How to sanitise your car

Keeping your car sanitised helps prevent the spread of viruses. We explain where and how you should clean your car.

How to sanitise your car

Keeping your car clean and sanistised is particularly important while the coronavirus remains an ever-present threat.

Doing so will reduce the risk of infection, helping keep you and your family safe. It could also slow the spread of Covid-19.

We’ve put together a list of the key touch points to sanitise, both inside and outside your car.

You should repeat this process regularly – ideally every day – especially if you carry passengers from outside your family ‘bubble’. 

Which parts of the car should I clean?

Cleaning your carThese are the areas of your car worthy of particular attention:

  • Around the driver – includes the steering wheel, centre console, levers, buttons, switches and internal door handle
  • Around the front passenger – the glove compartment (inside and out), dashboard buttons and the internal door handle
  • Rear-seat area – cup holders, armrests, switches, cabin lights and internal door handles
  • Seat belt clips – an often overlooked area. Parents could unwitting spread germs by fastening belts for children
  • External door handles – the first point of contact with any car. The boot latch is important after a food shop, as many don’t consider the risk of passing germs from a shopping trolley to the car. Handles are also at risk after filling up with fuel. Wear gloves at the pumps or, better still, carry latex gloves in the car
  • Engine area – if you have performed any car maintenance, clean the bonnet release, engine bay, oil cap, windscreen fluid cap and oil dipstick
  • Boot – internal release, parcel shelf and spare wheel compartment
  • Touchscreens – these screens are magnets for grubby fingerprints and germs
  • Car keys – these can accumulate dirt and bacteria

Which car cleaning products should I use?

Sanitising the steering wheel

Rubber gloves are an essential part of the car cleaning process. Dispose of them immediately afterwards – and avoid touching your face while cleaning.

Many home cleaning products are suitable for the job. However, don’t use bleach as this can damage plastics, vinyl and upholstery.

Damian Jeffries of car service app Fixter says: “Isopropyl alcohol is one of the best products to use and is widely available. However, Isopropyl alcohol is not suitable for leather seats, so it’s vital to use special leather cleaning products for these.”

Normal soap and water is recommended for cleaning touchscreens, as household glass cleaners can affect the anti-glare coatings. Don’t overdo the water, though, or you could make the car’s interior damp, encouraging misted windows and mould.


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Gavin Braithwaite-Smith
Writer with a penchant for #FrenchTat. Also doing a passable impression of Cousin Eddie in an Italian-German beige motorhome.


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