TORONTO -- Many people are cleaning their homes and their workspaces to try and prevent the spread of COVID-19, but there is one place they may not have thought of cleaning – their car.

Some commuters who have to continue to work through the pandemic spend hours in their vehicles every day and there are dozens of touch points in a car where germs and viruses can accumulate. 

“Think about how many surfaces in your car get touched on an average trip,” Jon Linkov of Consumer Reports automotive division says. “Door handles inside and out, control knobs and buttons, the touchscreen, even your directional and wiper controls are touched virtually every time you drive your vehicle.”

Consumer Reports says most cars have an interior that is made up of a number of different materials, so it’s important to use the right products and techniques, to disinfect your vehicle properly.

“You definitely want to stay away from using bleach or hydrogen peroxide inside your car as those products could easily do damage to your car’s upholstery,” Linkov said.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, alcohol solutions that contain at least 70 per cent alcohol should be effective at killing coronavirus. This means nearly every interior surface of your car can be cleaned with isopropyl alcohol-based cleaners you already use around the house. 

Experts recommend that drivers focus on disinfecting vehicle hot spots in their vehicles. Your steering wheel, door handles inside and out, your car’s shifter, all window and control buttons, wiper and turn signals, door armrests, any grab handles and seat adjusters.

“If your car has a touch screen, don’t use anything that has ammonia as an ingredient, since it can strip off anti-glare and anti-fingerprint coatings on the screen,” Linkov said

If you’re currently low on cleaning supplies, soap and water are also a safe bet for most surfaces, but no matter what you use, a gentle touch is recommended.

“The surfaces inside your car are usually going to be more delicate than something like the countertop in your kitchen, so take care in how you apply the cleaning products. Wipe down leather gently with a microfiber cloth as rubbing too vigorously could start to remove the color from the dye in the leather” Linkov said.

When wiping down fabric upholstery, avoid using too much water, it could end up creating a musty smell or encouraging mold to grow in the cushions.