This should help you feel more confident about buying a classic car during the outbreak.


These days we’re all keenly aware of the potential dangers the novel coronavirus or COVID-19 pose. Directions on how to properly wash your hands and social distance from others are everywhere, but what about keeping your car clean? Most of the disinfection cleaning methods recommended for household surfaces would seriously damage classic cars and even modern collectibles, but that doesn’t mean you need to just hope for the best when it comes to keeping your ride virus-free.

Whether you’re looking to disinfect a car you just purchased through a dealer or auction, or you want to give your everyday ride a good cleaning, it’s key to hit the high-touch surfaces. That goes for a 1969 Chevrolet Corvette or your 2019 Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat. High-touch surfaces include the door handles, armrests, controls, steering wheel, grab handles, signal/light stalks, shifter, cupholders, sun visors, seat controls, and touchscreen.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) you need to use alcohol solutions with at least 70 percent alcohol content to kill the coronavirus on surfaces. You could check the alcohol content of cleaners you already have and use, but chances are they’re too low.

Bleach and ammonia-based cleaners might be too harsh for various interior surfaces. They could damage your trim or leave it discolored, so beware before trying that out. Also, ammonia will strip away window tint and any anti-glare, anti-smudge coating on displays.

Consumer Reports says cleaning your car interior using isopropyl alcohol is a good alternative to your regular cleaners. It shouldn’t damage some surfaces, although it’s not recommended for use on leather or wood. In fact, after you clean either one, you should condition it to prevent drying or other damage. It’s always a good idea to try out any new cleaner on a hidden part of each material first, just in case.

If you’re not too hot on the idea of using rubbing alcohol to clean your car, or you’re having trouble finding any in these shelf-clearing times, good old fashioned friction can also do the trick. This is why the CDC counsels scrubbing your hands with soap for 20 seconds, since the friction can damage the protection envelope around a coronavirus, eliminating the threat. You can use the same principle with your car’s interior, but don’t rub so hard you damage any surfaces. The risk is especially real with cracking leather, painted plastic, and so on.

Whatever you end up using as a cleaner, many professional car detailers suggest applying it with microfiber towels. Many of us do that already, thanks to microfiber having a stellar reputation for getting things clean without scratching surfaces or leaving lint behind.

Finally, when you’ve finished cleaning your car, it’s time to wash your hands thoroughly. Yes, that’s common sense, but we all can use the extra reminder these days. Plus, as you keep your hands clean, your car interior will stay cleaner, and that’s a win-win. Hopefully this gives you the confidence to keep buying cars at auction (like our online options) since you know how to clean your newly-acquired ride properly upon delivery.

Source: Consumer Reports

Image credit: General Motors

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