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    Tips on how to keep your car germ free

    With domestic hygiene high on the agenda right now, it’s important to remember it’s not just your house that needs scrupulous cleaning, as your car is one of the most tactile items you’ll own, with multiple surfaces that need special attention too

    Although this article has been published by Toyota GB and features Toyota vehicles, the principles of keeping any car germ free are the similar and can be applied across a wide range of vehicles.

    During an average trip the driver and passengers are likely to be touching many surfaces that can attract dirt and germs, from opening the door to changing gear, or from adjusting the heating fan to switching the lights on.

    Ben Murphy, Toyota’s professional car detailer is responsible for keeping Toyota GB’s fleet of press vehicles cleaned and professionally maintained. On average, Ben cleans about 30 cars per week but in busy times this number can rise to 46. As well as ensuring high standards of vehicle hygiene, Ben has to bear in mind that meticulous car reviewers expect every vehicle they assess to look and feel as good as new.

    In a new short film from Toyota (Toyota tips on keeping the car germ free) Ben demonstrates 40 potential touch points around the car that need specific cleaning attention, using a RAV4 as an example.


    “I try to be as efficient as possible,” 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.”


    Ben also has to think about other points that might get touched less frequently, such as the dust caps, the bonnet and then things like the head rests. He has a check sheet which he goes through on every vehicle to make sure he hasn’t missed any part of the vehicle before it leaves the press fleet garage.

    The seatbelt is a key area. 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. Also, the belt sits across you, so if you were to cough or sneeze there’s a very good chance germs get on the seatbelt or the steering wheel.

    Keep your car germ free: which products to use

    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.

    Ben says: “They’re inexpensive and kill 99.9% 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.’

    Now wash your hands!

     “Every time I remove my gloves I always give my hands a good wash,” says Ben. “I wear gloves during my working day and advise people to wear gloves if they are in a vehicle such as a rental car or a taxi. You don’t know which areas of the car the previous occupants have touched and germs can stay on a spot for 72 hours. If kids are travel in your car then there’s every chance they’ve been wiping their hands on windows – we’ve all done it as children, drawing faces on the window!”


    40 areas of the car to clean

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

    Original article source:  Toyota Media https://media.toyota.co.uk/2020/03/toyota-tips-on-how-to-keep-your-car-germ-free/  (25/03/20)

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