Man Washing His Car

Car Sanitization Information
For Viti Volvo Customer Support

At Viti Volvo Cars Tiverton, we fully understand the concerns our customers have about exposure to COVID-19, or coronavirus. We know many people in the Tiverton area and beyond are using hand sanitizer, wearing masks and taking other precautions when going outside for essentials. But don’t forget that items you purchase are likely coming into contact with the interior surfaces in your vehicle. 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?

Since your car's interior has a variety of different surfaces, the biggest challenge may be cleaning each material with different methods or solutions. From metal handles and plastic on the dash to leather seats, each surface requires unique attention. 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?

Start by washing your hands and putting on disposable gloves if you have them 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. We recommend keeping disinfectant wipes and a small bottle of hand sanitizer in your car, too, so you can wipe surfaces down frequently.

Worker washing of interior leather seats

How to Clean Leather Seats in My Car

If you're using a new leather cleaner, you'll want to spot test it on a hidden area to ensure it works well with your specific seats. Don't have leather cleaner on hand? Mix two parts vinegar with one part water to make your DIY cleaning solution. Use a microfiber cloth to avoid scratching and apply a leather conditioner after cleaning the seats.

How to Disinfect Surfaces in My Car

The most important areas of your Volvo 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 water and soap -- dish soap will work well. Just dampen the surface and scrub for 20-30 seconds. Be sure to wipe high-touch surfaces like the dash and steering wheel with a disinfecting product frequently, too. Other high-touch surfaces can include:

  • 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?

While germs are less likely to live on the exterior of your car due to the sun and rain, it's still good to disinfect areas you touch frequently. Be sure to wipe down door handles, handle buttons and gas cap when cleaning your vehicle.

Are There Disinfectants I Should Avoid Using in My Car?

If you want to avoid damaging your Volvo car'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.

Here at Viti Volvo Cars Tiverton, 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 Volvo dealership in Tiverton, RI.

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