At Mercedes-Benz of Omaha, we fully understand the concerns our customers have about exposure to COVID-19, or coronavirus. Many community members in Omaha, NE, are wearing gloves, frequently applying hand sanitizer and cleaning items they purchase as they run errands. What's easy to overlook, though, is that once you purchase these items and load them into your vehicle, they are then touching the interior of your car. 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.
How Long Does Coronavirus Survive on Surfaces?
A tricky part of disinfecting your car is that it may contain a multitude of surfaces. From plush leather and refined wood trim to the material on the infotainment system, several different tools may be required to wash your car. 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."
What's the Best Way to Sanitize My Car's Interior?
Begin the sanitization process by washing your hands first, and if you have them, putting on disposable gloves. 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. And be sure to keep disinfectant wipes and a small bottle of hand sanitizer in your vehicle if you have enough to spare.
How to Clean Leather Seats in My Car
Before you apply any type of leather cleaner, spot test it on a hidden area to ensure it won't ruin your specific seats. Use a microfiber cloth to avoid scratching the leather during cleaning, and once finished, apply a leather conditioner to complete the process. Don’t have any leather cleaner on hand? You can create your own solution by simply mixing two parts vinegar with one part water.
How to Disinfect Surfaces in My Car
The most important areas of your Mercedes-Benz 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. Start by dampening the surface with warm water and dish soap, then scrub for 20-to-30 seconds. It's smart to wipe down areas like the steering wheel and dash frequently, as you touch these locations the most. Additionally, you'll want to concentrate on other surfaces, including:
- Door Handles
- Door Buttons
- Key Fob
- Steering Wheel
- Inside Door Buttons
- Seat Belts
- Gear Shifters
- Buttons on the Dash
- Buttons for Lights
- Buttons for Windshield Wipers
- Glove Compartment
Do I Need to Disinfect My Car's Exterior?
Because of the sun and other environmental factors, germs are less likely to thrive on the outside of your vehicle. We still advise to disinfect areas you touch regularly, though, like the door handles, handle buttons or gas cap.
Are There Disinfectants I Should Avoid Using in My Car?
If you want to avoid damaging your Mercedes-Benz 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.