Reduce The Spread of Coronavirus in Your Car

Unless you’re currently using your car for essential reasons outlined by the government such as medical reasons, shopping for essential items or if you’re a key worker, you should avoid driving as best as you can. But for those that need to, there are public places you need to remember with the developments of COVID-19.

When driving your car, visiting supermarkets, petrol stations or driving to and from work, it’s critical that you reduce the spread of coronavirus in your car by regularly deep cleaning it. Whilst we can’t promise that cleaning your car will prevent you from contracting the virus, it will minimise risks when you use your car and reduce the chance of spreading it to others.

Unfortunately, the coronavirus (COVID-19) is dominating our day-to-day life not just in the UK, but worldwide. If you’re still needing to use your car, how do you ensure that your car doesn’t become contaminated? We’ve created this guide to explain how to effectively clean your car under the current circumstances.


Cleaning your vehicle

With the main route of transmission from cough and sneeze droplets, any surrounding surfaces in your car are high risk and can be a hotspot for the virus to cling on to. Whilst we aren’t yet sure how long the virus can survive on every surface, what we do know is that the virus can survive on metal and plastic surfaces for up to three days. 

The typical interior of a car is known to have nearly 300 types of germs on every square inch, with the steering wheel carrying four times as much bacteria as a toilet seat. It goes without saying, but thoroughly cleaning your car should be high up on your to-do list even more so than you usually do. We have experienced car cleaners to deal with every car we get into our showroom, applying all the tricks of the trade that we would use for a purchase ready vehicle.

Before you clean your vehicle

We recommend waiting at least three days after using your car. Whilst metal and plastic materials are used throughout your car, it suggests that the virus can live on surfaces of the interior of your car for around three days.

Waiting for this 72 hour period to pass will reduce the risks of contracting the virus as any traces would no longer be as present compared to soon after you drive the car. Lock and secure your car for 72 hours and do not enter it unless you really need to.

Be sure to thoroughly wash your hands with soap and water before you access your car, each time. You can also wear protective disposable clothing if you’d prefer to, otherwise, be prepared to wash your clothes after cleaning the vehicle as well.

Before you begin, you’ll need a disinfectant, two cloths and two bin liners, as you’ll be needing to dispose of any cloths used after cleaning.

How to clean your vehicle

You’ll need to give your whole car a thorough clean inside and out, but prioritising areas which are considered high-contact areas. This would be any touchpoints where hands may have come into contact with, which includes the:

  • steering wheel

  • gear stick

  • handbrake

  • indicator stalk (and any other control stalks)

  • radio buttons

  • seatbelts (and seatbelt clips)

  • door pockets

  • inner door releases 

  • window switches

  • cupholders

  • interior lights switches

  • gloveboxes

  • central storage compartments

Externally, you can clean your fuel cap, boot lid and all external door handles. You might not consider this, but you should also clean your car keys very regularly too, as these can pick up germs and bacteria every time you leave the house.

To clean your vehicle, you should first wash your hands for 20 seconds and then go around the interior of the car with a vacuum to collect any dust, dirt, crumbs or hair. Anti-bacterial spray, disinfectant or isopropyl alcohol can then be used on any of the surfaces and wiped over with a clean cloth. If you aren’t able to use any of these cleaning products, hot soapy water can also work very well. We also recommend that you dilute alcohol when using it to clean inside your vehicle, as it can often bleach or discolour leather or plastic interiors. 
Finish off by going over the clean areas with a different damp cloth.

After cleaning your vehicle

Be sure to wash your hands after cleaning your vehicle for at least 20 seconds. It’s also recommended to wash your clothes on a 60°C wash to kill any remaining bacteria which may have come into contact with your clothes.

Should I wear gloves when cleaning my car? wearing gloves in your vehicle

Like a large number of the population, you may be inclined to wear protective gloves when leaving your house. Gloves can do more damage than good if not used properly, so remember to dispose of them as soon as you are finished with them and to never wear them in your car, as any droplets picked up by your gloves can easily make their way inside.

Use hand sanitiser or wash your hands before and after driving your car to avoid cross-contamination as our hands can pass germs from surface to surface. You should also avoid touching your face when wearing gloves.

Petrol stations

Needing to buy fuel? Whilst most of us are unlikely to be buying fuel at the moment, if you really need to, you should be aware that petrol garages are hotspots for germs and bacteria. These germs and bacteria can find their way back into our cars very easily, regardless of how safe we are when using the pumps. 

You should try to wear gloves when operating a petrol pump which can often be found next to each pump, if you cannot, we recommend using hand sanitiser. It’s important to dispose of the gloves straight away and try not to pay using cash.

MOT extension

To further reduce the spread of Coronavirus, you may already know that the government has extended all vehicle MOTs due dates from the 30th March 2020, providing that you maintain your car in a safe, road-worthy condition. As an example, this means that if your MOT is due on the 8th May 2020, it will now be postponed to the 8th November instead. You’ll still be able to have your car tested at your own choice, however, taking your vehicle to an MOT testing garage will increase the chances of spreading coronavirus if either yourself or a mechanic has the virus.

It’s also worth noting that if you aren’t driving your car at the moment due to working from home, you’re more likely to experience problems later on. Cars are designed to be driven, so a vehicle left unused will need to be maintained even more than under normal circumstances. The brakes on your car can corrode and eventually seize up, your handbrake can begin to stick, your battery can very quickly drain and your tyres can develop flat spots.

We recommend starting up your car once a week for around 20 minutes whilst running your air conditioning. If you can, you should also run your car back and forth a couple of metres, but only if it’s safe to do so.

Why choose us?

We have been closely monitoring the developments of COVID-19 and are prioritising the health and wellbeing of all team members and our customers. With our robust continuity plans, we are trying our best to ensure that we still provide you with our outstanding services. 


If you’re looking to reserve one of our used vehicles, you’ll be pleased to know that you are still able to reserve vehicles for £100 and view, collect or handover after lockdown is over. For key workers needing a vehicle immediately, we will do our best to locate and deliver to you as soon as possible. Any vehicle purchased through Parkland Motors will be thoroughly cleaned and valeted before handed over to you.


Here at Parklands Motors, we pride ourselves in making your buying process easy and hassle-free. For your peace of mind, all of our vehicles come with a minimum of 8 months MOT, up to date oil service, and also go through a rigorous 85-point pre-delivery inspection prior to the collection/delivery of the vehicle. 

Contact us today for more information on our cars and services.