Covid-19: Can alcohol sanitizers be used to clean your car?

Jerrica · Mar 24, 2020 03:15 PM

Can you use alcohol sanitizers to clean car interior

The answer is no, alcohol sanitizers or plain rubbing alcohol might be good products for disinfecting our bodies and household surfaces, but alcohol will damage the material that are used to build the interior of the car.

After rubbing hand sanitizer that is largely made up of alcohol on your hands you feel a distinct dryness to your skin. That’s because alcohol dries up anything it comes in contact with.

Since our car interiors are made up of materials such as leather, plastics, vinyl, and polyurethane, using any form of alcohol to clean these surfaces would quicken its wear and tear process because the alcohol dries up the leather and vinyl while removing the protective lacquer and exposing its bare surfaces.

Wiping the car interior surface

Another part that would get damaged if it comes in contact with alcohol are painted trims. This includes surfaces like piano black panels and wood-effect trim. Alcohol will rub off the wood-effect trims leaving bald spots while piano black surfaces will be left with spots and stains.

While we’re talking about wood, if your car has genuine wood trims, make sure that not even a drop of alcohol touches the surface. The alcohol will attack the lacquer causing it to crack exposing the wood’s porous surface and causing it to damage faster.

So, if rubbing alcohol and other disinfectants are not suitable to clean out your car interior, what do you use for cleaning out the germs in your car?

Spray bottle with soap

Photo by JESHOOTS.COM on Unsplash

Good-old fashion soap and warm water is your answer. Just a drop or two of soap into a spray bottle filled halfway with water would do wonders in cleaning out the germs. If this is not enough, you can always choose to use anti-bacterial soap.

Make sure to target highly touched areas like the steering wheel, door handles, your infotainment and air-conditioning controls. These should be your focus areas while we encourage you to also give your glass screens a good scrub as well.

Don’t forget to also target the seats. If your car has leather upholstered seats, just spray the soap at the seats and give it a good wipe down with a micro-fibre cloth. The same applies for fabric seats, be mindful not to spray too much soap onto the fabric as it would be difficult to dry.

Car fabric seats

Some cars also have removable seat upholstery so you can easily remove the seat covers and give the fabrics a tumble in the washing machine.

There is also your car’s air-conditioning unit. While a complete clean like anti-bacterial misting services is out of the question at the moment, you can still do your part in replacing the cabin air filter, consult your owner’s manual for this.

At the moment only the Proton X70 and Volvo XC40 offers medical grade PM 2.5 air-cond filters in Malaysia, so we highly encourage that you do not skip this crucial part.

Proton X70 has PM 2.5 filters in their air-conditioners

Our car interiors are one of the places where we spend most time in, we often neglect just how much germs we bring into our cars every time we get in and out of the car.

So, while cleaning every surface in your house is important, but all that hard work will be for nothing if you don’t also spend some time disinfecting your car interior as well.