When most people hop in their vehicle, they’re thinking about where they’re going, what errands they need to run, and whether or not they need to stop for fuel on the way. But as COVID-19, a coronavirus, swept across the globe in 2020, a new thought popped into people’s minds, where are all the germs hiding?

In a matter of a few months, our primary concerns have changed from where we’re going to dine for dinner, to how we’re going to stop harmful pathogens from affecting our families. That is why, when the time comes to revisit your hygiene practices, it’s a good idea to look at infection control for your vehicle.

Why It’s Important to Deep Clean Your Car

COVID-19 is caused by the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus. It’s a respiratory disease that is spread quickly through the viral droplets of an infected person. While this disease is easy to catch, it’s also preventable through hygiene practices.

However, as people spend a lot of time in their cars, there are plenty of opportunities for pathogens to linger. Every sneeze, cough, and conversation in your vehicle can be a potential chance for a COVID-19 infection.

As a result, it’s crucial –now more than ever before – to look at infection control practices for your car, while establishing a new hygiene routine at the same time. You never know, your vigilance could be responsible for breaking the chain of infection in your area.

How to Clean Your Car With an ‘Infection Control’ Focus

Disinfection is an integral part of car cleaning with infection control in mind. All commonly touched surfaces should be sanitised to kill germs and bacteria that could be potentially harmful. Your car keys, steering wheel, door handles, and control surfaces can all harbour bacteria. The more often you sanitise and disinfect these areas, the safer you and your passengers can be.

It’s also essential to choose products that are safe for your family, while also being useful in killing virus-causing pathogens. Ask your local cleaning expert what they recommend. And, remember, the products you use for cleaning your vehicle must be safe for a wide variety of materials like leather, fabric, paint, and plastic.

Spray-on products can help with the disinfecting process, but so too can misting bombs. These can access those standard surfaces but also get into the hard-to-access heating and air conditioning units of your vehicle, as well. These work similarly to chemical fogging products used by experts who can undertake infection control cleaning in your home or business.

Clean and Disinfect Often

Cleaning your car once is a great start, but ongoing cleaning is of considerable importance, too, as the world battles a deadly virus. Always wear gloves while cleaning your car, and undertake the practice often. It also helps to place emphasis on those high-touch areas, like door handles, door jams, seat belts, car keys, and the outside of doors.

What’s more, always use an alcohol-based disinfectant with at least 60 percent alcohol. Studies show that sanitising products with an alcohol percentage of 60-95 percent are more effective than non-alcohol or lower-alcohol based products. These tend to merely reduce the growth of germs, rather than kill them outright, according to the CDC.

What About Infection Control While I’m Driving?

Of course, you can’t be driving and cleaning at the same time. But that’s not to say you can’t focus on infection control for your car while you’re driving in other ways.

You might not be able to help needing to cough or sneeze while driving, but you can minimise the risk of pathogen spread with how you do it. Always cover your nose and mouth, or sneeze and cough into your elbow. Use tissues, rather than handkerchiefs, and dispose of these right away. If you feel unwell, you should also be at home, rather than on the road.

Most drivers travel around with first-aid kits in their glove compartments, but this new pandemic has seen the need for a new type of kit to drive with, too. A sanitisation kit with hand sanitiser, disinfectant spray and wipes, tissues, and surgical gloves, may come in more useful than you think.

Stay Home, Save Lives

In March 2020, New Zealand went into alert level four lockdown for a minimum period of four weeks. The goal was to flatten the curve and ensure that our health services were not overrun. With that level four lockdown came the need for people to stay at home. You stay at home, and you save lives, it’s that simple.

Therefore, while infection control is vital for your car, so is using your car as little as possible. New Zealanders should be relying on their vehicle to get to essential services like the supermarket and medical appointments. The rest of the time, it should be tucked away in your garage.