The overall unpleasant feeling of an unclean car gives anyone enough reason to keep the vehicle clean, but have you ever considered the hazards that a dirty vehicle poses to your health and that of your passengers? We expose our vehicles to all kinds of contaminants, from natural elements like rain and mud to bacteria breeding grounds like food or spilled drinks.
Everything you bring into your car leaves a trace of itself behind, resulting in an unclean interior. Before you leave that spilled drink to dry on its own or bring your beloved pet into your truck for a ride, consider the health risks of a dirty vehicle and clean up the messes that you and your passengers leave behind.
Allergies Flaring Up
When spring arrives, so do the seasonal allergies. With good ventilation and a clean interior, your vehicle can feel separate from the agitation of high pollen counts and dust, but if your car is dirty and your air filter is old, anyone with allergies will continue to suffer as they ride along.
Reduce allergy flare-ups in your car by dusting off the dashboard and vacuuming the seats regularly. When using seat covers, take them off and wash them according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Make sure to use a duster that takes in the particles rather than pushing them around within the cabin. Keep your air filter up to date, and check the ventilation of your air vents at least once a year.
Higher Risk of Allergic Reactions
Sometimes, people have worse allergic reactions to irritants than just a sniffly nose or itchy eyes. Not cleaning your vehicle after exposure to a common allergen, such as pet dander or foods, may cause a passenger to have a severe allergic reaction.
This is especially important to consider if you commonly drive strangers around or chauffeur your child’s friends home. If you know that there was an animal or a nut product in your vehicle, make sure there aren’t any remnants, and sanitize all surfaces to prevent a reaction.
Mold on the Floor and in Your Seats
Warm weather, humidity, and darkness provide the perfect habitat for mold growth. Your vehicle’s floors and the areas beneath the seats may make an excellent growing environment for dangerous mold. Mold may even grow in the upholstery of the seats themselves if there was a spill that you didn’t know about or you never got around to cleaning.
To prevent the growth of gross mold, be aware of any liquids that you or your passengers bring into the car. Protect beverages and liquids while they’re in the vehicle—especially if you have children or other messy drinkers. Even if a drink spills onto the car’s carpet, it may cause mold.
Protect your seats with waterproof, hydrophobic, custom Fia truck seat protectorsand your floors with washable, weatherproof mats. Remember to clean out your cup holders if any liquid spilled into them, especially if it’s sugary. Close your windows and sunroof during a rainy day to prevent your seats and carpet from becoming waterlogged.
The Hidden Dangers of Bacteria
If a spill or leftover food doesn’t cause mold to grow, it will cause bacterial growth that can harm anyone who encounters it. Even tiny crumbs on a seat become a breeding ground for bacteria that can cause foodborne illnesses and skin infections.
One of the most telling signs of bacterial growth in your vehicle is an unpleasant odor—especially if you leave the car in warm, sunny locations. Imagine how milk smells after it goes sour; that’s the smell of bacteria breeding.
The past year has taught us plenty about the importance of sanitizing the areas we frequent—now apply what you’ve learned to your car. Though a vehicle’s cabin has ventilation, the many different surfaces inside the car allow viruses and illness-causing bacteria to thrive. A cough or a sneeze causes particles to settle on your dashboard, seats, and seatbelts.
Sanitize your vehicle’s interior regularly, but be especially thorough after transporting someone with a contagious cold or illness. Different surfaces have different sanitizing methods, so take care to ensure you’re sanitizing a plastic dashboard differently than your leather seats.
Bringing the Outside In
Dirt and mud from outside aren’t safe to leave in your vehicle for too long, either. The outside contaminants you bring into your car could carry harmful bacteria or persistent pests. Whether you’ve just come back from taking your dog on a muddy walk or you’re tracking muck in from a fishing trip, take care of those dirty surfaces as soon as you can.
Like other bacteria, these germs from the outside can spread rapidly in a resting vehicle’s warm interior. Prevent grimy seats by protecting them with seat covers—especially when you allow your dogs to sit on them.
Dirty Vehicle Exterior Hazards
While a dirty vehicle exterior won’t subtly affect your health the way that a dirty interior will, some parts of your vehicle’s outer shell will add to the health risks of a dirty vehicle when you leave them grimy. When considering the health hazards of your dirty car, these important elements may come to mind:
Dim, Dusty Headlights
When you haven’t cleaned your headlights in a while, the lights’ effectiveness will suffer. You’ll notice that the plastic covering the headlight may dull and turn yellow with age and dirt. This can impact other drivers’ ability to see you while you’re driving and how much you can see on and around the road.
Pests Coming Through the Grille
No one wants to think about what happens to bugs after you run into them, especially if it involves them nesting inside the vehicle. Keep your grille clean of pests, and install a grille protector to prevent an unfortunate infestation.
Thinking about the dirty downsides of a vehicle’s poorly kept interior or exterior isn’t pleasant. Still, it’s necessary if you want to keep things tidy in your favorite home away from home. Whether you have a truck or SUV, Fia can protect your seats with our diverse line of custom seat covers, and we can block pests from entering your grilles with our easy-to-install bug screens.
Don’t sweat the details when it comes to upholstery—make it easy on yourself by protecting seats from hazards in the first place.