If you spend a lot of time in your car, especially if you have children or pets, your car interior can quickly resemble a dustbin on wheels! Not just untidy, your car can also become a host to germs if you don’t keep on top of the cleaning. In fact, according to research by Salford University, the average car contains 50% more bacteria than your keyboard or a smartphone screen! Swabs from the floor surrounding the handbrake console of 20 vehicles revealed an average density of 200 living bacteria per square inch, including MRSA!
Here are 5 tips to help keep your car interior clean:
1. Avoid eating in your car. Fifty-one per cent of drivers drop food in their cars, according to research. When cars left in warm environments start to heat up, the bacteria from food multiplies, causing mould to grow. If you must eat in your car, remember to immediately clean up any crumbs with wet wipes. Then, vacuum your car to remove any food crumbs stuck in tight spaces.
2. Disinfect surfaces. Tests at Aston University found that the gearstick was the most heavily infected part of a vehicle, with 356 microbes per square centimeter. Keep disinfecting wipes in the glove box, and make sure to wipe down the steering wheel, gear stick, door handles and dashboard once a week. This prevents bacteria, such as E. coli and salmonella, from growing in areas that you frequently touch. You can use an old toothbrush to deal with hard to reach spots and don’t forget to wipe the buttons on the dashboard.
3. Cleanse the air conditioning units. Bacteria and dirt that build up in air conditioning units and vents can spread germs around your car. Dust the vents with a feather duster and have the air conditioning system checked every two years to prevent microbe build-up.
4. Monitor kids and pets. Cars that transport kids and pets tend to contain a multitude of germs. In fact, research found that child car seats contain 200 times more germs than a supermarket trolley. Use seat covers when transporting pets to keep the dirt at bay. Have a regular declutter session where you remove rubbish, books, toys and any sweets that have been left to melt on the back seat. You could consider using a back-seat organiser, which you can pick up fairly cheaply, to help keep essentials in one place.
5. Use car mats. Car mats can help trap dirt, mud and any crumbs but need to be vacuumed regularly. At least once a month, remove all the floor mats and run the the vacuum over the carpet of your car. Vacuum the seats and boot area too. Deal with any spills straight away – using a carpet cleaner for deep cleaning. A good way to freshen up the car interior and get rid of that wet-dog/stale milk smell is to use some baking soda, mixed with a couple of drops of an essential oil of your choice. Sprinkle on the carpets and then vacuum up.