COVID-19 and Car Cleaning: Auto Sanitization Tips for Detroit Drivers

The new year started with lots of pomp and enthusiasm as people all over the U.S. welcomed 2020 with open arms. What many hoped would be a decade of prosperity and promise has quickly turned into a nightmare following the country’s first confirmed COVID-19 case on January 20. Now, the COVID-19 pandemic has reached all 50 states and numbers continue to rise with each passing day.

Michigan appears to be one of the worst-hit states. On Saturday, March 28, the number of confirmed in-state cases grew by almost 1,000, marking the most massive single-day spike since the state’s first case was reported back on March 10. Detroit and Wayne County together account for 49% of all confirmed cases in Michigan. All this comes despite government orders on social distancing and large-scale shutdowns of schools, restaurants, bars, and movie theaters.

The city of Michigan is taking measures to cater to new cases. At the Fairlane Center in Dearborn, the second-floor gastroenterology suite has been converted into an inpatient unit capable of holding 16 patients. This unit will also serve any non-COVID-19 patients from the nearby downtown hospital. Henry Ford hospitals based in Wyandott and Macomb have also converted more than ten operating rooms into intensive care units to cater for any new cases.

This massive surge in the number of confirmed cases now has a lot of Michigan locals worried. Aside from social distancing initiatives, the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) are advising people to observe high levels of hygiene to try and mitigate the spread of the virus. You are encouraged to wash your hands with soap and running water for at least 20 seconds to help eliminate viral particles on your hands. But handwashing is only part of the battle; wiping down inanimate surfaces is another measure you should seriously practice.

Americans are big on automobile transportation, with nearly 270 million cars on the road — contributing to roughly 6 million car crashes each year in the United States. However, with the COVID-19 outbreak, a road accident isn’t the only threat to your family’s well-being. SARS-CoV-2 (the virus that causes COVID-19) can survive for up to two to three days on plastic and stainless steel surfaces. This is all the more reason you should take the time to clean your car regularly.

If you’ve purchased a used car recently, consider the fact that most used cars have had three owners, on average. But even if you drove out the dealership in a brand new car or you’re the only one who drives your car, you still need to take steps to keep your car clean and free from potential pathogens. There are a couple of tips that you should follow to keep your car as clean as possible.

A lot of car owners assume that disinfecting the steering wheel is enough. After all, the steering wheel is probably the one part of the car that you come into most contact with while driving. However, disinfecting goes beyond wiping down your steering wheel. If you consider the vast number of surfaces you touch on an average commute, you’ll realize your hands come into contact with many parts of the car.

Windscreen wiper stalks, directional signals, touchscreens, door handles, and control buttons are a few of the hotspots you come into contact with virtually every time you drive. Almost all car surfaces can be cleaned using isopropyl alcohol cleaners. The CDC recommends using solutions with at least 70% concentration to ensure effective cleaning.

While cleaning your car, it’s essential to consider the fact that the inside of your car consists of different surfaces made up of different materials. Steer clear of bleach and hydrogen peroxide-based products because they could potentially damage your car’s upholstery. A lot of modern cars have touchscreens. If yours does, then avoid using products with ammonia. Such products can strip off your screen’s anti-fingerprint and anti-glare coding leading to increased contrast and subsequent eye strain. If you’re wiping down leather surfaces such as seats, your best bet is using a micro-fiber cloth.

Ideally, a gentle wipe should do the trick. Remember that unlike your hard kitchen tops, most car surfaces are fragile and could easily get damaged if you use excessive cleaning force. And it’s not just alcohol-based sanitizers that work; if you’re low on cleaning supplies, then conventional soap and water will work fine. When wiping any fabric bits, avoid using too much water because it promotes the growth of mold.

Keeping your car’s interior clean doesn’t have to be a solo mission. If you have kids, it’s vital that they understand the need for high levels of hygiene during these times. Remind them to wash their hands or use hand sanitizers continually.

The specialty gas market is predicted to hit the $14 billion mark by 2026, but regular gasoline prices have dropped in recent weeks. These price drops should come as welcome news to a lot of car owners given the tough economic situation everyone is facing. However, it remains essential to take serious safety measures at the gas station. As a matter of caution, it’s a good idea to wear gloves or bring sanitizing wipes with you to the pump. Maintaining a high level of car hygiene is the best way to ensure that your driving activities don’t have a detrimental effect on your family’s health.

Battling COVID-19 requires a universal and united response. The viral pandemic has affected a lot of people’s usual way of life and how you react matters. Remember, the virus doesn’t spread; people spread the virus. Social distancing and maintaining high levels of hygiene in every aspect of your life are the best things you can do on an individual level to curb the spread of COVID-19.

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