Texas residents and businesses have seen the seriousness and scale of the COVID-19 pandemic expand over just the last few weeks. From stories in the news, to the first cases in Texas. At Winnie, we have been following the latest updates on the Coronavirus. Our dealership is also taking action to make sure we are doing everything we can to provide our customers and staff with a safe, clean environment.

Below, we are going to look at some of the steps that we at Winnie are taking, and also provide tips on how to disinfect and clean your car. We have received questions from our customers about how to best clean their cars, so we put together a list of tips. Vehicles interiors are often made from many different surfaces and materials, and Texas drivers will want to make sure they clean their interior without damaging the materials.

It is important to note that we are not health experts, and that there are many additional precautions recommended by the CDC to prevent the spread of COVID-19. That said, we have implemented practices recommended by the CDC and listened to experts on what will work to disinfect your car.

Be assured that Winnie is taking all precautions to both disinfect customers’ cars and maintain a sanitary workplace. We are proud to be part of the Winnie community and want you to know we are taking this seriously. We will be following developments on the spread of COVID-19 in Texas, and communicating with our customers.

We are also offering at-home test drives and pickup/dropoff of vehicles for service. Residents who need flexible service for their vehicle, trade-in appraisals, or financing information can get everything they need without needing to visit the dealership. If you do plan to visit the dealership, rest assured that we have taken steps to provide a safe environment for you.

Here are a few tips for disinfecting your car:
Disinfecting Your Car – Choose the Right Materials
The first step to cleaning and disinfecting your car interior is to choose the cleaning agents and materials you will use. Depending on whether you have leather, cloth, or imitation leather upholstery, steps and cleaning agents will vary. This section will cover choosing cleaning agents for different materials to make sure Texas drivers’ cars are disinfected without unnecessary damage.

Isopropyl alcohol is a proven disinfectant and is also safe to use on most car interior surfaces. In fact, it is used in many production plants to put a final touch on interior components before they are shipped out. Isopropyl alcohol will remove many stains, smudges and residues, as well as kill bacteria and viruses. However, that stain removing quality can also cause problems with leather.
If your vehicle has a leather interior, it probably has a thin protective coating to prevent discoloration.

Isopropyl alcohol can deteriorate that coating and even remove the dye from the leather itself. We have special instructions for cleaning leather surfaces below. It is safe and easy to use isopropyl alcohol that is 70% or higher to wipe down hard surfaces in your vehicle. That includes the steering wheel, dash, armrests, console, seat adjusters, shifter, cupholders, doors, handles, and more. Alcohol is also suitable for cleaning imitation leather upholstery.

Everything listed above is a “high touch” area, which you should prioritize when disinfecting. Things like the ventilation grilles and knobs, as well as the rearview mirror are all common touch points in a vehicle. All wiping and cleaning should be done with a microfiber cloth if you have one available. Not only do they do a great job of trapping dirt, but they also prevent scratches.

At Winnie, we have established set protocols that we follow to make sure all of these high touch areas are disinfected in every vehicle. If you are cleaning your own car and want further information, we would be happy to help.

Cleaning Leather Interior
For leather steering wheels, seating, and trim, a combination of soap and water is a safe and sufficient way to clean them. Do not scrub hard when cleaning your leather interior, and avoid excess suds and water. Hand washing has been recommended as a primary way to protect oneself from COVID-19. This is not only because soap can kill the virus, but also because the friction of washing contributes as well. Washing gently with soap and water is effective, and will also protect your leather upholstery.

Steps for Cleaning & Disinfecting You Car Interior
Car interiors are engineered to be durable, and expected to hold up to years of wear and tear. However, rough scrubbing or the use of incorrect cleaning agents can lead to scratches and discoloration. A wipe with alcohol on hard surfaces and gentle circular cleaning on upholstery are best practices for both cleaning and maintaining your car interior.

One important thing to avoid, is using too much water when cleaning your seats. Especially when it comes to cloth interior, excess water can seep into the cushions. This can cause the growth of mold and that musty smell you get if you leave your windows open in the rain.

When washing the seats of your car, it is best to wet a cloth or sponge with soap and water and gently wipe the seats in a circular motion. You do not want to leave excess soap or water, as it can take a long time to dry. Isopropyl alcohol can safely be used on non-leather seats, but it is only ideal for imitation leather.

If you are not sick, and haven’t had anyone sick in your car, don’t get too worried about doing this repeatedly. However, now is a great time to start with a clean and disinfected car.

Experts recommend that once your car’s interior is disinfected, it is important to wash your hands before getting in. This will help keep your car a clean place, and reduce the chance of a virus making it into your vehicle. The steering wheel is one of the dirtiest places in your car due to constant touching, and having clean hands will go a long way to keeping it clean after being disinfected.

If you believe you have had someone with COVID-19 in your vehicle, you should disinfect and call your doctor for next steps. They believe that the virus can survive in the air for up to three hours, and on surfaces for much longer, so it is best to be cautious if you believe your vehicle has been exposed.

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