Cleaning your car's interior with hand sanitisers during lockdown might not be such a good idea

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Image: Motorpress
Image: Motorpress

Most South Africans are wiping down surfaces in their homes and offices with disinfectant wipes and hand sanitisers. But what about your car?

According to George Mienie, AutoTrader CEO, the cleanliness of your car needs to be considered too. “Just like home and office surfaces, the car interior needs attention,” he points out.

So, what products should you be using? Soap and water (or dishwashing liquid and water) will do a great job to clean your car’s interior. Plastic, metal or faux metal surfaces shouldn’t be damaged by soap and water. Assuming you wipe gently, leather will also respond well.

The steering wheel needs a very good clean, as do other areas that are used regularly – climate and audio controls, infotainment systems, window controls and the like. When working on areas containing electronics, disinfecting wipes are better than soap and water. Ensure that the wipes don’t contain bleach.

Beware, hand sanitisers contain alcohol, which can damage the interior, for instance they can dry out leather and possibly (if used repeatedly) cause plastics to crack.

Give the upholstery and carpets a good clean too – once again, avoid bleach-based cleaners as these will damage your car’s interior. Use specific purpose-designed cleaners instead: a carpet cleaner or a leather upholstery cleaner, for instance. These are readily available online or at aftermarket stores.

If you have children who leave toys in the car, don't forget to give those a very good clean too.

"You wouldn’t want dirty toys full of germs in your house, right? The same applies to your car. Like so many other aspects, having a cleaner car is a simple case of time, patience, attention to detail and common sense," says Mienie.

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