How Sanitizers, Sunscreens can damage your car’s interiors

Hand sanitizer, which includes gels, foam, wipes, contains ethanol. Sun protection lotions with a higher protection factor, contains large quantities of titanium oxide. The same has a tendency to react with plastics as well as the natural oils that are present in leather.

By: | Updated: June 16, 2019 2:43 PM

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Personal health care products such as sanitizer, sunscreen and insect repellents can cause harm to your car's interiors. Chemicals used in these products have a tendency to react with a car's interior surfaces and hence cause them to wear-out before time. With the onset of summers in India, the use of sun protection lotions will increase. This, in addition to the use of hand sanitizer, though good for our health, is bad for our car.

Mark Montgomery, a senior materials engineer at the Materials Technology Centre, Dunton Technical Centre, UK, for Ford of Europe said from hand sanitisers to sun lotions to insect repellent, consumer trends are constantly changing, and new products are coming on to the market all the time. He further added that even the most innocuous-seeming product can cause problems when they come into contact with surfaces hundreds and even thousands of times a year.

Hand sanitizer, which includes gels, foam, wipes, contains ethanol. Sun protection lotions with a higher protection factor, contains large quantities of titanium oxide. The same has a tendency to react with plastics as well as the natural oils that are present in leather, and more so if these materials are hot, which they are, especially during the summer months if a car is parked in the open. When we talk about the insect repellent, Diethyltoluamide, or DEET is the active ingredient which can react with different materials in a car's upholstery.

So, what is the solution to this? Based on the findings of Ford's teams in Dunton and Cologne, Germany, protective coatings can be used by reformulating their chemical constitution in order to safeguard the interiors of a car. These protective coatings can keep a car's interiors new, despite being exposed to personal care products such as sun protection lotions, hand sanitizers as well as insect repellent creams.

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