I want to begin by saying I hope we understand the significance of social distancing, the value of wearing masks in public, and the importance of disinfecting surfaces we frequently contact. We know washing and sanitizing our hands is important.
But I would like to mention things we may overlook in our efforts to protect ourselves.
When Protecting Our Home (Household Cleaning)
Those household cleaners we use on our kitchen tables, are we reading the directions and using the product in a way that can effectively kill viruses (i.e. – to disinfect)?
Ian Martinez of Gloss Angeles auto detailing wrote an article describing the differences between cleaning, sanitizing, and disinfecting, click here to give it a read.
Remember when trying to kill viruses, our focus should be on disinfecting. Disinfecting requires the most dwell time. Are you leaving the product wet on the surface long enough for it to do its job before wiping? You should, when appropriate, leave the chemical saturated on the surface for at least the time suggested for your specific cleaner.
The EPA website has a disinfectant list specific to Covid-19 with recommended dwell times included. Link below:
Protecting Ourselves In Our Cars
In terms of car care, my first suggestion is to focus on prioritizing curbing cross-contamination and making less frequent trips.
Gas pumps are disgusting! Likely thousands of hands have been touching those pumps and the surrounding areas day and night. I doubt that area ever gets cleaned. Think about how long it take you to refuel. Then there is another car right behind you.
Wear gloves or at least have something you can dispose of that serves as a practical barrier.
Very carefully, dispose of gloves immediately before returning to your car to avoid cross-contamination.
Do not let wearing gloves lull you into having a false sense of security. I usually only wear gloves when I am trying to either avoid exposing certain areas of my car and or when I know that I am touching higher risk objects. In these scenarios, I may not have immediate access to soap and water or hand sanitizer. If I decide to wear gloves, I will usually carry multiple additional pairs on me. My suggestion is to have a thoughtful reason and plan for wearing gloves. Remember, touching your face with or without gloves carries the exact same consequences.
Other areas to think about, when driving, that you want to have a plan for: the ATM, building door handles, or entryways which require keyboard access.
I am NOT a fan of using household cleaners on cars. Using household cleaners or even rubbing alcohol carries potential consequences with respect to damaging (short and long term) the sensitive material in your car. If the condition of your car is something you have absolutely no care for, I completely understand the need to prioritize doing whatever you deem is necessary for piece of mind. There are detailing products I would recommend that can serve as disinfectants.
Two Products That Are Valuable Car Cleaners if Used As Directed
The Gtechniq I2 Tri-Clean. Think about the commonly touched areas of your car, the steering wheel, gear shifter, and the inside of the car door handle. This is a good all-around cleaner for those areas. In the company news release, it is mentioned that this product has properties that can kill viruses. Although it is stated that there is no conclusive evidence confirming its effectiveness against the Covid-19 strain.
P&S Surface Sanitizer is safe on a majority of your car’s surfaces. The EPA recommends leaving a surface wet with this product for up to 10 minutes of dwell time in order to inactivate Rhinoviruses.
Getting Your Car Professionally Detailed?
I am concerned that many unethical professionals are praying on your fears with false promises and quick fixes. My number one concern is the advertisement for steam cleaning! Many false assumptions are being made that steam kills viruses. Steam properly used (i.e. safely on a car) does not kill viruses.
In A World Of Uncertainty What Can We Control?
I think there is no better time to remind everyone that no matter what our feelings or beliefs about the severity of this pandemic, we ALL are affected. Regardless of how it manifests we all feel stress, anxiety, loneliness, frustration, and we are experiencing some hardship. These consequences are very real to you, your neighbor, or any stranger you encounter regardless of how we individually cope with this pandemic. Let us do a better job of replacing ego with humanity. Let us start with being compassionate to ourselves and each other.