Coronavirus & Car Hygiene

In just a matter of months, our lives have changed dramatically. With COVID-19 (or coronavirus) spreading across the globe to become a pandemic, the emphasis has rightly been on hygiene and social distancing, but what does this mean for your car and travel habits?

We use them on a daily basis, transporting our family, friends and even our shopping, but with a contagious virus to combat, it’s more important than ever to maintain good hygiene routines. Not only could you help save lives, but you’ll also be helping to relieve pressure on the NHS at a crucial time. In this month’s article, we’ll provide our advice based on some key questions.

Improving car hygiene through wiping steering wheel

Can I drive my car during the lockdown period?

The government has outlined the rules regarding travel during this period of lockdown. It boils down to essential travel only, so there are only a select few reasons you should be using your car:

  1. Basic food shopping – maximum of once a week or less frequent where possible
  2. Trips to collect essential medicine or pharmaceuticals 
  3. Where you are the provider of care for a vulnerable person
  4. For travelling to work (key workers e.g NHS or retail staff)

Some people have been using their cars to drive to places for exercise or to walk their dog, but this is not considered essential travel as these things can be done on foot without the need to travel long distances.

This information is constantly changing – keep yourself updated via the government announcements.

Why do I need to clean my car more thoroughly?

While many people will regularly clean their car, it has been shown in a 2016 poll conducted by BP that UK drivers are not always the most hygienic – especially when it comes to the frequency of cleaning.

Now, more than ever, it is important to give your car a thorough clean. This doesn’t mean driving out to a car wash, however. You can still give your car the thorough clean it needs from home on the street outside or on your drive as long as you maintain a good distance between yourself and anyone not from your household. It might be tempting to tackle the work as a group or family activity, but it’s advisable to have only one person do this to reduce the number of people outdoors.

When should I clean my car to protect my family from coronavirus?

If you haven’t cleaned your car in a while, now might be a good time to give it a deep clean. Because coronavirus is easily spread, we’ve all been washing our hands more regularly, but it’d be a good idea to give your car a quick clean with some wipes or disinfectant spray whenever you get back home – this will mean you kill any germs and can hop back in again each time you need to without worrying.

This would be good practice to keep up for the long-term also, as, despite the virus being around for a while yet, you can also keep your car in a hygienic condition all-year-round this way to avoid picking up other bugs and illnesses.

What do I need to clean my vehicle?

A full, deep clean of your car should usually involve your vacuum, cloths, sponges, soapy water, disinfectant spray, glass spray and a shammy leather to dry and buff. Once you’ve done this, you can then move into a routine of cleaning your car little and often. For this you’ll want to have:

  1. Protective gloves
  2. Antibacterial wipes
  3. Disinfectant spray
  4. A drying cloth 
  5. Antibacterial gel (for your hands afterwards)

How should I clean my car?

One of the first things you should probably do is clear your car of any rubbish and take out anything which isn’t essential to travel with. This makes it easy to perform your deep clean first but also makes ongoing cleaning a lot easier as you won’t constantly be trying to clean around things or empty them out to get started.

If there are items which are essential to have in the car – such as a steering wheel lock – give them a thorough clean so they can be put back in and wiped down each time they’re touched. Next, think about the high-contact elements of your car and your driving routine, the following are some of the things you touch most, so consider wiping them down with an antibacterial wipe after each drive so they’re clean for the next time you get in:

  1. Keys
  2. Steering wheel
  3. Door handles (inside and out)
  4. Buttons and radio
  5. Car boot
  6. Seat belts

These are just some of the steps we advise you to take, but it’s important that you follow the most up-to-date information from the government website as well as from the NHS to help the country beat the coronavirus.