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It’s important to disinfect cars during the COVID-19 pandemic.
But don't use hand sanitzer to wipe down surfaces.
That’s because anything alcohol-based will damage the leather interior – and that includes alcohol on your hands from hand sanitizers, Jason Kuriger, owner and operator of Milex Complete Auto Care in Crest Hill, said.
Kuriger said many of his customers are hospital employees and first responders. He’s seen the damage to leather-wrapped steering wheels.
“As much as we want to be cautious and clean, we also want to be sure customers aren’t using the wrong products to wipe down their cars,” Kuriger said.
Kuriger recommends diluting liquid dish detergent in water and keeping it in a spray bottle inside the car.
Places he feels are good to disinfect include steering wheel, door handles, seat belts and buckles, keys and fobs, window button, radio and climate control buttons and any area drivers and passengers touch.
People tend to cough or sneeze directly ahead of them, Kuriger said. In the front seat of a car, “directly ahead” is the steering wheel and dashboard, he added.
But even if people cover their sneezes and coughs, when they leave their car, they touch items that also bring germs back into the car.
The handle of the gas pump, for instance.
“Who washes their hands after touching the gas pump handle?” Kuriger said.
The door handle of the bank. The pen at the bank counter.
“Many of those [pens] are not wiped down,” Kuriger said.
And then when people return to their vehicles, they transfer those germs to their door handle, steering wheel, etc.
“How many people wash their hands when they get in and out of the car?” Kuriger said. “It's something we overlook every day.”
Milex Complete Auto Care has an average of 20 customers a day, Kuriger said. During that time, approximately one to three people will touch each customer’s car.
This includes moving the vehicle in and out of the shop, taking it for a road test and parking the car when it’s ready for pickup, Kuriger said.
So in addition to offering pickup and drop-off service for customers to minimize interaction with employees, Kuriger said employees are also disinfecting the cars each time they handle it.
“We’re all just doing our part to make it right,” Kuriger said.
He said people tend to be comfortable in their habits. But if COVID-19 has taught people anything, it’s to be conscious of their environment and conscious of those around them.
“And the impact you make on those around you,” Kuriger added.