Coronavirus: Tips from an auto detailer for cleaning and disinfecting your car

BOSTON — As a global pandemic is shuttering schools, businesses and major sports leagues, people stuck at home are looking to clean and disinfect everything they come into contact with.

Auto detailer Patrick Horrigan told Boston 25 News his business has been inundated with calls from people looking to get their car detailed or deep cleaned.

While Horrigan is accommodating what he can, but he noted there is no need to panic. He’s offering some tips for some basic car care for those who want to clean theirs out a bit.

According to the CDC, Coronavirus can live on a solid surface up to 4 days. Some medical experts through published reports have been suggesting that some viruses can live up to 9 days on a solid surface. This does not factor in the sun. Sunlight, or UV radiation can actually kill viruses in minutes under direct full sunlight exposure. Most newer vehicles have some form of UV protection in their glass, even on clear glass, there is still UV rays hitting the inside of your vehicle killing virus. Factor in the minimum of 14 days quarantine time, when you are cleared to leave your house there is no virus left alive in your car.

—  Patrick Horrigan, We Care Car Care

Horrigan says you should clean your car regularly beyond the periodic deep cleans you may get with a detailing. He said steering wheels can be extremely dirty and many people spend a lot of time in their cars commuting.

For the DIY crowd, a good place to start is with CDC guidelines for cleaning. Their website has a complete list of household cleaners available on their website that can actually kill Coronavirus. A lot of the products listed as certified, unfortunately, are not safe to use on all surfaces in your car. For most of the safer products to be effective, you need to leave the product on the surface for three minutes or more and allow it to air dry. It’s very important to follow the manufacturer labels. More often than not they will tell you what surfaces are safe to use the products on as well as safety precautions when using the products.

—   Patrick Horrigan, We Care Car Care

He adds there are a lot of different surfaces in your vehicle to take into account when selecting products to use and procedures on how to clean them. For example, most leather seats and trim are coated in vinyl or a clear coat which is a lot more resistant to stronger cleaning products and can stand up to a fair amount of light scrubbing.

You can see his full blog post here.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention offers tips for disinfecting and cleaning your household surfaces. You should follow CDC guidelines when cleaning.

Cleaning is the necessary first step of any disinfection process. Cleaning removes organic matter, salts, and visible soils, all of which interfere with microbial inactivation. The physical action of scrubbing with detergents and surfactants and rinsing with water removes substantial numbers of microorganisms. If a surface is not cleaned first, the success of the disinfection process can be compromised. Removal of all visible blood and inorganic and organic matter can be as critical as the germicidal activity of the disinfecting agent. When a surface cannot be cleaned adequately, it should be protected with barriers.

—  Centers for Disease Control and Prevention