For most of us, it is part of our normal routine to clean and wipe down surfaces in our home on a regular basis, but how often do we clean and wipe down the surfaces in our vehicles? Studies show that 32% of people surveyed only clean their vehicles once a year. Think about the surfaces in your vehicle that are touched on a regular basis; steering wheel, inner and outer door handles, radio and climate control knobs, etc. Many of us enjoy the convenience of going to a drive-through car wash, but oftentimes that means the interiors of our vehicle get neglected.

Here are a few simple ways to keep your vehicle free from germs/viruses. Keep in mind when cleaning the interior of your vehicle, it’s important to use products that are designed specifically for vehicle interiors. Certain cleaning products that are normally used to clean the home or even solvent based automotive cleaners can actually damage some materials on a vehicle. This is particularly important with leather interiors.

  • Keep a bottle of hand sanitizer inside your vehicle. Use as soon as you get in the car before touching any surfaces. This is especially important after leaving gas stations. The Center for Disease Control recommends using a sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.
  • Wipe down all surfaces with disinfectant wipes
  • Clean your keys and key fobs on a daily basis, or immediately before or after driving your car.
  • Remove floor mats and vacuum once a week. Don’t forget about the trunk!
  • Clean car seat. Studies show that car seats can be the biggest carriers of germs in a family vehicle. Follow the manufacturer's recommendations on how to clean a car seat.
  • Roll down the windows, open the doors, and air it out! This is very important to do after someone has been sick, since the vents inside your vehicle work to recirculate the air. Germs get recirculated as well.

Surface items to clean on a regular basis:

  • Exterior and Interior Door Handles
  • Gear shifter
  • Climate control and radio knobs
  • Center console
  • Glove box handle
  • Sun visor
  • Arm rests
  • Turn signals
  • Seat belt buckle
  • A/C vents
  • Window and lock switches/manual window and lock controls
  • Mirrors

Although this might seem tedious and unnecessary, it is extremely important to maintain the cleanliness of your vehicle and prevent the spread of germs. The key to staying healthy is learning how to properly clean your environment, including your vehicle, and maintaining a regular cleaning schedule. These are small acts that can go a long way.