October 26th, 2020 by
Good hygiene and cleaning regimes are one of the key tools we have at our disposal for managing the spread of covid-19. We know to wash our hands regularly and to clean our homes and workplaces but how often are we sanitising our cars?
This is particularly important for everyone but particularly those who carry different passengers, such as taxi drivers.
Covid-19 is spread through droplets, which is essentially fluid from our mouths and noses. This is transferred to our hands and then our hands can transfer it to other surfaces where it can be picked up by other people. This is why handwashing is so important, but it can’t prevent all transmission.
Understanding how viruses survive on surfaces
Viruses require a host to survive – that means a living person. However, they don’t die straight away and can remain alive and infectious for a surprising amount of time. The smoother and less porous the surface, the longer it can survive, with studies suggesting that coronaviruses can survive for up to 24 hours on cardboard and fabric and 2-3 days on plastic, metal, and glass.
As cars have both hard and soft surfaces, this is important information that allows us to prioritise sanitation regimes.
Identifying high-touch areas
Cars are only small spaces so most surfaces will be touched at some point. However, certain high-touch areas will require special attention. Many of them are hard surfaces as well so carry the greatest risk of viruses surviving.
Pay particular attention to these high-touch areas:
- Door handles
- Steering wheel
- Hand brake
- Ignition button or keyhole
- Seat belt buckles
- Satnav/entertainment console screen
- Radio control
- Window buttons
- Aircon controls
- Rearview mirror
These areas ideally need cleaning every time, especially if you are carrying passengers. Keep some sanitising spray with a minimum 60% alcohol content or sanitising wipes in the car so you can wipe over each day, or even after each trip. Use a microfibre cloth but make sure you remove it and wash after each use. It’s helpful to keep a stash of these in the car as well and replace them after they’ve been washed.
Don’t forget about the inside of the windscreen or windows. People may not touch these with their hands so much but droplets from breath, speech, or sneezes could easily reach them. To prevent further transfer while cleaning you can wear disposable gloves, which you can also keep in the vehicle.
The positive aspect to these high-touch areas being hard surfaces is that they’re easy to wipe over and the spray or wipes that you use will remain on those surfaces for a while, helping to kill any virus or bacteria that comes into contact with it afterwards for a short period.
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Adopt safe practices
You can help to minimise the transfer of viruses by adopting safe practices when using the car and asking any passengers to do the same. If travelling with people from outside your household, all should wear a face mask and encourage the use of hand sanitising gel.
Be careful not to leave your own face masks in the car after use. While keeping them in the car so you always have them when you have to go into shops or other public spaces can seem like a sensible idea, remember that once it is worn it is contaminated and this, in turn, can contaminate anything it touches in the car. It should therefore be removed and washed.
It’s not practical to clean the upholstery of your car after every use, though remember it can be sanitised with a spray. To deep clean and sanitise even the hardest to reach nooks and crevices, you can use a product such as X-Mist Car Sanitiser which you release into the car when empty and leave for an hour to work. This is a medical-grade surface cleaner and will kill 99.9999% of bacteria. This will sanitise for up to 7 days after application.
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