We are all washing our hands more than ever and disinfecting surfaces at home. You might be surprised to find that the one spot you likely forgot has 4X more germs than a public toilet seat and 6 X dirtier than your smartphone (you are cleaning your phones, right?!) Whether you are worried or not about Coronavirus COVID-19, you still need to sanitize against the flu, colds, other illness, and bacteria!
I’ve been cleaning all surfaces in my home as well as doorknobs, light switches, railings, faucets, cabinet handles, and more since the beginning of flu season. I’m even more obsessed now. My kids have Type One Diabetes, so the fear everyone has of contracting COVID-19 is the fear we live with every single flu season – only even more so this year with Coronavirus on top of it! As soon as my family gets home from anywhere, we wash our hands.
However, the one spot you might forget to sanitize is one of the germiest. We pick up germs in public places and deposit them on our keys, door handles, and steering wheel….Are you disinfecting your car??
Your car is the one hot spot that you may overlook and it is important to be proactive as we travel through more and more geographic areas that are affecting by a community spread of coronavirus, not to mention the flu.
So, what is the one spot that has 4X more germs than a public toilet? Your steering wheel! Yikes!
Clean it every time you get into your car. With 40 million people filling up their gas tanks on a daily basis, you should think twice about handling the gas pump handle unprotected too, they are highly contaminated with microbes associated with illness, disease, and yes, COVID-19. The gas pump handle has 11,000 X more bacterial than your home’s toilet seat! I never thought of this before, don’t know why! Now, I am using a disinfectant wipe every time I fill up at the gas tank.
Tara LaMonte, MS, associate director of KidsAndCars.org 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.”
COVID-19 Vehicle-Related Protective Measures from KidsAndCars.org:
Sanitize frequently touched surfaces inside and outside your vehicle including;
· Car keys & fobs
· Door handles
· Steering wheels
· Gear shift
· Radio, GPS & other buttons & dials
· Seat belts, car seats
· Cell phones
· Purses or diaper bags
· Travel cups/holders
Surfaces that are dirty (all of them) should be cleaned using soap & water prior to sanitation. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) provides a list of effective disinfecting products, but most common household disinfectants should be effective.
Use a disinfecting wipe or a disposable tissue when touching surfaces such as;
· Gas Pumps & key pads
· Public charging stations
· Parking meters
· Toll booths
· Drive through ATMS & other touch screens
· Pens at drive-throughs at banks, pharmacies, etc.
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, arm rests, etc.
· Use hand sanitizer with at least 70 percent alcohol
· Wash hands with soap and water for 20 seconds as soon as possible after exiting any form of transportation