top of page

Can You Catch The Corona Virus From Your Car? >_<

Updated: Dec 2, 2020

We know you're probably all sick of hearing about the Corona Virus, so why not an over the top ridiculous headline just for laughs? But while you're here we will update you on some health facts to keep you safe during these times.

So how long can the new coronavirus stay active on surfaces, anyway? The real answer is, we don't actually know for sure just yet. But a new study found that the virus can remain in the air for up to 3 hours, on copper for up to 4 hours, on cardboard up to 24 hours and on plastic and stainless steel up to 2 to 3 days. This study was published in the preprint database medRxiv on Wednesday (March 11) and hasn't been peer-reviewed. (We will post an update as we get more information.)

Another study published in February in The Journal of Hospital Infection looked at previously published papers on human previous known coronaviruses to get a better idea of how long they can survive outside of the body.

Researchers find that if this new coronavirus resembles other human coronaviruses, such as similar conditions with SARS and MERS, it can stay on surfaces —  like metal, glass or plastic — for as long as nine days! This includes surfaces of your vehicles interior.

(Flu viruses can last on surfaces for only about 48 hours for reference.)

Many corona viruses were found to not remain active for as long at temperatures higher than 86 degrees Fahrenheit (30 degrees Celsius). This is where steam cleaning your vehicle can help blast away Corona Virus without leaving behind harsh chemicals, including the near impossible to reach vents.

If you don't have a steamer on hand, the writers of the February paper noted that these coronaviruses can be effectively wiped away by household disinfectants too. Look for disinfectants with 62-71% ethanol, 0.5% hydrogen peroxide or 0.1% sodium hypochlorite (bleach) to "efficiently" inactivate coronaviruses within a minute. Be mindful of special surfaces and cleaning carefully around the electronics.


It's What You Don't See

A Reuters report on germs inside cars tells us that even if you're that car enthusiast that doesn't allow food anywhere near the interior, you're not free of bacteria. Microbiologists at Aston University in Birmingham, England, found an average of 356 germs per square centimeter on the shifter alone.

Down And Dirty

Okay, so you're like many who has a bite or two in the car. Apparently one in four people does it at least once a week. 16% have the unfortunate experience of spreading the bacteria by spillage. By the time you've gotten out of the drive thru it's already gone from your shifter, to your food, to the turn signal and the wheel. Anthony Hilton, a director of Biology and Biomedical Science at Aston University, says most of the bacteria found in a car isn’t enough to cause significant health problems, but that’s assuming only you are driving. The risk goes up with pets and kids. Researchers found traces of fecal matter all over the family mini vans or trunks where dirty diapers are stored. The trunk is usually where we put our groceries isn't it?

Now let's consider that half of drivers have trash on the floorboards, the bad news there is that you may not just have bacteria on the rise but also fungi. All this is being circulated through the ventilation of your air-conditioning and heating system. After three years you spent in traffic you've encountered way more germs than you would find on the average toilet seat. Allergy associations recommend steam as the best way to kill allergens and dust mites. The high pressure and heat produced by steam cleaners effectively dislodge dirt, dust and pathogens in the ventilation system with a quick burst of steam through each vent.

Uber drivers and busy parents have a good detailer on speed dial for the ultimate germ busting on car interiors, steam. The benefits of steam cleaning mean more stain lifting but also sanitizing of car interiors. Steam can quickly kill 99.99% of germs and bacteria, making it a safe, healthy, eco-friendly, all-natural way to clean with no need for harsh chemicals to remove stains as the steam does the work.  Some of the toughest stains like dye from clothing seemingly trapped in leather or oil from your shoes might finally be lifted with the use of steam. Steam penetrates deep into fabric and upholstery, not just on the surface. Can be useful to clean the upholstery in hard-to-reach places but also can be used to clean all kinds of surfaces safely, including the electronics.

So break out the steamer or call your local friendly detailer!

TREADLYFE wishes you safe and happy driving.

Bay Area Services:

TREADLYFE Detailing has an arsenal against the backseat bacteria and the stain lifting magic of steam, available on mobile details too! We can visit your home or office for regularly scheduled cleaning or in an emergency. Check out our full list of services including interior coatings to protect the surfaces inside.

We thank our buddy Richard for allowing us to feature his GTR with custom Ferrari interior for this special steaming project.

108 views0 comments


bottom of page