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AAA: Keep your car clean and help prevent spread of coronavirus

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Thu, Mar 26th 2020 01:05 pm

By AAA of Western and Central New York

The COVID-19 outbreak has changed the everyday lives of people rapidly. It's a time to be particularly cautious, especially for those who can't avoid being exposed to the public for work, urgent matters, or other reasons.

Motorists who are driving during the outbreak will want to do their part to prevent the virus from being carried inside their vehicle. AAA Automotive and AAA Insurance are sharing tips to keep your vehicle clean and safe based on CDC guidelines.

Conveniently, most household cleaners that kill coronavirus are safe to use on a car interior without causing damage. Cleaning solutions that are at least 70% alcohol are effective against the coronavirus, and they are generally very safe on car interiors. Follow these tips to disinfect your vehicle:

•Don't use bleach and hydrogen peroxide cleaners. Though they can kill coronavirus, they might also damage the car's upholstery.

•When cleaning out-of-the-ordinary surfaces such as suede, Alcantara (synthetic suede) or older headliners, it's smart to check the owner’s manual for automaker recommendations.

•Take time to give your car a thorough cleaning while wearing disposable gloves. You may want to vacuum and remove any trash or debris, if necessary. Clean dirty surfaces using detergent or soap and water before disinfecting.

•When using your disinfectant solution, don't just wipe the obvious areas like the steering wheel and door handles. Make sure you clean the complete interior of the vehicle.

•You can follow up by applying protectant to the interior surfaces. Professional detailers use products that preserve the original factory finish, which usually has a natural matte or satin appearance. Avoid silicone-based protectants that leave a shiny, “greasy” finish that tends to attract dust.

•Use an alcohol-based window cleaner for all window surfaces. This should work for touchscreen displays as well, but consult your car's manual to be safe. 

•To be thorough, clean the carpets and floors. Carpets can be cleaned by spraying a suitable detergent solution on spots, using a brush to work it in, then rubbing with a towel to remove the stain and cleaner.

•Cleaning dirtier areas, particularly floor mats and cargo area carpeting, may require the use of a carpet “steam” cleaner equipped with a hand-held attachment. Cloth upholstery is cleaned in much the same manner as carpets.

Now that your car is clean, keep some disinfectant wipes on hand to routinely wipe off commonly touched areas.

Continue to keep your car tidy and disinfected, and maybe add an air freshener to complete that "new car" feel!

See the CDC's full list of disinfectants that can kill COVID-19 virus here.

As upstate New York’s largest member services organization, AAA Western and Central New York provides more than 887,000 members with travel, insurance, financial and automotive-related services. Since its founding in 1900, AAA has been a leading advocate for the safety and security of all travelers. Visit AAA at www.AAA.com.

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