Coronavirus And Cleaning Your Vehicle

Cleaning Without Damaging Your Interior

For most of us, our daily routine includes a lot of time either behind the wheel or in other people’s vehicles. Now with the Global threat of the Coronavirus, you may be wondering how best to protect yourself as you make your daily travels, or maybe you drive for a ride-share company and you want to protect yourself (and your customers) from accidental transmission. 

When it comes to disinfecting an interior, the potential for unwanted interactions can be daunting, especially when certain cleaning ingredients can do lasting harm to your vehicle’s interior. 

Tips For Cleaning Your Car’s Interior

  • Soap is always your best bet. It is harmful to coronavirus.
  • Avoid bleach except on simple plastics.
  • Don’t use solvents.
  • Hand sanitizers contain alcohol, which can dry out leather. Use leather conditioner to keep it healthy.
  • When in doubt, test cleaners on a surface that can’t be easily seen first.
  • Wipe off what you wipe on; don’t leave chemicals to linger.
  • Prioritize the surfaces you touch. Don’t forget buttons and switches, your rearview mirror, even your gas cap.
  • Ride-hailing drivers should stick to the basics. Simpler interiors are the easiest to clean.

Using Soap Instead Of Harsh Chemicals

According to, Basic, good old soap. Soap chemically interacts with the surface of the virus in a way that degrades it very quickly and basically destroys the virus.

If you’re used to an environment where the use of hand sanitizers is encouraged, this may seem counter-intuitive, but while alcohol-based products like garden-variety Purell may do a fine job of eliminating microbial threats, they’re not actually ideal for car interiors. 

Conveniently, soap is a key ingredient in a lot of easily obtained items — classic liquid hand or dish soaps (think Dial), for example. The trick here is to avoid any cleaners that are labeled as being free of detergents.

If you’re already sitting on a cache of automotive cleaning supplies, you’re probably in good shape, says Basic Armor All wipes, for example, contain a mild detergent. For those with leather interior bits, makeup wipes (such as the Biore wipes pictured above) are a great solution; that’s because skin care products typically contain moisturizers, which are good for organic trim materials. 

Unlike our skin, which has the ability to self re-moisturize, your interior can’t. Both alcohol- and detergent-based cleaners can dry out organic materials. In other words, if it leaves your hands feeling dry after use, chances are it will sap the natural oils out of your car’s leather interior, too. 

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