At Jenkins Mazda, we fully understand the concerns our customers have about exposure to COVID-19, or the coronavirus. Many people in Ocala, FL, are wearing gloves and taking other precautions to reduce their risk of exposure. What you may forget, though, is that the interior of your vehicle is making contact with any groceries or other items you pick up while out. According to the World Health Organization, studies suggest that coronaviruses may live on surfaces for a few hours or up to several days. That means that you should be sanitizing the interior of your car to kill any germs it may have collected on your last visit to the grocery store or pharmacy.


How Long Does the Coronavirus Survive on Surfaces?

Your vehicle's interior contains many different surfaces, which can present a challenge when trying to disinfect. You need the right approach when going from soft leather or cloth seats to the plastics on your dash. According to the National Institutes of Health, the virus that causes COVID-19 is stable for up to 24 hours on cardboard and up to two to three days on plastic or stainless steel. Another study suggests that similar viruses can live on "inanimate surfaces like metal, glass or plastic for up to nine days."


What's the Best Way to Sanitize My Car's Interior?

Be sure to wash your hands before attempting any cleaning, and if you have disposable gloves, it can be a good idea to put them on. Most common EPA-registered household disinfectants will work well for sanitizing your vehicle. Just be sure to read the product's label to make sure it's safe for the surface you're planning to use it on.


How to Disinfect Surfaces in My Car

The most important areas of your Mazda to keep clean are the dashboard and the steering wheel. Bacteria tends to collect in these spots, as air is cycled throughout the vehicle. To clean your dash, simply use soap and water. Dampen the surface with dish soap and warm water and scrub with a cloth. It's also important to wipe down areas like your steering wheel with a disinfecting product. High-touch areas in your vehicle you should focus on include:

  • Door Handles
  • Door Buttons
  • Key Fob
  • Steering Wheel
  • Inside Door Buttons
  • Seat Belts
  • Gear Shifters
  • Touchscreens
  • Buttons on the Dash
  • Buttons for Lights
  • Buttons for Windshield Wipers
  • Glove Compartment

Do I Need to Disinfect My Car's Exterior?

Germs are less likely to live on the outside of your Mazda thanks to the sun and other weather elements. It's still smart to disinfect areas you touch frequently, though. Think of the door handles, handle buttons or gas cap.


Are There Disinfectants I Should Avoid Using in My Car?

If you want to avoid damaging Mazda interior surfaces, don't use bleach or hydrogen peroxide to disinfect. These can damage the vinyl and plastics in your cabin. You should also avoid any ammonia-based cleaning products used to clean glass, as they can break down the vinyl on the dashboard. Heat and light may then cause your dashboard to become sticky.


How to Clean Leather Seats in My Car

Make sure to spot test any leather cleaner you may have in a hidden area to verify that it reacts well with the material in your vehicle. Avoid scratching the leather by using a microfiber cloth, and if you don't have any leather cleaner readily available, you can make your own with two parts vinegar and one part water. If you can, apply a leather conditioner after cleaning.

Here at Jenkins Mazda, we want to do our part to help educate our customers and keep them safe and healthy during this difficult time. If you have any questions about car care or need assistance, please don't hesitate to reach out to our Mazda dealership in Ocala, FL.

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