What do we do to keep the interior of your vehicle bacteria-free?
First, let’s start off by explaining what bacteria is and what a virus is. What is the difference between the two and what can we do to defend against both? We’ll also get into the differences between cleaning, sanitizing, and disinfecting.
bacteria (plural noun)
- a member of a large group of unicellular microorganisms which have cell walls but lack organelles and an organized nucleus, including some that can cause disease.
- an infective agent that typically consists of a nucleic acid molecule in a protein coat, is too small to be seen by light microscopy, and is able to multiply only within the living cells of a host.
So, what in the world does that even mean and why should you care? Well, simply said to the best of my ability with my public-school diploma, the difference between Bacteria and a Virus is that viruses must have a living host like a plant, animal, or human to effectively multiply, while most bacteria can grow on non-living surfaces. With that being said we want to kill the lingering bacteria in your car. How do we do that? Well, we don’t necessarily want to do what my Bohemian Grandmother did, and tighten her babushka, grab 10 gallons of vinegar, and clean the inside of the house every 5 seconds so I, and my clothes could smell like that vinegary sweaty foot odor (the ladies still loved me). We want to Clean, Sanitize, and hopefully Disinfect.
Cleaning is technically just wiping away dirt and debris, and not necessarily killing or removing bacteria. Sanitizing will kill some bacteria, while Disinfecting will kill most bacteria. We also have Sterilization which kills or inactivates all bacteria.
We also want to keep in mind what surfaces we are trying to keep bacteria free. Most supercars have surfaces that are porous, while “mass production vehicles” have more non-porous interior surfaces. Let’s stick to the topic of supercars with porous interior surfaces. Now while my Grandmother’s vinegar method would help since vinegar is typically 90% effective at killing bacteria, depending on dwell time, vinegar is also acidic and could cause staining in some circumstances. This is why we go about cleaning your interior with a few other safe procedures so that the integrity of the surfaces is not compromised.
There are some areas in your vehicle that we consider major “touch points” that we focus more time on. Those areas are your door handles, steering wheel, buttons, touch screens, seat belts and seat belt connectors, sides of seats you put your hands on when you go to sit in or get out of your vehicle, and most importantly, the foot pedals.
A few steps we can take to limit the number of bacteria in your vehicle:
- Glove Up / Mask on
- Remove all papers and personal items from the vehicle
- Vacuum the interior
- Wipe down all interior surfaces with an automotive interior cleaner that is safe for alcantara, carbon fiber, leather and fabrics.
- Wipe down all interior glass with an isopropyl/water dilution
- Run our Ozone Air Purifier Machine for 30 minutes in a closed vehicle
- Steam clean some interior surfaces and vents
- Clean glass with non-ammonia glass cleaner
- Wipe down interior surfaces one more time with a safe interior cleaner for all surfaces
- Vacuum again while using a specific soft haired detail brush to remove any debris from tight areas. Also use small Q-tips to get into tight areas with debris build up. Wipe down again if needed.
- Place all personal items in a plastic zip lock bag and return to the vehicle
- Wipe down key fab with Grandma’s special vinegar/water dilution or interior cleaner.
Finally, I would love to say that the above steps kill all bacteria, but the truth is we can’t be overly aggressive with chemicals that claim to disinfect and use those on a variety of delicate surfaces in your vehicle. However, I will say that the processes we take are the best methods to keeping your car bacteria free. Just like they say to wash your hands often, you should get your vehicle cleaned often to help limit bacteria.
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*Cover my ass disclaimer: I’m not a real Doctor, even though I self proclaim to be Dr. Detail, however I do know a lot about detailing. If you need open heart surgery visit a certified heart Doctor, if you need detailing visit me. If you would like more tips on cleaning, sanitizing, disinfecting visit https://www.epa.gov/.