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Guide to Sanitizing Your Car During the COVID-19 Crisis

4 May 2020

While much of the world is currently locked down in an effort to suppress the spread of COVID-19, a significant number of us still have to use our cars daily. With this in mind, we thought it would be a good idea to provide you with a quick guide as to how you can safely sanitize your car and limit your exposure to the virus.


Knowing what cleaning substance to use

At Toyota, we make use of Ultra-Mist fumigation technology to sanitize every vehicle we work on. This has become an essential part of our aftersales services. While you may not have access to cleaning technology like this, several cleaning substances are useful in the fight against COVID-19. While soap and water are remarkably effective when used as part of your handwashing routine, they're not the most practical car disinfectant. Instead, you may want to consider one of the alternatives.

  • Isopropyl alcohol cleaners - Otherwise known as ‘rubbing alcohol,’ this is the cleaning substance that most people are going to have lying around the house and is your first choice disinfectant. It’s recommended that you use an isopropyl cleaner with a purity rating of around 70-90%.
  • Sodium Hypochlorite cleaners - Sodium Hypochlorite is better known as household bleach. While cleaners containing bleach are effective, they can be harsh on your car’s interior (be careful with leather car seats) - particularly if used several times over a relatively short period. Consequently, we’d recommend using it as a cleaner of last resort.

Whatever cleaner you use, make sure you read the label and wear appropriate protective equipment. If unsure whether a cleaner is suitable, first read the label. If still unsure, test the substance on a small patch of the material you’re cleaning.

Understanding where you should clean

The COVID-19 virus can survive on surfaces for a considerable amount of time and is spread when you come into contact with an infected surface and then touch your eyes, mouth or nose. Consequently, it’s a good idea to focus primarily on those areas that are most regularly touched by drivers and passengers. These include:

  • Key, keyring and ignition (or start button)
  • Door handles (inside, outside and on the trunk)
  • Rearview mirror
  • Vents
  • Handbrake
  • Gearstick
  • Control panels
  • Seat belts and buckles


Some areas of the vehicle can be challenging to reach. If you're particularly worried about the heating and air ventilation system, you can always check your car in for our aftersales Kleenair service. This fumigation-style process ensures your vehicle is deep cleaned and sterilized, leaving you with total peace of mind.

Cleaning the right way

How you clean is almost as important as what you use to clean. To ensure you’re going about things in the right way, follow our step guide below.

  1. Wash your hands with soap for at least 20 seconds.
  2. Remove any loose dirt, dust or crumbs from the car using a cloth, hoover or dustpan and brush.
  3. Carefully work over every touchpoint in the car, ensuring you take your time and that you clean meticulously. Some disinfectants need a little time to work their magic, so make sure you read the label for further information and leave the cleaner on the surface for an appropriate amount of time.

If you’re unable to achieve a satisfactory clean, you can always leave it to the Toyota professionals and book in for one of our aftersales services, such as an engine flush or our rustproofing and undercoating service. All cars in our showrooms and any vehicles we work on at our service centers are disinfected using state-of-the-art air purification and Ultra-Mist fumigation technologies. They will also be home delivered to ensure your continued safety.

At our showrooms and service centers, we’ve taken several additional steps to ensure the safety of our customers and staff. For instance, we are taking measures to ensure safety at all our business sites. These include frequent disinfection of all sites and display vehicles, accessible hand sanitizer stations for customers and strengthening of hygiene and cleaning controls and training.

If you’d like any more information about Toyota products and services or have an enquiry to make, please don’t hesitate to get in touch.