If you, like me, cringe every time you hear one of those studies about how disgusting an everyday item is, then brace yourself: your car probably isn’t the pristine safe haven you think it is. According to one study, the average steering wheel is four times dirtier than a public toilet seat. The cup holder, seat belts, and door handles aren’t too much cleaner.
Now more than ever it seemed timely to offer some tips on keeping your car extra clean. Of course, we support driving less in general — and especially so these days — but if you have to get out and about we suggest a clean ride.
Here are some must-know tips to disinfect your vehicle:
- Sanitize, sanitize, sanitize. You already buy those handy disinfectant wipes for the surfaces in your home — why not keep a spare box handy in your trunk? Wipe down the steering wheel, gear shifter, handles, and any other surfaces in your car that get a lot of attention.
- Don’t wait to clean up messes. Most of us are guilty of snacking or full-on dining in the driver’s seat from time to time. But some research indicates that food spilled on a dashboard has 10 times the bacteria than the seat belt or radio dial, so make sure you promptly clean up any soda spills, sandwich crumbs, or other food-related deposits.
- Shampoo and vacuum the upholstery. It’s one of those tasks we often ignore, but vacuuming the upholstery in your vehicle can make a big difference in removing dust mites, food crumbs, and all sorts of icky substances that can get you sick.
- Replace the air filter. Spraying disinfectant into your intake vent and replacing your old air filter can help weed out some of the germs circulating in the cabin of your car.
- Roll the windows down from time to time. Viruses love stale, stagnant air, so do your best to prevent those conditions in your car. Roll down the windows when you can and let some fresh air waft through.
- Take a mop to the mats. Think about it: your feet, which drag on all kinds of sidewalk gunk and street junk, rest on your car mats. Shouldn’t you make it a point to clean those every once in a while? Taking them out and mopping or spraying them can help clean up some of the mess.
- Clean your keys too. Your car keys see a lot of action, whether they’re buried in your backpack or jammed along with discarded tissues into your pocket. Get in the habit of wiping them down with sanitizer too.
Stay safe and stay healthy — in and out of your car! We’re available as usual for pay-per-mile insurance quotes, customer support, and to take care of our customers’ claims.
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Michelle Konstantinovsky is a San Francisco-based freelance journalist, UC Berkeley alumna, and Metromile customer.