You should know what’s at stake by now. If you don’t yet, let me tell you it’s utterly stark. Department of Health (DOH) Undersecretary, Maria Rosario Vergeire, says that based of several modelling forecasts, if we don’t follow strict social distancing measures, we’d hit 70,000 to 75,000 cases of COVID-19 infection in just THREE MONTHS. That means the mandate to stop this virus falls on each of us now. Clean and disinfect everything that you or others have touched (because you may be an asymptomatic carrier).
While 70% isopropyl alcohol, soap, and even alcogels are plain and easy to use, on the body, keys, watches, pens, doorknobs, you name it, the problem comes with the realization that you can’t use most of these on your car’s cabin and upholstery without damaging it slightly and/or permanently.
If you’re thinking of just washing the interior with body soap, “No… soap will work on our skin but it will just spread it (the virus) around,” said Jason T Lei Yee of Aegis Detailing, a US-trained master detailer and one of the country’s foremost experts on the topic.
Make your own disinfectant
First thing you’ll need is a mild disinfectant like 70% isopropyl alcohol mixed with water at a 50/50 (1:1) ratio. Put the mixture in a spray bottle and get a clean cloth. If you want a visual guide, there are several videos on YouTube about how to DIY a mild disinfectant.
Why not spray pure 70% isopropyl alcohol? It’s too strong a substance. It will dry out and whiten cabin appointments, which will cause them to crack and blister before too long.
Do it yourself
Just to be on the safe side, wear a respirator or a face mask before you start spraying and wiping down the interior, section by section. Important parts to focus on are the following: interior door pull handle; seat belt and buckle; Start button (if applicable); rear view mirror; aircon vents; gear shifter; turn signal stalk and stalk for the windshield wiper; center stack knobs, buttons and screen; and hand brake release (basically, everything you touch). Put extra focus on the steering wheel as research showed it has more germs than a toilet seat.
Now, it’s time to vacuum-clean. Before you do, get your wife’s stockings (buy one if you’re single but good luck explaining to the cashier). Wrap it on top of the filter of the vacuum as an added layer. That machine sucks dirt but spits the air back out. Since the virus could be airborne, the stockings create a trap to keep it there instead of in the air.
Next is to smoke out the virus. Get a portable steamer (like the ones you use to steam press your clothes) and wrap the head with a microfiber towel. Turn it on and begin steaming all surfaces. You can do up to two passes on fabric upholstery. Keep it very curt on leather surfaces and the headliner because prolonged exposure to heat will damage these.
Finally, use that water-alcohol combo you made (if you used it all up, make just a little more) and spray it on the clean microfiber towel you used on the steamer and wipe down the entire cabin.
Ladies and gents, that’s how you make sure your cabin is COVID-19 free.
Leave this to professionals
While there’s no evidence that the virus can spread through air-conditioning systems, it’s better to be safe than sorry. Air conditioning systems are better serviced by professionals because of the installation’s complexity. They’ll use chemical disinfectants and some equipment as well. If you know one that’s open, keep this in mind while you’re bringing it there. The Australian Government’s Department of Health recommends that you set it to fresh air or turn off recirculation so you don’t keep inhaling the dirty air inside.
“Mind you that this will not completely disinfect but help lessen further contamination,” adds Yee. Understandable since you’re only using 70% isopropyl alcohol mixed with water.
If you want hospital-grade cleaning and disinfection you can contact Jason at 09177079526 or visit their site at www.aegisdetailingph.com to secure an advanced appointment. Unfortuantely, their shops (one at 1232 United Nations Ave., Paco, Manila and the other at Manila Doctors Village Drive, Las Pinas) are closed due to the quarantine.
Whether you DIY or get a pro to do it, what’s important is you’re proactive because that’s the only way to make sure you don’t get it and you don’t spread it.
By Eric Tipan