Cleaning your car during the coronavirus pandemic

Do you know how to clean your car interior to reduce the risk of spreading coronavirus?

As COVID-19 continues to infect people across the world, it’s vital we all play our part in reducing its spread. For drivers this means more than just limiting travel to essential journeys, we should also be thoroughly cleaning the inside of our cars.

Before cleaning 
Ideally, wait three days after using your vehicle before cleaning for any traces of the coronavirus. Although official guidance tells us that we don’t know at what point there is no risk, studies of other viruses in the same family suggest that, in most circumstances, the risk is likely to be reduced significantly after 72 hours. 

If you can keep your car locked and secured for 72 hours, this will likely reduce the amount of particles living on surfaces.

Personal protective equipment (PPE) 
The government recommends using personal protective equipment or PPE when cleaning in non-healthcare settings. If someone with confirmed or suspected coronavirus has been in your car, you’ll need to protect yourself before you start. As a minimum you should wear:

  • gloves (preferably disposable) 
  • apron (preferably disposable) 

What you’ll need to disinfect your car: with many shops closed to slow the spread of COVID-19, you might think you’d struggle to find the products you need. Thankfully, a lot can be done with very little. All you should need for a decent clean is:

  • Bleach-free anti-bacterial wipes
  • Two bin liners

Cleaning your car during the outbreak: Once you’ve got the appropriate protective clothing on it’s time to tackle the cleaning. Before you start with the interior, just make sure you give all the door handles, including the boot, a good wipe down first.

Driver’s seat

  • Steering wheel, including horn and infotainment controls 
  • Ignition and power button 
  • Control stalks 
  • Keys

Of all the parts in your car, your steering wheel is probably the most exposed to human touch. Use antibacterial wipes around the whole of your wheel, including those out-of-sight areas where fingers tend to grip. 

Don’t forget to wipe the horn and any infotainment controls found on the steering wheel. You’ll also need to clean the full length of all control stalks for indicators, headlights and windscreen wipers. 

Although they’re technically not part of your car, you’ll also need to clean your keys. Make sure you clean the handle, metal and the ignition itself, as these are the parts most often touched. If your car uses a button to start, give this a wipe too.


  • Air vents – passenger and central 
  • Radio
  • Gear stick
  • Heating controls

We come into contact with our dashboard when using radios and infotainment systems. Heating controls are also a major touchpoint and you should pay particular attention to the knobs and buttons found here. 

Don’t forget the air vents. Grips found on the vents are used to manually change the direction of air flow and are regularly touched by both drivers and passengers, so these will need to be wiped too. 

Gear sticks are among the most touched areas of your car – make sure you scrub yours thoroughly, and the remainder of your dashboard towards your windscreen.

23 April 2020

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