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The dos and don'ts of disinfecting your car

Published May 8, 2020


Johannesburg - While hand washing and face masks are the most common preventative measures in the battle against Covid-19, the disinfecting of surfaces is another important habit to develop, and that includes your car.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in the US recommends wearing disposable gloves for cleaning and then disinfecting surfaces. If a surface looks dirty, it should be wiped down with soap and water prior to disinfection.

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Nissan recommends using a soft or microfiber cloth dampened with soap and water to wipe down hard surfaces.

Cleaning liquids to avoid

The carmaker also warns that while most common household disinfectants are effective, some are not ideal for use on a vehicle, including bleach, hydrogen peroxide, benzene, thinners or other harsh and abrasive cleaners. These chemical products could damage your vehicle's upholstery and/or interior surfaces.

Instead, alcohol-based wipes or sprays containing at least 70% alcohol are effective against the coronavirus according to the CDC, and can be safely used in your vehicle.

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How to clean the touchscreen

Your infotainment touchscreen is tricky because it's a high-touch area that should not come in contact with aggressive cleaners. Rather use screen wipes or a soft cloth dampened with soap and water to clean the screen surface, then wipe it dry with a clean, soft cloth. 

Ammonia-based cleaners should not be used on infotainment screens, as they can damage the anti-glare and anti-fingerprint coatings. 

If your car has a competent voice control system (and that, in our experience, is rather rare), using it might help you to avoid touching the screen altogether.

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According to Nissan, the following checklist covers the areas that are important to disinfect:

Covid-19: Car parts you should clean

- Steering wheel

- Key and remote fob

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- Start button (if applicable)

- Exterior door handles, both sides

- Boot lid grab areas

- Interior door pulls, both sides and interior door panels

- Rear view mirror, back and edges

- Aircon vents

- Gear lever

- Indicator lever

- Windscreen wiper controls

- Centre console knobs and arm rest

- Parking brake handle / release lever

- Seat belt and buckle (avoid harsh cleaners on the belt itself, as they can degrade the fibres and the belt's strength)

The six hotspots in your car

If you have 15 minutes to spare, the video below - posted on YouTube by US car detailing specialist 

 - takes us through the six hotspots in your car that you need to focus on when cleaning.

IOL Motoring

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