Washing your hands and sanitising has become the catch cry of 2020 due to the Covid-19 pandemic. This message has certainly been taken to heart with the use of sanitiser growing to such an extent that gin distillers are switching production. There-in lies a hint to the issues we are now experiencing with the cars we are detailing.
Whilst we found a lot of people used to keep hand sanitiser wipes in their car they generally only used them to wipe their hands when they were dirty or sticky. This is not the case now where they are not only being used more often, they are also being used to wipe over surfaces such as steering wheels and dashboards.
This is where the issue is. A sanitiser to be effective in terms of hand washing needs to contain alcohol, whereas the exact opposite is the case with the surfaces within your car. We have seen a real spike over the last month or so in serious damage to vehicles and this is not something that can be fixed easily. This actually encompasses all hard surfaces in your vehicle and even more so for anything that may be made of leather.
While hand sanitiser is one culprit that can cause damage, there are a myriad of other products that can also impact the interior of your car. Things like air-fresheners. We encounter all types, ones that attach to your vents can leak, those that hang and can brush against a plastic surface, react and cause damage to the plastics.
What to do?
Prevention is better than cure!
If you are using wipes, once used, get them out of the car or into a rubbish bag, even put them on your floor mat until you get out. With the small bottles of sanitiser keep them in the console or glovebox, at least if they leak there, the damage isn’t as cosmetic. When using the sanitiser liquid its best applying it outside of the vehicle so it doesn’t get spilt where the damage can be done.
If you do damage any plastics there is nothing we, as detailers can do. There are businesses that do those types of repairs but it can be expensive.