Gephardt: How To Disinfect Your Car To Keep COVID-19 From Spreading

May 4, 2020, 6:30 PM | Updated: Jun 19, 2022, 10:02 pm

OGDEN, Utah — One of the best defenses for preventing the spread of COVID-19 is social distancing, but that isn’t always possible inside our cars. So, how do you properly disinfect your car?

At the aptly-named car detailing service, Attention to Detail, their main target used to be dirt and other what-nots — such as the elusive Cheerio or Goldfish cracker — said owner Mac McCullough.

But now, it’s that harder-to-see gunk – the coronavirus.

McCullough uses gloves, masks, sprays and even an ozone machine, to make sure his customers do not get his employees sick, and vice versa.

“I don’t know if someone bringing their vehicle in is sick or has been sick,” said McCullough.

McCullough advised keeping disinfectant spray in your car and hitting all the touch points if you want to take matters into your own hands.

Spraying a car’s touchscreen can ruin its anti-glare coating, leaving you with a hazy screen. Touching points include the steering wheel, armrests, door handles, seat belts and buckles, A/C vents, cup holders, head rests, the gear shift and more. McCullough uses test strips he said he purchased through the health department to ensure his disinfectant spray is effective. Auto detailer Mac McCullough told KSL that drivers should keep a disinfectant spray in their cars to clean touch points regularly.

Those touch points include the steering wheel, armrests, door handles, seat belts and buckles, A/C vents, cup holders, head rests, the gear shift and more.

“All of the things that you’re going to touch, with the exception of your electronics,” explained McCullough. “I wouldn’t spray it on like a touchscreen, right?”

The safest bet for cleaning the touchscreen is using soap and a small amount of water, otherwise the screen’s anti-glare coating could be damaged.

When you do apply disinfectant, McCullough said be prepared to wait. Many disinfectants take about ten minutes to be really effective.

And beware – some do not work at all.

The Environmental Protection Agency recently warned consumers to “beware of imposter disinfectant products that are being marketed with potentially dangerous claims of protection against the coronavirus.”

At the same time, the EPA has also relaxed rules on marketing disinfectants, allowing manufacturers to claim it works “against the coronavirus” if they can prove it is “effective against harder-to-kill viruses.”

So, how do you know if a disinfectant is good?

Some can be tested with special test strips you can find online or at your health department that measure if the chemicals in the disinfectant are potent enough.

McCullough resells an EPA registered disinfectant out of his shop that he tests, saying he wants to be sure.

Two disinfectants you should never use in your car are bleach and hydrogen peroxide. They will kill coronavirus lurking in your car’s surfaces, but they can also ruin the interior.

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Gephardt: How To Disinfect Your Car To Keep COVID-19 From Spreading