Advice: Keeping a car clean to reduce the spread of novel coronavirus
The unprecedented health crisis that's made its mark on nearly every community across the globe is especially insidious because of how easy it is to contract and then spread novel coronavirus.
As experts agree that social distancing and constant sanitization are the best ways to avoid contamination, they're also reminding those with vehicles to ensure their cars are also as clean as possible.
ABC News researched the best ways to keep a vehicle coronavirus-free and came up with the following guidelines:
USE THE RIGHT TOOLS TO CLEAN YOUR VEHICLE
The right disinfectants can kill the coronavirus so that it doesn't live on surfaces such as rubber, plastic, aluminum and leather. Most common household cleaners will work. The American Chemistry Council has a helpful list of specific EPA-approved products for use against the coronavirus. We recommend keeping a tube of disinfectant wipes in your vehicle for regular use.
Check to ensure that the cleaners you're using are safe for the surfaces in your car. Some disinfectants can dry out leather. A safer option would be to use a mild soap and water, then apply a leather conditioner to protect those surfaces. This option will not kill germs as well as harsher disinfectants, but it will greatly reduce them and help prevent spread.
FOCUS ON AREAS THAT ARE FREQUENTLY TOUCHED
The main areas that need to be cleaned are obvious. Anything inside the car that your fingers touch should be cleaned: the steering wheel, gear shifter, lane change and windshield wiper stalks, door handles, radio knobs, infotainment controllers, storage bins and seat belts. The CDC recommends cleaning touched surfaces daily.
One other area might not be so immediately evident: The top of the dashboard is a prime spot for harboring such microorganisms, according to Charles P. Gerba, a professor of microbiology and public health at the University of Arizona. Recirculating air swirls up against the windshield and sticks to the dash, where it can be distributed throughout the cabin, Gerba said. Cleaning that spot reduces risk.
CHILDREN AND THE ELDERLY
People who are regularly in contact with both children and the elderly should take extra precautions, even if those two groups are not sharing the same airspace at the same time. That's because children are often less careful about hygiene and cleanliness, while the elderly are more susceptible to any germs left behind.
People over the age of 60 and those with underlying conditions such as hypertension, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, chronic respiratory disease and cancer have the highest risk of severe disease and death from COVID-19, according to the World Health Organization. But proper and regular cleaning inside the car can greatly reduce the risk of passing the virus on from children and others.
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