Men Washing His Car

Car Sanitization Information
For Germain Subaru Customer Support

At Germain Subaru of Columbus, we fully understand the concerns our customers have about exposure to COVID-19, or coronavirus. In order to reduce the risk, many people in the Columbus community have been wearing gloves, frequently using hand sanitizer and cleansing items they purchase when they run errands. What’s easy to overlook, though, is that when you run errands and pick up items like groceries, these objects are now touching your vehicle's interior before you sanitize them. According to the World Health Organization, studies suggest that the coronavirus may live on surfaces for a few hours or up to several days. That means that you should be sanitizing the interior of your car to kill any germs it may have collected on your last visit to the grocery store or pharmacy. 

Car cleaner wiping car door with rag

How Long Does Coronavirus Survive on Surfaces?

Your Subaru vehicle’s interior has a variety of surfaces, so you may need a few different tools if you're cleaning leather, plastic and other materials. According to the National Institutes of Health, the virus that causes COVID-19 is stable for up to 24 hours on cardboard and up to two to three days on plastic or stainless steel. Another study suggests that similar viruses can live on "inanimate surfaces like metal, glass or plastic for up to nine days."

Cleaning the interior of the car with a microfiber cloth

What's the Best Way to Sanitize My Car's Interior?

Before beginning, it's always a good idea to wash your hands and put on disposable gloves if you have any available. Most common EPA-registered household disinfectants will work well for sanitizing your vehicle. Just be sure to read the product's label to make sure it's safe for the surface you're planning to use it on. Additionally, by keeping a travel-sized bottle of hand sanitizer or disinfectant wipes in your vehicle, you can sanitize surfaces more frequently or as needed.

How to Disinfect Surfaces in My Car

The most important areas of your Subaru to keep clean are the dashboard and the steering wheel. Bacteria tends to collect in these spots, as air is cycled throughout the vehicle. To clean your dash, simply use soap and water. Dish soap works as a good option for most areas, including your steering wheel, dash and other frequently-touched places. Just dampen whatever you're cleaning, then scrub for 20-30 seconds. Make sure to tackle other high-touch surfaces, including:

  • Door Handles
  • Door Buttons
  • Key Fob
  • Steering Wheel
  • Inside Door Buttons
  • Seat Belts
  • Gear Shifters
  • Touchscreens
  • Buttons on the Dash
  • Buttons for Lights
  • Buttons for Windshield Wipers
  • Glove Compartment

Do I Need to Disinfect My Car's Exterior?

Fortunately because of the sun and other environmental factors, it’s unlikely that germs will survive on the outside of your vehicle. It's still smart to disinfect areas you touch frequently, though, such as the door handles, gas cap and other surfaces.

close up of a bleach container

Are There Disinfectants I Should Avoid Using in My Car?

If you want to avoid damaging your Subaru vehicle's interior surfaces, don't use bleach or hydrogen peroxide to disinfect. These can damage the vinyl and plastics in your cabin. You should also avoid any ammonia-based cleaning products used to clean glass, as they can break down the vinyl on the dashboard. Heat and light may then cause your dashboard to become sticky.

Worker washing of interior leather seats

How to Clean Leather Seats in My Car

Worried about potentially damaging leather surfaces in your vehicle’s interior? To start, make sure you spot test whatever cleaner you select to ensure it reacts well with your specific seats. Avoid scratching the leather by using a microfiber cloth, and apply a leather conditioner after cleaning if you're able to do so. If you don't have any leather cleaner on hand, you can make your own by mixing two parts vinegar with one part water.

Here at Germain Subaru of Columbus, we want to do our part to help educate our customers and keep them safe and healthy during this difficult time. If you have any questions about car care or need assistance, please don't hesitate to reach out to our Subaru dealership in Columbus, OH, today.

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