filters can get clogged up with pollution as well as nasty mold that can potentially sicken you and anyone else who uses your car. Unfortunately, we may neglect to replace filters frequently because we don’t necessarily notice anything wrong. This is because the problems a clogged filter creates typically only unfold very gradually. So make sure to replace filters as often as the manufacturer requires, which is generally every 15,000 to 25,000 miles your car runs.
5.) Reconsider Fabric Covers
Fabric covers are notoriously difficult to clean, and removing stains from them can be a challenge. Now just imagine how easily mold spores and other harmful microbes can get embedded in the fibers. While it’s true that you can easily chuck fabric seat covers in the washing machine, how many of us do that as often as we should?
While not without their disadvantages, covers made from alternative materials such as leather and faux leather are much easier to clean and sanitize. If keeping your car sanitary is a concern but you don’t have the time to be constantly switching seat covers, covers made from these materials offer an advantage over those made of fabric.
6.) Regularly Disinfect Frequently Touched Items and Surfaces
Take note of the parts of your car that get touched the most often. These areas should be the ones you sanitize regularly:
- Car keys and fobs
- All interior and exterior door handles
- Steering wheel and shifter
- Entertainment center buttons, switches, and touchscreens
- Seatbelt, including buckles
- Parking brake
- Turn signal, headlight, and wiper switches
While that sounds like a lot, you’d be surprised at how quickly you can do this, sometimes with just one disinfectant wipe. You probably won’t have to do this often if you’re the only one that uses your car, but you may want to do this weekly or even daily depending on how often you share the car with other people.
Because of how much time we spend in our cars, it only makes sense to keep them as clean and sanitized as we would our homes. Luckily, doing this is not only easy, but it can also go a long way into making our driving experience a safer and more enjoyable one.