Clean & Sanitize Your Vehicle to Prevent COVID-19

(UNDATED) – As the country continues to battle the spread of COVID-19,’s ‘Childproof Your Ride’ program is urging drivers to clean and sanitize their vehicles as they do their home to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

There is an abundance of information about general hygiene, but more guidance is needed to educate the public about how this nasty virus can be spread inside vehicles. Careful attention needs to be paid to your car if you use it for unavoidable errands or to go to work.

Germs picked up in public places are deposited on your keys, door handles and steering wheel, just to name a few.

“ is deeply concerned about these often overlooked ‘hot spots’ and wants to bring immediate attention to proactive measures Americans can take to prevent the spread of COVID-19,” warns Janette Fennell, president of

The dirtiest surface in your vehicle is your steering wheel. Steering wheels have four times more germs than a public restroom’s toilet seat.

Tara LaMonte, MS, associate director of emphasized, “This creates a breeding ground for bacteria and viruses to thrive including COVID-19. Cleaning and sanitizing our vehicles should become a regular practice to protect our families, especially during cold and flu season.”

  • The best defense for preventing the spread of COVID-19 is to stay at home and practice social distancing whenever possible. However, if you have to leave home, please be sure to heed the following safety tips to protect yourself and your family.
  • Do not ride inside a vehicle with someone who has or suspects they may have COVID-19. The virus can be spread by sharing air space or touching surfaces an infected person has come in contact with. The Journal of Hospital Infection reports that the virus can stay on surfaces found in cars for days.
  • Wearing disposable gloves, use soapy water to clean vehicle surfaces prior to wiping down surfaces with a disinfectantThis removes grease and dirt allowing you to effectively sanitize.
  • Clean and sanitize your vehicle after every trip. That way if you need to use your vehicle in case of an emergency, it will be ready to go.

Top 12 frequently touched vehicle surfaces to pay special attention to:

  • Car keys & fobs
  • Exterior and interior door handles
  • Steering wheel
  • Power ignition button, window switches, radio, GPS, other buttons & dials
  • Gear shift
  • Seat belts & seat belt buckles
  • Car seats & booster seats
  • Air vents
  • Cup holders
  • Grab handles
  • Headrests
  • Seat pockets

Keep sanitizing wipes/cleaner in your vehicle to regularly clean vehicle surfaces and use while running essential errands, like buying groceries or prescriptions.

Always wash your hands for at least 20 seconds (or use hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol) before you drive or ride in a vehicle.

Ensure all passengers do the same and help children wash their hands properly.

Use a disinfecting wipe when touching surfaces such as:

  • Gas pumps & keypads
  • Vehicle fuel door & cap
  • Parking meters & tollbooths
  • Drive through ATMS & other touch screens

Keep a pen in your vehicle to use at banks, pharmacies, etc. or sanitize the “community pen” if you must use it.

Use a disinfecting wipe when touching surfaces such as;
Using rideshares, taxis, trains or public buses

  • Avoid using rideshares or public transportation if alternatives are available
  • Avoid touching as many surfaces as possible & keep your hands off your face
  • Opt for using credit or debit cards instead of cash (money harbors many germs)
  • Sit as far away from other passengers as possible
  • Bring sanitizing wipes and wipe down seat belts, door handles, armrests, etc.
  • Use hand sanitizer with at least 60 percent alcohol
  • Wash hands with soap and water for 20 seconds as soon as possible after exiting any form of transportation
  • The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) provides a list of effective disinfecting products, but most household disinfectants should be effective.

Never leave children alone in your vehicle:

When doing essential errands, leave children at home supervised by a responsible adult whenever possible to avoid unnecessary exposure to COVID-19. If you have to bring your children with you, NEVER leave them alone inside your vehicle. It is never safe for a child to be unattended inside a vehicle for any amount of time. Cars are stolen every week with unattended children inside and there are many other ways that children are injured or killed when left alone in vehicles for just a few minutes. (learn more here)

Direct link to tips:’s ‘Childproof Your Ride’ program helps educate families on the many dangers children face both inside and outside vehicles and provides proactive tips for families to stay safe. The program informs families about safety features they may not know exist on their current vehicle and advice about aftermarket products they can add to enhance the safety of their vehicle.

Prevention is the key to keeping our families safe. No amount of preparedness ever goes to waste. encourages parents and educators to visit the “Childproof Your Ride” website for specific information on how to protect children in and around vehicles and the CDC website for advice and the most recent updates and information about the coronavirus.