Keeping your car 'COVID-19 FREE'

Kingston, Jamaica, April 14, 2020 - Caution has been the order of the day ever since COVID-19 landed on our shores. With each Jamaican taking personal responsibility for the rate at which the disease spreads, many of us employ general preventative measures such as frequently washing our hands and disinfecting high-touch surfaces. Marcos Garcia, After-Sales Technical Specialist at Magna Motors Dealership Limited, reminds us of the often forgotten importance of also ensuring the cleanliness of our vehicles.

CAUTION AND CAR CARE

Frequently touched surfaces in cars include the steering wheel, gearstick, hand-break, turning-signal and wiper stalks, door handles and any touch screen or buttons-especially if the car uses a start button. While the government has advised citizens to stay at home as much as possible, some still have to travel to work or to purchase household essentials. Keeping the inside of your car clean is extremely important as it is the first place many go when returning from public spaces. Garcia highlights that most of the surfaces we come in contact with in vehicles might be less durable than the kitchen counter at home or desk at work, and so is at a higher risk of being defaced. How then can we safely sanitize our vehicles to keep our cars 'COVID-free' while also avoiding any serious damage? The key is in choosing the right products.

WHAT PRODUCTS TO USE
"To be safe, you want to disinfect the inside of your car with isopropyl alcohol, more popularly known as rubbing alcohol. You may be wondering what's wrong with plain old soap and water; afterall, it's one of the main ways we protect ourselves. However, in order for these to be truly effective, they must be used with intense scrubbing. We can vigorously wash our hands to ensure the proper removal of dangerous organisms, but if we do that to our cars it will most certainly cause damage," advised Garcia.

WHAT PRODUCTS TO AVOID

Bleach Many of us believe that nothing disinfects as well as good old-fashioned bleach. However, you should not use bleach on the inside of your car by any means, as it will likely damage the upholstery or finish.

Hydrogen peroxide
While it is known to be a less toxic alternative to bleach, it too can also be quite corrosive.

Multi-Purpose Cleaners
Depending on the make of your vehicle's interior, ammonia-based cleaners, including most multi-purpose brands that we find at most supermarkets, may cause damage.

STEPS FOR DISINFECTING

Now that you've selected the appropriate products, Garcia provides a simple two-step method for applying the cleaning agent while minimizing damage to the inside of your car. You will need an alcohol solution of concentration between 60% and 90%, a spray bottle and a clean microfibre cloth.

Step 1: Fill the spray bottle with the alcohol solution and pay special attention to the alcohol concentration. Concentrations above 60% are best for fighting bacteria, fungi and viruses. However, if the concentration is above 90% the agent becomes less effective. This is because a certain amount of water needs to be present for alcohol to be an effective disinfectant.

Step 2: Spray the alcohol solutions on all the frequently touched surfaces in your vehicle and use the microfiber cloth to wipe the surfaces dry. If you do not have a cloth, you may simply allow the surfaces to air dry.

Following these simple steps in car care, will help you to practice caution and continue to play your part in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic.

Gary Ingram, Client Advisor at Magna Motors Dealership Limited, cleans the steering wheel of a 2020 Tucson.