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2017 Outback Touring; 3.6R
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Discussion Starter #1
I tried searching the forums about this but came up empty.
What is the best disinfectant to use on our steering wheels, leather upholstery, dash, instrument, etc?
I know that some disinfectants may cause the leather to dry out a little, and I certainly do not want to injure the covering on the steering wheel. Yet our steering wheels are rumored to be as dirty as the standard toilet seat (just like our cellphones).

Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated!
 

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In my opinion unless you're sharing the car with others, for example, a rental vehicle, then disinfecting your steering wheel between uses would be unnecessary. A wipe down with a clean cloth and minimal detergents (like a drop of dish soap to a quart of water) would be safe and sufficient. It's not that different than washing your hands with soap and water.

I use Optimum No Rinse, diluted with distilled water, probably 1/2 ounce per quart to wipe all interior surfaces. It's not a detergent and not a disinfectant.

If this is a vehicle that unknown persons may have coughed on, and that sort of thing, then a lysol wipe or similar would probably be fine if used as directed. Steering wheels and leather upholstery have a plastic layer on them so what you're really cleaning is plastic even if there's leather under the plastic.

If you're really concerned you can always use disposable gloves as an additional precaution.

If this is about Covid-19 then just realize that it seems most infections are coming from person-to-person airborne spread instead of surfaces, so wearing a mask outside the house is more important than disinfecting surfaces.

Also consider that Covid-19 won't survive more than a couple days so even if you do nothing, just leaving the car alone for a few days will leave it with no active virus, even if it is soiled. If you're the only driver, then unless the virus came from you, it won't magically appear on surfaces that nobody else touched or coughed on, which is why cleaning surfaces within your own home isn't very effective, unless you've had outside visitors etc who may have brought in virus.

Even when bringing in groceries from the store it appears that nobody has gotten infected from their groceries, or their mail.

There are multiple videos and articles out there that all say basically the same thing - alcohol, disinfectant wipes, or just soap and water, no bleach, no peroxide. I saw a video where someone talked about using lysol spray but I would NOT recommend that.

Also, don't spray things in your car because it can end up on your subaru eyesight lenses. People cover the lenses before cleaning interiors for that reason.

 

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FWIW I make my own disinfecting wipes, since I can't find t he ready made anywhere. I pour some alcohol into a large refill pack of baby wipes, 2-3 oz., to dampen the wipes. The alc does not seem to harm anything.

Only my wife and I use our cars. We try to remember to put some disinf gel on our hands, from little bottles we carry with us, when coming back to the car after shopping and etc., no harm in being cautious :).

off topic, I took a car to state insp. a couple weeks ago and the insp. did not get inside at all. If my observations are correct he also did not plug into the OBD socket, and IIRC just looked for a CEL. I had to remain seated in car and work the lights and horn for him. Since the insp. operators are always compaining that they don't make enough from current fees, I won't be surprised to see a post-covid change that lowers the requirements and substuitutes the CEL check for an electronic plug in. Aside from that all that remain is the so-called safety check, which is trivial.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
@SilverOnyx:

Great response, thank you!

And yes, this question was related to the current Covid virus. I am the only driver of the Outback, and it is rare to ever have anyone else in the car other than the wife.

I am planning on a thorough interior detailing today and just wanted to know what I could wipe down the most touched surfaces in the car without doing any damage, especially to the leather coverings (steering wheel, seats).

Again, thank you for a very complete answer to my question!

Cheers!

Pat
 

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Discussion Starter #5
@2012:

Thanks for the reply. I really appreciate it!
We both carry our own sanitizers with us everywhere we go too, just to be "safe". At our tender ages of 70, we both realize we are at a higher risk..and so far, so good. To be honest, neither of us even knows anyone who has contracted the virus; but as our outings now are starting to increase, it just makes sense to be more cognizant of the fact that touching things that have been recently touched by someone else who just picked their nose or sneezed into their hands (like door handles, ATM machines, shopping cart handles, etc) I think it pays to be a little more cautious nowadays.

And thanks for the tip of just simply adding some alcohol to baby wipes to make you own sanitizing wipes. Yeah, those have been nearly impossible to find lately and the supply I have is dwindling. Great idea!

Cheers!

Pat
 

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Could be that I'm not remembering correctly, but I think I heard a mention on the news that the govt. may be about to suggest that we wear eye protection. It seems to be already required for all employees at hospitals/clinics locally.

If that becomes "official", everything will sell out, so I have bought a couple of each of these (for example) on amazon, both of which fit over RX eyewear:
Sellstrom Single Crown Safety Face Shield with Pin Lock Headgear, Clear Tint, Uncoated, Blue, S39010 ,
Uvex S2500C Astrospec OTG 3001 Safety Eyewear, Black Frame, Clear UV Extreme Anti-Fog Lens
 

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FYI... adding a bit of soap to water and then wiping surfaces does nothing. For soap to be effective it needs to be foamed to collapse the cell material and and slide off a surface during a rinse including hands.

also, for disinfectant to be effective, the solution needs to sit for between 5-15 minutes (depending on the solution) on a surface. Alcohol and Hydrogen peroxide kill on contact....

another factor is viral load. Casual surface contact having some chip I’d cells is not as detrimental as someone sneezing and coughing .... nonetheless, doing a wipe down of internal/external contact surfaces of personal vehicle is sufficient.....using a 70% alcohol based solution..... above all, always keep hands thoroughly washed with soap or hand sanitizer👍👍👍
 

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FYI... adding a bit of soap to water and then wiping surfaces does nothing. For soap to be effective it needs to be foamed to collapse the cell material and and slide off a surface during a rinse including hands.

also, for disinfectant to be effective, the solution needs to sit for between 5-15 minutes (depending on the solution) on a surface. Alcohol and Hydrogen peroxide kill on contact....

another factor is viral load. Casual surface contact having some chip I’d cells is not as detrimental as someone sneezing and coughing .... nonetheless, doing a wipe down of internal/external contact surfaces of personal vehicle is sufficient.....using a 70% alcohol based solution..... above all, always keep hands thoroughly washed with soap or hand sanitizer👍👍👍
I agree with what you're saying except what makes soap and detergents effective is not foam. It's bipolar surfactants that lyse the lipid envelope of the virus, and the surfactants also help remove particles from surfaces.


 

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I agree with what you're saying except what makes soap and detergents effective is not foam. It's bipolar surfactants that lyse the lipid envelope of the virus, and the surfactants also help remove particles from surfaces.


yes....you just explained it more thoroughly..... the foam is essential as a delivery and suspension Agent of sorts..... most places like hospitals use the foam disinfectant dispensers.
 

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ozone generators are cheap and you can do it once a week. just keeping the car in the sun with the windows up is enough to murder the virus...
 
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