Travelling by car is one of the safest ways to get around for now, from a health perspective, as long as you take care to keep the interior clean and protect yourself whenever you touch things like fuel pumps or bank cards. After all, solid metal, windows, and a well-maintained air conditioning unit provide an uncompromisingly effective barrier to the outside world.
The best way to keep your car perfectly hygienic is with ozone cleaning, or any other system that thoroughly disinfects the interior. There are loads of outlets that offer this now, including some branches of Pirelli's Driver network in Italy. Ozone is a harmless gas that avoids the use of chemical products, and it's widely used as a cleaning agent even in delicate environments such as hospitals. Its properties make it the ideal way to eliminate bacteria, viruses, pollens, mould, and mites. It also has a high level of penetration, which means that it can get into every nook and cranny of a car interior.
Ozone cleaning takes between 30 and 45 minutes and could be a good idea if you have transported people who don't live with you, or perhaps after a car diagnostics test. The parts of a car that need to be most targeted during cleaning are those you touch most often, such as the steering wheel, gear lever, buttons, and touchscreen – not to mention keys as well as door handles and locks – both inside and outside.
Doing it yourself
Keeping your car clean is a good habit to get into in any case, even if you just do it yourself. Start off by cleaning all the crucial areas with a soft cloth and some detergent, avoiding those that leave surfaces shiny and slippery – which could be a safety hazard on the gear lever or steering wheel, for example. Then you can move onto some more heavy-duty cleaning, using disinfectants that meet certified standards.
Gels and liquids should be used carefully, especially on leather surfaces, which can dry out and become damaged. Another useful idea, in summer as well as winter, is to clean all the air vents with a specific spray. This is particularly effective when it comes to removing bad smells caused by mould and humidity.
Use gloves at fuel stations
Once the interior of your car is clean, dangerous situations tend to come only from the outside: for example when paying road tolls or filling up with fuel. The first problem can be easily avoided by steering clear of lanes where you have to use coins or banknotes, instead using bank cards or (better still) remote tag readers.
When filling up at fuel stations, it's a good idea to wear the single-use gloves that are always available at diesel pumps. Keep the gloves on throughout the whole operation – from filling up to paying for the fuel – and then throw them away immediately without touching them on the outside, so that your hands are always protected.