Updated: May 25, 2022
It’s not exactly news, but everyone, everywhere, has been affected by the Coronavirus pandemic, to one extent or another. Many of the people on the frontline, like nurses, doctors, EMTs, firefighters, and more, are voluntarily risking their safety on our behalf.
But there are other, less obvious frontline workers, such as construction workers, manufacturing employees, airline personnel, agricultural workers, bank employees, meat and poultry processors, and waste collectors. The list goes on and on.
And to that list we must add bus, taxi, limo, and rideshare drivers. Everyone is hurting, but professional drivers are particularly hard hit. The overwhelming majority can not afford to stop working, and many people rely on them to get to their own jobs. Needless to say, keeping drivers safe and vehicles clean is a priority. In this post, we offer professional, practical tips on how to disinfect your car and protect yourself and your passengers.
How to protect yourself and your customers from Covid-19
You probably clean your car more often than the average driver, but these days you need to go much further than you normally would. So, here are some tips on how to thoroughly disinfect against coronavirus. Let’s start with some basics:
Always wear gloves (preferably the disposable type) when you are cleaning and disinfecting. Be sure you dispose of the used gloves properly and never wear the same pair more than once.
Wear eye protection such as goggles, face shields or safety glasses.
Protect your arms while disinfecting. A long sleeve shirt or sleeved apron will do the trick.
Make sure your work space has good ventilation while you are disinfecting. Better still, clean your vehicle outside, and remember to open all the windows and doors while cleaning and for 30 minutes (at least) afterwards.
Wash your hands immediately after removing your gloves.
Don’t Skimp on the Details
Armed with your bottle of spray disinfectant, begin by focusing on the most frequently touched surfaces: the outside and inside door handles, steering wheel, gear shift, turn and wiper signal levers, the buttons on your radio and climate control units, seat upholstery, seat belts, mirrors, driver and passenger armrests, grab handles and seat adjustment levers, on both driver and passenger seats. Here’s a list of other commonly overlooked spots:
Trunk release handle
Engine start button
Seat adjustment controls (and seat memory buttons)
Side mirror controls
Whole steering wheel, buttons and tilt/telescope adjustment
Turn signal and wiper stalks
Seat belts and buckle (receptacle and tongue)
All dashboard controls
Any center console controls
How Do You Wipe (Your Car)?
Unless you have absolutely no choice, avoid using paper towels. Why? Well, dirt and debris have a tendency to stick to paper towels, as do napkins and towelettes. The result is that you’ll be cleaning all those delicate surfaces with something akin to sandpaper!
Better to use a good microfiber cloth designed for cleaning cars. Unlike rags and paper, microfiber is made up of miniscule loops that capture and sweep away dirt and dust particles.This means that the cloth won’t scratch delicate or shiny plastic surfaces.
Choosing a Disinfectant for Your Car
Avoid using bleach or hydrogen peroxide on your car’s interior. True, they can both kill bacteria and viruses, but there’s a good chance that they’ll damage the upholstery in your car. One other caveat here: Never use ammonia-based cleaners on the touch screens in your vehicle; they will do irreparable damage to the anti-glare and anti-fingerprint coatings used on these devices.
If your car has a leather interior then it’s probably protected by a thin chemical layer that prevents discoloration. Most common cleaning agents can weaken this protective layer, and possibly stain the leather dye. So, be careful what you use to clean that upholstery! Also, when you are cleaning, avoid scrubbing the surfaces too aggressively. True, you’ll kill all the viruses and bacteria, but you’ll forever spoil the appearance of your car’s interior.
In choosing which disinfectant to use, you want something that will kill bacteria and viruses, won’t ruin your vehicle and won’t leave a residue. We recommend Sterifab because, after 50 years in business, it’s the only EPA-approved disinfectant that kills bacteria, viruses, fungi and, yes, even small bugs and insects in one fell swoop.
Why Sterifab Works So Well
First of all, Sterifab works as both a disinfectant and as an insecticide, and will kill everything from lice, ticks, bed bugs and fleas to scabies, ants and roaches. Second, it’s a potent antimicrobial agent that will kill countless microorganisms on contact. However, unlike antibiotics- which destroy microorganisms within the body- Steri Fab functions by wiping out the microbes at the cellular level (or obstructing their basic metabolic functions).
For disinfecting purposes, Sterifab has even more helpful features. It doesn’t stain, and it has no added perfumes or scents. Nor does it emit that unpleasant smell we usually associate with disinfectants. Not only that, but Sterifab dries quickly- in about 15 minutes or so- and is absolutely crystal clear. Best of all, it will not harm fabrics, carpets or other kinds of upholstery.
Cleaning Checklist: Staying Safe on Your Daily Drives
Until now, we’ve talked about how to give your car a thorough cleaning. But, particularly given the high risk of coronavirus transmission in your car, we also recommend some day-to-day tips to help you minimize the risks to you and your passengers:
Limit the number of passengers you transport at any one time.
If you can, install a plexiglass partition between you and the passenger area.
Wear a mask at all times ̶ and ask your passengers to do the same. Cover your mouth and nose with the mask.
Increase the airflow in your vehicle by lowering the windows.
Keep a box of disposable, disinfectant towels within easy reach.
Provide your customers alcohol-based hand rubs and disposable wipes (and make sure you have plenty of tissues and trash receptacles).
A Quick Recap on Cleaning Your Taxi
Just remember to take the following steps each day:
While disinfecting, park the vehicle in an open area where you can open all the doors and windows.
Don’t forget to clean high-touch areas such as internal and external door handles, window controls, seat belts, dashboard, steering wheel, and air-conditioning controls.
Be sure to wear appropriate protection, such as glasses/goggles, rubber gloves and face masks.
Sprayed surfaces should be left wet for at least 10 minutes.
Disinfect before starting the work day, after every trip from the airport, and if you have transported anyone in a susceptible category, e.g. elderly passengers.
Even without the risk of coronavirus, taxis, Ubers and rideshares can be pretty dirty places! Learn more about how to disinfect your car.