Men Washing His Car

Car Sanitization Information
For Viti Mercedes-Benz Customer Support

At Viti, we fully understand the concerns our customers have about exposure to COVID-19, or coronavirus. To reduce exposure to germs when out for essentials, we know many people in Rhode Island and Massachusetts are doing things like wearing masks, using hand sanitizer and cleaning items they buy when they arrive home. But don't forget that many of these items are coming into direct contact with your car's interior surfaces. According to the World Health Organization, studies suggest that the coronavirus 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. 

Car cleaner wiping car door with rag

How Long Does Coronavirus Survive on Surfaces?

Since your car has a variety of surfaces, it may be challenging to properly clean all the different parts of your vehicle. Whether it be leather seats or plastic on the dash, you'll find each surface requires slightly different care. 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."

Cleaning the interior of the car with a microfiber cloth

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

Wash your hands and put on disposable gloves before starting the cleaning process. 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. It's also good to keep spare disinfectant wipes and a small bottle of hand sanitizer in your car so you can wipe down surfaces on the trip.

Worker washing of interior leather seats

How to Clean Leather Seats in My Car

If you're using a new leather cleaner, it's smart to spot test it on a hidden area to ensure it works well with your seats. If you don't have any leather cleaner available, you can mix two parts vinegar with one part water to make your DIY leather cleaning solution. Always use a microfiber cloth to avoid scratching the leather, and apply a leather conditioner after cleaning if you can.

How to Disinfect Surfaces in My Car

The most important areas of your Mercedes-Benz 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 water and soap -- dish soaps works fine. Dampen the surface and scrub for 20-30 seconds for a full clean. Make sure to also wipe your dash and steering wheel with a disinfecting product frequently. Other high-touch surfaces to focus on cleaning can 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?

While weather like the sun and rain means germs and viruses are less likely to survive on the outside of your car, it's still important to clean surfaces you touch frequently. This includes gas caps, door handles and handle buttons.

Are There Disinfectants I Should Avoid Using in My Car?

If you want to avoid damaging your Mercedes-Benz interior, 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.

Here at Viti Mercedes-Benz, 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 Mercedes-Benz dealership in Tiverton, RI.

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