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Steering Wheels Found to be Dirtier than Toilet Seats

Published on Tue, Apr 28, 2020

By: Collin Morgan

Steering wheels can be FOUR TIMES dirtier than your porcelain throne. Here’s a guide on how to clean your car’s interior, especially in times like these.

When you go for a drive, there are a few things that are touched every time you get in a car. These include door handles, your seatbelt (hopefully), the steering wheel, and others. The grubbiest of these is the steering wheel. Your hands, wherever they’ve been, are in contact with this essential device from the start of a drive to the end. In the days of COVID-19, disinfecting and cleaning heavily used surfaces is even more important. But how do you clean your interior? Here’s a guide to minimize your risk of getting sick while driving.

The Numbers

According to a study by the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI), a car’s steering wheel has four times more bacteria than a toilet seat. The reason for this? Toilets are a common cleaning chore, and the uniform porcelain surface is easy to disinfect. On the other hand, car interiors contain a multitude of different materials, ranging from leather to plastic. You can’t spray Clorox toilet cleaner on your dashboard. The NCBI study also found that only 32% of car owners regularly clean and sanitize their cars.

What To Use

The CDC recommends a minimum alcohol content of 70% when disinfecting surfaces to kill coronavirus. Disinfectant wipes or sprays work best but can take 10 minutes to actually disinfect. Use the wipes or sprays on highly used surfaces such as armrests, radio buttons, cupholders, electric window buttons, gear selector, turn signal, dashboard, infotainment and steering wheel. Avoid using harmful chemicals like hydrogen peroxide, bleach, or ammonia-based products which will damage your car’s interior.

The best product to use is isopropyl alcohol with at least 70% alcohol content. We found these Isopropyl Alcohol Wipes on Amazon that should do the trick. They’re considered safe for car interior use and shouldn’t damage electronic surfaces, plastic, or other area of the interior.

Microfiber Cloths

If disinfectants are difficult to find while you’re shopping, microfiber clothes are known to work as well. Helen Boehm Johnson, MD, physician and consultant in the infection prevention and control field, recommends using microfiber cloths to clean your vehicle. She says, “Their split fiber design creates a larger surface area for microbe removal. Plus, the net positive charge generated when they’re used attracts negatively-charged dirt and microorganisms.”

This Microfiber Cloth from Norwex is highly recommended, and uses water and silver in the cloth to safely remove the coronavirus from surfaces. Be careful when using on electronic surfaces as water and screens generally don’t mix. On anything else, the cloth is safe to disinfect with.

Be smart if you have to be out and about, reducing your contact with other surfaces will in-turn reduce risk in your own car. Eating food while in your car has shown to increase bacteria levels as well.

Stay healthy!

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