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How to disinfect your car without damaging it

Published Jun 11, 2020

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CAPE TOWN - If there's one thing the Covid-19 is continuously instilling us, it's to disinfect and practise physical distancing at all times. You sanitize your hands, disinfect your homes, but one thing that often slips our minds is disinfecting your car.

According to the U.S.-based Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), it is important to wear disposable gloves and to use a soft microfiber cloth dampened with soap and water can be used on hard surfaces in your vehicle.

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Most common disinfectants are effective, but some are not ideal for vehicles, including bleach, hydrogen peroxide, benzene, thinners or abrasive cleaners that can damage upholstery and interiors.

For car screens, rather than ammonia-based cleaners, use screen wipes or a soft cloth dampened with soap and water to clean; then dry with a clean, soft cloth.

Here’s a checklist for vehicle surfaces to disinfect:

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- Steering wheel

- Key and remote fob

- Exterior door handles (both sides)

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- Trunk lid or lift gate grab areas

- Interior door pulls, both sides and interior door panels

- Start button, if equipped

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- Rear-view mirror, back and edges

- HVAC vents

- Gear selector

- Turn signal lever

- Windshield wiper controls

- Center stack knobs

- Center console and arm-rest

- Seat belt and buckle. Avoid harsh cleaners on the belt itself as they can degrade the fibres and the belt's strength

- Parking brake handle, parking brake or release lever.

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