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Keeping Your Car Interior Clean Can Help Keep You Healthy

Clean Car Interior

I climbed into our vehicle last weekend and caught a whiff of something musty. After some intense investigative sniffing, I still had no idea where the smell was coming from. Then I noticed some green gunge around the window seals - the same green gunge that builds up on our concrete patio through our rainy winters. Since we park outdoors all year round, the rainy winter caused algae to grow on the car, hence the mildewy smell. Blarg.

As I looked around the rest of the car, it occurred to me that it had been awhile since we cleaned it. Like, a loooong while. So, with the spring equinox right around the corner, now seems like a good time for some real talk about spring car cleaning.

Keeping your car interior clean isn't just for car pride - having a dirty car interior can actually impact your health. A study conducted by Queen Mary University in London found that around 700 different harmful germs lurk in our car's interiors. And, if you're like me and suffer from allergies, riding around in a car filled with pollen, dust mites and other germs can depress your immune system, making you more susceptible to colds and flu.

If, like the average Canadian, you and your family are spending an hour in the car every day, keeping that environment clean can go a long way towards keeping you healthy. So here are some clean car tips to inspire you this spring:

Get your car detailed or do it yourself. Start the spring off right with a deep clean. Remove and thoroughly wash and dry the floor mats, vacuum or steam clean the floor carpets (don't forget the trunk!) and any upholstery in the car. Dust hard surfaces with a damp cloth and mild cleanser and use compressed air to blast crumbs and other debris out of hard-to-reach crevices. If you have machine washable seat covers like we do, throw them in the wash. And if, like me, you have algae build up on your window seals, get an old tooth brush, some warm water with a mild cleanser and go to town. This article has some great tips on how detail your vehicle.

Make sure to change your cabin air filter every year. The cabin air filter is what keeps the air in your vehicle clean by filtering out pollen, dust mites, dirt and other particles before they enter your car.

Maintain the clean. Steam cleaning your car once or twice a year is great but little everyday acts of cleanliness can help keep your car - and you - in a healthier state. Don't leave food wrappers, coffee cups or other food garbage in the car. Wipe down hard surfaces regularly with a damp cloth and some mild cleanser - especially places that you touch most often, like the steering wheel, door handles, cup holder area, etc. Vacuum regularly, especially if you or your kids like to snack in the car or if you have a pet who likes to catch a ride.

When's the last time you deep cleaned your vehicle?

- Rose R.


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Nell Watson

I have a partner who leaves old lunches in his back seat for decades and who doesn't believe in internal/external car washes. Interestingly, he has few allergies while his family has multiple allergies. What gives?


I always said the car needs to be as clean as possible. Some of my friends keep saying "it's just a car" and when I tell them it's not about the car it's about the people in it they roll their eyes... Thanks for proving my point and writing so well :)

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