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Experts are still trying to determine exactly how long the COVID-19 coronavirus can survive on different surfaces, but early indicators are that it can persist for days on hard plastics and metals.
You’ll find plenty of those in cars, which makes disinfecting frequently used ones a priority, especially if multiple passengers are involved. But while the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and Environmental Protection Agency have identified several cleaning products that work best on the virus, many of them, like those that contain bleach or hydrogen peroxide, can easily damage a vehicle’s interior surfaces and components and ammonia is bad for touchscreen displays.
However, there’s one category that’s generally fine, according to Consumer Reports: solutions with at least 70 percent alcohol.
A representative from automotive interior parts supplier Yanfeng told the organization that the company uses isopropyl alcohol to clean components in the factory and that it is safe on virtually everything it makes, from plastics to painted chrome and imitation leather.
It can also be used on the surface of fabric upholstery and real leathers, but soap and water are also effective, according to the report. However, scrubbing too hard can remove color, and leather should be treated with a conditioner after cleaning with any product.