How to disinfect the inside of your car (the EASY way)

10th December 2021

As news of the omnicron variant of COVID-19 proliferates, people are doing all they can to keep their loved ones, colleagues and customers safe. This guide will show you how to clean your vehicle in minutes and keep yourself, your friends and family, or your colleagues safe.

With coronavirus wreaking havoc on the world, we all want to do our best to keep clean. From continuously washing our hands to the terrible earworm “Baby Shark”, to memorising the NHS’ ‘Hands, Face, Space’ campaign, and wearing masks and face shields in public, it feels like we’re doing everything we can to protect ourselves and others.

However, whilst your efforts are so important and must be continued, you probably didn’t know your vehicle is a breeding ground for dangerous germs like Coronavirus and Legionella.

These viruses and bacterias can survive for hours on your steering wheel, dashboard and in those hard-to-get-to small gaps and crevices in your car, taxi or truck cab.

Coronavirus, for example, can survive on contaminated surfaces for 48 hours, according to Lloyd Pharmacy. The small amounts of infected fluid, which carry the virus, are spread when an infected person coughs, sneezes, or makes contact with another person.

What you’ll need to safely disinfect your vehicle

It’s common knowledge that the best way to kill coronavirus (which causes COVID-19) and other germs is to use soap and water, or solutions containing more than 60% alcohol (Public Health England).

Alcohol-based disinfectant sprays are the easiest to use as they can quickly cover large spaces, and get into crevices. Check out the video below, and find out how you can sanitise for seven days with the click of a button

Traditional products such as bleach can kill the coronavirus too. However, products containing bleach, hydrogen peroxide and ammonia can additional damage your car and discolour your seats. They also leave a bad smell and cause irritation to the skin and eyes.

There are other substances you SHOULD NOT use.

Other natural substances such as vinegar and baking soda might make your steering wheel look extra shiny, but they’re not effective at killing the coronavirus, according to Dr Aragona Giuseppe, GP and medical advisor.

Make your vehicle safe in just a few minutes

Estimated time: 2 minutes

There are two options for disinfecting your car, taxi or truck cab. The first is short and easy and requires fewer supplies. The second is tedious and demands a lot of blood, sweat and tears.

Below is everything you will need to disinfect your vehicle the easy way.

Checklist: What you’ll need

Instructions: How to sanitise your car (the easy way)

  1. Tilt the front seat forwards
  2. Turn your air conditioning onto recycle mode and put the fan on its lowest setting
  3. Give the X-Mist can a quick shake
  4. Put the can on the cloth in the rear footwell

if your car is a two-seater, put the can in the front footwell

If you’re cleaning a truck cab, place it in the middle of the cab.

  1. Remove the cap of the X-mist
  2. Press down firmly on the button (so that it clicks in place)
  3. The can will start to disperse sanitiser mist
  4. Shut the door and leave the can
  5. Return in 20 minutes

After X-mist has dispersed in your car, you’ll have seven days of active germ control. The result is a vehicle that smells better and is much safer to use. X-mist has British Standards Accreditation and is 99.9998% effective at killing germs including coronavirus and legionella which is found in the air conditioning systems. It’s also friendly to use with leather seats and creates only a thin mist that does not leave lots of marks on your surfaces.

The longer, more frustrating way to disinfect your vehicle

When preparing to disinfect the inside of your vehicle by hand, you’ll need all the right supplies so that you can safely clean all the crevices inside your vehicle, including the air conditioning system.

Checklist: Everything you need

  • A big bucket of soap and water
  • Disposable gloves
  • Mask
  • 2 soft microfibre cloths
  • Scrubbing brush
  • Leather conditioner (for leather seats)
  • Vacuum cleaner
  • Disposable clothing to throw away after cleaning your car
  • Window cleaner (to clean windows after use)
  • Car drier

With this method, you’ll need to scrub every part of your car with soap and water. It’s easy to forget all the places you need to clean, so here’s a checklist of all the parts you will need to clean which can host germs. It might vary slightly depending on the type of vehicle you have.

Checklist: Where you’ll have to scrub

  • Steering wheel
  • Key fob
  • Door handles
  • Air conditioning vents
  • Handbrake
  • Centre console in the middle of your car (with the buttons on)
  • Dashboard
  • Armrest
  • Cup holders and the middle section underneath the
  • Seat belts and buckles
  • Left and right indicators
  • Front and backseats
  • Gearstick
  • Front and back footwells
  • Clutch, brake and accelerator
  • The boot of your car

How to sanitise your vehicle (the long way)

  1. Wash hands.
  2. Put on gloves.
  3. Stick facemask as you may get exposed to the virus or inhale the dust.
  4. Shake floor mats outside your car
  5. Vacuum all the vehicles surfaces
  6. Get your first cloth wet with soapy water and go down the list of vehicle parts, scrubbing each one. Try to take care to avoid damaging your vehicle’s materials.
  7. Scrub the floor mats
  8. Wipe clean with another cloth
  9. Dry it with a car drier
  10. If you have alcohol wipes or antibacterial solution, use these to wipe areas where you’re likely to spread infection (hand brake, stick shift and centre console)
  11. Remember to disinfect the window with the soapy cloth
  12. Clean the window with a normal window cleaner solution
  13. Throw away the clothes you used
  14. Dispose or wash your clothing
  15. Wash your hands

Some last tips

If you decide to go the manual route, be careful with leather seats. Too much water can damage it. Also, you don’t want to leave parts of your vehicle moist, so make sure you dry off all the parts of the car you’ve scrubbed. It defeats the purpose of cleaning your vehicle to leave it in the optimal condition for bacteria to grow.

Resources: X-Mist Vehicle Atmospheric Sanitiser and Deodoriser