The 40 parts of your car to clean to kill germs


The 40 parts of your car harbouring the most germs: Toyota details which areas need to be cleaned during the coronavirus pandemic

  • Motorists need to pay particular attention to 40 areas of their car if they use it
  • Toyota UK’s professional vehicle detailer gives his top tips for what to do
  • Seatbelts identified as one area where germs breed, as they are commonly coughed and sneezed on and then touched by drivers and passengers
  • Car cleaning expert explains which products to use (if you can find them) 
  • Coronavirus symptoms: what are they and should you see a doctor?

With the spread of coronavirus restricting most Britons to home, it’s become essential for people to keep their houses scrupulously clean.

However, the same level of attention also needs to be paid to your car if you intend to use it for unavoidable travel requirements. 

There are multiple surfaces in vehicles that need special attention – 40 in fact, according to Toyota…

The 40 car parts to clean: Toyota UK has listed the areas of a vehicle likely to be harbouring germs as motorists are told to wipe down motors if they’re uses during the Covid-19 pandemic

The Japanese manufacturer says an average trip in a car results in a driver and passengers touching many parts of the vehicle that can attract dirt and germs.

This ranges from opening the door, to changing gear, or from adjusting the heating fan to switching the lights on.

Ben Murphy is Toyota’s professional car detailer, responsible for keeping the UK fleet of press vehicles cleaned and professionally maintained. 

On average, Ben cleans around 30 cars per week but in busy times this number can rise to 46. 

He says there are 40 critical areas of a car to pay special attention to in order to keep it germ free.  

40 car areas to pay attention to

Toyota has put together the following list of 40 areas of the car that should be cleaned to kill germs.

For simplicity the seatbelts are counted as one item and if you carry others in your car, you might have to spend a little longer ensuring each of your passengers can enjoy a factory-fresh ride next time they get into your car.

1. Exterior door handles

2. Frame of door and roof

3. Interior door release

4. Window switches

5. Interior door handle

6. Door pocket

7. Seatbelts

8. Seatbelt clips

9. Seat adjust buttons

10. Steering wheel

11. Horn button

12. Control stalks

13. Driver air vents

14. Dashboard

15. Power button

16. Gear shift

17. Multimedia screen

18. Central air vents

19. Heating controls

20. Glovebox

21. Log book

22. Central storage compartment

23. Cupholders

24. Rear-view mirror

25. Interior lights

26. Grab handle

27. Key

28. Head rests

29. Seat pockets

30. Rear central tab

31. Fuel cap

32. Wheel valves

33. Boot lid

34. Parcel shelf

35. Boot floor tab

36. Boot close button

37. Bonnet lid

38. Washer cap

39. Dipstick

40. Oil cap

Ben explains: ‘Our cars return to our press fleet garage from all over the country and I have to think – where have people touched? 

‘For example, a driver will probably approach the car with the key in their hand and pull on the door handle. 

‘Then there’s the steering wheel and horn, the gearstick and surprisingly the rear-view mirror, because most people adjust the rear-view mirror when they get in the car. 

‘The interior of the driver’s door is a common touch point, especially on our press fleet cars which are driven by many different people. Think about all the people who get in the car and use the controls to put the window down a bit.’

Parts of the car that have to be touched by the driver - such as the steering wheel and gear shifter - should be wiped clean before and after use

Parts of the car that have to be touched by the driver – such as the steering wheel and gear shifter – should be wiped clean before and after use

It's not just the driver who might have adjusted settings for the radio and infotainment in the car, so make sure the control buttons  are all wiped clean

It’s not just the driver who might have adjusted settings for the radio and infotainment in the car, so make sure the control buttons  are all wiped clean

Also on Toyota's list of 40 areas to pay attention to is the boot lid, which users will have to touch to access the load space

Also on Toyota’s list of 40 areas to pay attention to is the boot lid, which users will have to touch to access the load space

Seatbelts harbour germs 

Which products to use 

Ben Murphy, Toyota UK professional vehicle detailer

Ben Murphy, Toyota UK professional vehicle detailer

Although Ben uses commercial products made specifically to clean cars without damaging leather or interior materials, bleach-free antibacterial wipes are the next best thing – granted you can find them amidst the panic buying.

He said: ‘They’re inexpensive and kill 99.9 per cent  of germs, so they’re as safe and inexpensive as you can get without going out and buying a really strong cleaner. 

‘With a pack of wipes, a pair of gloves and a dry microfibre cloth, you can give most of the touch points a clean. 

‘Don’t just give each area a quick wipe; make sure you wipe it at least twice in a forwards and backwards motion so you’ve cleaned it completely.’

The seatbelt is also a key area that vehicle owners should pay particular attention to during the coronavirus pandemic. 

Everyone has to wear one when they get into the car, and the number of times you adjust that seatbelt depends on the size of the person in the car, so there could be two to three touch points just on the seatbelt itself. 

And because the belt sits across you, if you were to cough or sneeze there’s a very good chance germs get on the seatbelt or the steering wheel. 

Ben adds that it is also important to think about other elements of a vehicle that might get touched less frequently but still retain germs.

This includes the dust caps, the bonnet and then things like the head rests. 

He also warns that the rear side windows are worth wiping clean, as children tend to rub their hands or use their fingers to draw faces on them.

Ben explained that he uses gloves when he’s detailing vehicles, but says it is also good practice if you’re in a taxi or use a rental car.

‘You don’t know which areas of the car the previous occupants have touched and germs can stay on a spot for 72 hours.  

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