How to clean your car properly with household disinfectants

April 23, 2020

1200x628_how to clean your car with household disinfectants

If there was ever a time to pay extra attention to keeping everything as clean as possible, it’s now. So, how to thoroughly clean your car using household disinfectants during this coronavirus crisis? Let’s have a look. 

Here’s a list of things you would need to clean your car:

For your own protection:

  • A pair of disposable gloves,
  • An apron (preferably disposable, but if you don’t have one, make sure you wash it afterwards);
  • A mask to cover your mouth and nose;
  • A pair of goggles to protect your eyes;
  • A cleaning cloth (remember to wash it thoroughly after!).

Additionally, a vacuum and a bottle of household disinfectant to clean your car would come in handy.

A lot of cleaning products are in high demand right now, some are even completely sold out. However, not every disinfectant is made the same. Luckily, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued a registered list of 300 products that can kill the coronavirus at the beginning of March. We recommend you to choose a bleach-free product for cleaning your car, otherwise, you might damage the interior.

The effectiveness of your household disinfectant doesn’t just depend on the percentages visible on the bottle or the ingredient list on the back – it’s also affected by the time it is left to work on the surface. Jason Tetro, a microbiologist and the author of The Germ Code advises leaving the product on a hard surface for at least one minute but preferably three minutes.

Areas to think about when cleaning your car

Driver area

  • Power button;
  • Odometer screen/dashboard;
  • Indicators;
  • Steering wheel (front and back!);
  • Controls on the steering wheel;
  • Gearstick.

Front of the car

  • Passenger and central ventilation;
  • Heating controls;
  • Infotainment/radio controls and screen;
  • The inner area under the windscreen;
  • Glove-box;
  • Storage areas;
  • Cupholders.

Seats, doors and lights

  • All seats and headrests;
  • Seatbelts and buckles;
  • Controls for the seat and the headrest;
  • Door handles, locks, pockets and window controls;
  • Grab handles and interior lights.


  • Boot opener;
  • Any buttons and handles in the boot;
  • Shelves, nets and organisers.

Worker Cleaning Seat Inside The Car

6 steps for cleaning your car

Below you’ll find some tips and suggestions for cleaning your car.

  1. Before starting, we suggest you open the car doors and let the air flow through. Meanwhile, you could put your protective gear on (gloves, mask, apron, goggles) and remove all the rubbish and items you don’t need any more from your car.
  2. For a thorough clean, we recommend that you also remove the floor mats and vacuum them.
  3. While the car is still airing, we suggest you vacuum the seats and floors.
  4. As a next step, you could moisten the cleaning cloth with the household disinfectant and start wiping. You may use the list above as a guide.
  5. After everything is thoroughly cleaned and aired, we encourage you to put back the floor mats and close the doors.
  6. As a precaution, you may want to throw away the disposable protective gear and wash the things you plan to use again in the future!

If you have a steam cleaner and are wondering about its effectiveness for cleaning your car, then we suggest you partner it up with the household disinfectant or some soap. Coronaviruses are enveloped viruses, meaning they have a protective membrane of fat. That fat is sensitive to detergent, which is why the soap is a good partner to the steam.

Every little helps

Every little helps and besides sharing these tips for cleaning your car, we suggest you take care of your hygiene and well-being by washing your hands and staying at home as much as possible. You can find the latest COVID-19 pandemic updates from the World Health Organization’s website.

Stay safe!

Please note that the above is guidance only and does not represent medical or scientific advice. We cannot accept any liability for illness or injury or damage to your car as a result of following the above guidance. We also cannot accept any liability should you follow the above guidance and then become ill from coronavirus/other illness. You are not obliged to complete the steps set out above, it is a guide only.

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