While entire India is in a Covid-19-induced lockdown, essential services staff such as healthcare workers, police, delivery services staff and so on have to step out, and that means the vehicles they travel in can trap germs, including viruses. Some people may tend to think that a car is an enclosed space so there is less chance of contamination; instead, as compared to a two-wheeler, a four-wheeler is a bigger fomite, i.e. more likely to carry infection. So, before you step in your car and after you return, you must sanitise it.
Clean high-touch surfaces
There are surfaces you touch more frequently, such as the steering wheel, knobs, switches, screen, buttons, and more. Make sure you clean these by using a car interior cleaner. If you don’t have one, you can make an ammonia-based solution (by diluting a glass and window cleaner with water in a 1:1 ratio).
Rough time taken: 10 minutes.
Take note of grey areas
The headliner, headrest and window glass are low-contact parts, but these too need to be cleaned once in a while. The most important parts to clean, which some people tend to overlook, are interior and exterior door handles, and the car key.
Time taken: 5 minutes.
Disinfect the HVAC unit
The HVAC (heating, ventilation, and air conditioning) unit circulates air inside the cabin, and it can carry germs. In the time of Covid-19 outbreak, it is necessary to clean the system, and it can be done easily at home. First, clean the AC vents (by spraying a specialised cleaner such as by 3M, or any ammonia-based solution). Second, remove and clean the cabin filter (it is usually located behind the glove compartment in a car).
Time taken: 15 minutes.
Vacuum-clean the cabin
Once in a while, it’s important to use a portable vacuum cleaner to thoroughly clean the cabin. In case you don’t have one, make sure you scrub and wash the carpet and floor mats, and use a disinfectant liquid on the pedals, gear-lever, handbrake lever, and rub a cloth coated in disinfectant liquid on the seats as well. In case you don’t have disinfectant liquid, soapy water can serve the purpose.
Time taken: 30 minutes.
While we disinfect our homes and workplaces, a car may often get overlooked, but is equally important. Lastly, always keep a hand sanitiser, a mask, and wet wipes in your car.
(With inputs from Pitstop, the doorstep car service and repairs provider)