AAMCO Centers of Southern California


AAMCO Centers of Southern California

Time for a Deep Clean? Tips & Tricks for Cleaning & Disinfecting Your Vehicle

To keep your vehicle clean for yourself and others, here are some tips and tricks to consider adding to your cleaning routine.

AAMCO Socal  | 05/07/2020  | Car Comfort & Safety Tips

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Time for a Deep Clean? Tips & Tricks for Cleaning & Disinfecting Your Vehicle

The emergence of COVID-19 has led many around the country and the world to take their health and hygiene more seriously. From handwashing to home cleaning, the reality of infection from this still-mysterious virus has led many to reevaluate their disinfection practices at their homes and businesses.

Even in times without a global health crisis, the need to keep your most commonly used possessions clean and disinfected should be a priority. This is especially true of your vehicle. As a location where most spend a good deal of time every single day, a vehicle can quickly become a haven for germs and viruses. To keep your vehicle clean for yourself and others, here are some tips and tricks to consider adding to your cleaning routine.

What You Will Need

Wondering what you need to really get your vehicle good and clean? Here is a shortlist of the items you should add to your vehicle-cleaning toolkit:

  • Vacuum cleaner
  • Bucket of warm water
  • Microfiber cloths 
  • Rags 
  • Soft-bristled brush
  • Cotton balls
  • Disposable gloves
  • Disinfectants and disinfectant wipes
  • Apron and goggles (if possible)

While this is not an exhaustive list, these items are easily obtained and should get you started in keeping a cleaning process. Depending on preference, you may wish to research other soap formulas to create an organic and environmentally friendly washing solution. A great method is to call your local automotive repair or parts store and get their input on the best soap solution for your vehicle.

What You WON’T Need

While having the right tools is vital, there are several items that should not be used when cleaning your vehicle for your health as well as to protect the vehicle.

Avoid using any type of bleach or hydrogen peroxide on the inside of your vehicle, as they can irreparably damage the interior vinyl and plastic. Also, avoid ammonia-based cleaning products. Ammonia will quickly damage the vinyl areas and make them sticky when heat and light interact with the material. These products can also damage touch-screens and other surfaces in your vehicle that require touch-activation or need to be glare-free.

A Basic Vehicle Interior Cleaning Routine

Once you have your tools and are ready to begin cleaning, it can help to have a step-by-step process by which you clean your vehicle efficiently and effectively. Here is a list of cleaning methods to keep your vehicle safe and clean each time you travel:

Vacuum From Top To Bottom

Before you begin to wipe down or use soap on surfaces, it is essential to take care of all debris and dust in the vehicle. Using the vacuum, start at the top surfaces of the vehicle and work your way down. Vacuum the headliner, dash, console, and door panels. Clean all of all the glass and dust the nooks and crannies. Move your seats to the extent they will move in both directions and vacuum debris out of the cracks. Follow up with a detailing brush in the small areas that the vacuum cannot reach.

Wash The Inside of The Windows

After vacuuming, move to the windows and other glass surfaces in the vehicle. Using the soap solution of your choice, gently wash each surface and wipe off with a microfiber cloth to avoid scratching. Once you clean the windows, you may follow up with disinfectant wipes.

Wash and Wipe Down All Surfaces

Next is the full wash of the interior. Make sure to use only the approved cleaning solutions on the specific fabric you have in your vehicle. Fabric cleans much differently than leather, and improper use of water and cleaning solution can lead to mildew and other damage. Follow the guidelines for your vehicle’s make and model, and make sure to wash every surface in the vehicle — from the steering wheel and dashboard to the seats and floorboards. Follow the same order you vacuumed in order to stay consistent. Once you finish, use disinfectant wipes or spray to disinfect the surfaces after they have been washed and dried.

Use Disinfectant Spray To Clean The Air

An optional step is to use a disinfectant spray across the entire vehicle once the cleaning is complete. Once sprayed, allow for the air conditioning fans to circulate the spray throughout the vehicle, cleaning the vents and leaving a pleasant smell in the vehicle. Make a note of the spray you use, and never spray anything directly into the air intake vents of your vehicle. Allow the natural movement of air to disperse the disinfectant.

Add Car Cleaning To Your Care Routine

As part of our attempts to keep one another safe during the COVID-19 pandemic, each of us has a responsibility to follow CDC and WHO guidelines for proper infection prevention and social distancing. By adding the washing of your vehicle to this routine, you can ensure that you, your family, and anyone who may travel with you are kept safe from both the novel coronavirus and any other germs or viruses that may be present in a vehicle. This act of caring goes hand in hand with the many different ways we can keep one another safe during this time.


AAMCO has more than 50 years of experience servicing and repairing transmissions and has worked on more than 20 million vehicles. Customers rely on us for:

  • Quality workmanship
  • Superior service
  • Best warranty coverage available
  • Trustworthy, honest service

AAMCO Centers of Southern California and surrounding areas represent trust, quality, and value. Call us today!

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