A person cleans their car window

Oregon, just like the rest of the United States, has been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. For many, it’s interrupted their lives, kept them from living life as usual, and has even had an impact on their driving habits. There’s an estimated 20% decline in the number of cars on the road nationwide, as people think about which trips are essential, and which are just for fun. 

As your driving habits change, so should your cleaning habits. As both the CDC and WHO have reported, one of the simplest ways to keep yourself healthy and safe during this challenging period is to just wash your hands with soap and water for 20 seconds. While it’s easy to keep our hands clean throughout the day, the same can’t always be said about your car. Here at Pacific Driver Education, we’re all about traveling safely throughout Gresham and the rest of Oregon. Right now, part of that safety means keeping your car clean, so here are few easy ways you can keep your car spic and span, and more importantly, sanitized.

Start Your Cleaning Inside

Bear with us here, but before you start to wipe down your car, make sure you’ve wiped down some of your most frequently touched surfaces and objects in your home. You can use diluted bleach, cleaning sprays, or rubbing alcohol. We recommend wiping down surfaces like doors, knobs, counters, and even your keys. You touch all of these surfaces on the way to your car each day. 

Once you’ve cleaned these surfaces, you can start working on your car!

Pick the Right Cleaner for the Job

Your car is made from a variety of materials, and just like different surfaces in your home, you don’t use the same cleaning supplies for every material. For instance, you don’t use toilet bowl cleaner on your carpet, so you probably wouldn’t want to use bleach on that nice leather interior. So what should you use to clean your car? 

Isopropyl alcohol does a great job of removing stains, smudges, residue, and other substances of unknown origin. It’s also a great disinfectant, killing most bacteria and viruses. You can feel good about using isopropyl alcohol on your steering wheel, dashboard, windows, and any plastic components. However, you should not use it on your leather trim, as it can damage the dye and dry out the leather itself. For any leather items, you’ll want to use a leather cleaner specifically. For fabric covers, you can use a gentle solution of water and soap, but don’t saturate the seats.

Vacuuming is Essential

Just like in your home, keeping the floor of your car clean is essential for staying healthy. Your car collects dust, dirt, crumbs, and debris every time you step into your vehicle. We recommend taking out the car mats and washing those carefully with soap and water, and letting them dry in the sun. From there, vacuum the interior of your car, paying particular attention to places like your seats, armrests, and dividers. After all, as you get in and out of your car, you’ll leave dirt and debris on these surfaces, which may help to spread germs. 

Don’t Forget Your HVAC System

The research has found that COVID-19 spreads through aerosolized droplets from infected people coughing and sneezing. Your car’s HVAC is not unlike your lungs, as it circulates air throughout the vehicle. Cleaning your HVAC system is a great way to breathe a little easier while you’re driving. You can top off your AC coolant, and remove and clean the cabin filter. Give it a quick spray of a disinfectant before you put it back in place. If you can’t do this easily, any trusted mechanic can do this quickly for you.

Keeping Your Car Clean

Once you’ve cleaned the interior of your car, take it through a car wash to leave the exterior looking its best. From there, it’s up to you to keep your car clean. We recommend taking the time to wash your hands carefully before getting in your car, and wiping down high-use surfaces like the steering wheel, door handles, and dashboard after you use your car to run any essential errands.

Drive Safely With Our Driving School

We’re looking forward to working with you as the restrictions around the pandemic begin to lift. Until then, you can continue to travel safely by driving at off-hours and only making essential trips. You can also take a look at our selection of driving classes to improve your skills later on! Contact us today to find out more about our driving school in Gresham.