The COVID-19 crisis is changing the world and impacting everyone’s lives. It’s also raising awareness of all the ways we can make the touchpoints of our lives cleaner and more hygienic. Dr. Jenny Dodman, Ford’s chief medical officer, explains why it’s imperative now more than ever, with the Coronavirus outbreak, to keep the car clean when we use it.
It’s worth clarifying that germs can take many forms. There are micro-organisms around us all the time and that’s normal – only a very small proportion of these have the potential to be harmful to us. The aim of cleaning should be to remove any potentially harmful micro-organisms, such as viruses like COVID-19.
When someone who is infected with COVID-19 coughs or sneezes, they produce droplets containing the virus and these droplets fall onto a surface around that person. That surface becomes contaminated and when someone touches it with their hands and then touches their face, this can transfer the virus to their eyes, mouth or nose, where it enters the body. This is why washing our hands is so important. Ideally, we should use soap and hot water, or if soap isn’t available, a hand sanitizer containing at least 70 per cent alcohol.
It is possible to contract the virus when someone coughs or sneezes directly onto someone else’s face. However, this is thought to be a much less common way of becoming infected, especially when social distancing is in place because the droplets are relatively large and they fall to the ground or a surface; they don’t linger in the air.
The risk posed by a surface contaminated by COVID-19 decreases over time. It is not yet clear how long the virus can live on a surface and it is likely that this varies depending on the surface and conditions, but studies of other viruses in the same family suggest that, in most circumstances, the risk is likely to be reduced significantly after 72 hours.
How to clean your car interior
When cleaning your car interior, never use products containing bleach or hydrogen peroxide. Also, avoid ammonia-based products, which can damage some specialist coatings such as anti-glare and anti-fingerprint. For each car, the manufacturer will be able to provide advice about what specific products are safe to be used on each part of the car.