How to clean your car- tips to avoid harmful bacteria

Did you know that 25% of parents in the UK admitted to not cleaning their cars regularly? A survey also found that a shocking one in ten don’t clean their cars at all. In fact, the number of germs lurking in cars – especially those belonging to families – might come as a surprise…

Children are prone to carrying the highest number of germs because they make hands-on contact with the most people, according to a study. As well as this, children are most at risk of spreading respiratory diseases. This is why it’s especially important to regularly clean family cars that are carrying children. 

Professor John Ward, a Biochemical Engineering professor at UCL, recently got together with ATS Euromaster to swab 11 cars for bacteria. The results showed 800 types of bacterialurking in the cars – types both harmful and harmless. In the article to follow, we’re going to reference the study as we examine how best to clean the inside of your car. 

Clear the rubbish

Clearing out the car will make life a lot easier when it comes to deep cleaning. Take a bin bag and remove any wrappers, packets, bottles – anything that’s cluttering the car’s interior.

Keep bags for rubbish in the car to clean as you go, so anything can be disposed of straight away.

Remove any other items that get in the way, like children’s car seats, books, coats… this will make it easier to clean everywhere with no obstructions.

Remove dust

To remove dust and crumbs, use a handheld vacuum to clean the floor, and in between and under the seats. It’s the most effective way to get rid of all the dirt inside the car.

For smaller, trickier areas, use a cloth or duster. This will make it easier to get into all the gaps and crevices that trap dust. 

It helps to keep car doors open when cleaning. Dust will move and float around, so ventilation will allow it to escape.

Go antibacterial

Make sure everywhere is cleaned thoroughly with antibacterial wipes/spray and that nowhere is missed. Even areas that appear clean, like the dashboard buttons and gear stick, are riddled with bacteria. In fact, harmful bacteria (Staphylococcus epidermidis) were found here in the ATS study.

These areas are touched frequently throughout a car journey, so ensure these are thoroughly wiped down with powerfulspray or wipes to kill germs. It’ll also be handy to keep antibacterial wipes in the car to clean any spillages and messon the go. 

The car seats collect a lot of dirt, especially with children on board. Drinks get spilt, food gets dropped in the gaps between seats and in seatbelt catches, so these areas need particular attention. Plus, the seat belt catch picked up dangerousbacteria (Staphylococcus aureus) in Professor Ward’s study. 

Clean inside gaps and crevices

Don’t be afraid to get stuck in and clean creviced areas which trap dirt. In the ATS study, the cup holder was actually thedirtiest area examined, largely because its cylindrical shape makes it the perfect vessel for bacteria to accumulate in. Use a sponge or wipe on this part of the car. 

Final cleaning tips from Professor Ward:

Clean the car’s interior to the same standard as you would the house, especially if you have children. Professor Ward says children can introduce new viruses, so as aforementioned,clean more frequently if the car is carrying children and larger families.

Make sure to check out the full Germs in Cars study for further details on the campaign.

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