Now More Than Ever, Is Your Car Clean?
In recent weeks, many people have taken their hygiene and disinfecting practices to a new level: washing and sanitizing hands, counters, shopping carts, and the surface of virtually every other object they touch. While this is a very necessary development amid the coronavirus outbreak, lots of people forget about one often-used and often-dirty item: the family car.
People’s cars may be largely sitting idle for now, but once daily life returns to something resembling normality, it will be important to bring a heightened awareness of germs to your vehicle to keep yourself and your loved ones healthy.
Your Car Is Probably (Really) Dirty
Did you know that 1/3 of drivers only clean the interior of their vehicle once per year? (And be honest: are you one of them?) This may not seem like a big deal—especially if you can’t see visible debris or dirt—but the interior of a car can be a germ haven of epic proportions. On average, 700 kinds of bacteria can be found inside cars, as can irritants like pollen and dust mites. Eating in the car sounds a lot less appealing now, doesn’t it? And while the average steering wheel is especially unsavory—surpassing the “ick” factor of even a public toilet seat—upholstery, floor mats, and hard dash and door surfaces can also harbor germs and allergens.
Since many of us are feeling a strong urge to clean and disinfect everything these days, the good news is that you can do the same for your car! Vacuuming floors and seats is a great start, but there are more in-depth cleaning protocols to try, whether at home or by visiting a dealership.
Removing visible dirt is only Phase 1 of a thorough interior cleaning: wash the insides of your vehicle’s windshield and windows, and dig that garment steamer out of the linen closet to use on your cloth interior. Wash your floor mats, leather upholstery, and hard interior surfaces—the dashboard, door and center consoles, etc.—with a cleaner that’s effective but still safe to use on these surfaces. Focus on high-touch areas like the steering wheel, turn signal and windshield wiper controls, overhead light switches, and gearshift. Once you clean the interior, help keep it clean by changing your cabin air filter! A fresh filter will catch more dust mites, allergens, and other contaminants, keeping them out of the vehicle’s cabin and your family’s airways.
Call in the Pros
If getting the inside of your car really clean is too daunting or time-consuming, take it to a dealer to have them do the literal dirty work for you! (And don’t feel silly: deep cleaning is on their radar now more than ever, both for their safety and yours.) Shops have access to tools and products that aren’t easily available to consumers, and their staff have the expertise needed to handle all types of surfaces, like leather upholstery, that can be a challenge for some owners.
While you’re there, ask if they have any kind of anti-microbial treatment available. These coatings are applied to the vehicle’s interior after it has been thoroughly cleaned and sanitized and can prevent bacteria, germs, and other irritants from sticking to or surviving on your vehicle’s interior surfaces. As a bonus, some of these treatments also make the inside of your vehicle easier for you to clean down the road—it’s a win-win!
Is your F&I office offering customers this protection?
Clean Care Antimicrobial from National Auto Care could be just the product you need to offer your customers. Offered as a standalone product or a limited warranty with interior protection, Clean Care is EPA-registered, VOC-free and kills 99.9 percent of germs, viruses and bacteria. Contact your sales rep today for more information.