It can happen any time, or any place. You’re just sitting in your car, parked up and going nowhere, then foops – you’re on your way to being a goner.
No, no, not an accident. Though you never intended this to occur.
You’re just sitting there, engine off and handbrake on, maybe waiting at the school gate.
But you’re not alone.
You can’t see them, but there’s upwards of 300 million germs sharing the car with you. And while you’re waiting, chatting on the phone and nibbling an indulgent pastry, you just happen to swallow a few hundred in.
You don’t feel it at the time of course. There’s no trace of anything wrong anyway. You keep the car spotless, down to the car wash every week. And those cheery folk do a full valet service – get rid of any rubbish, vacuum everything carefully. How in the world can you catch a bug?
All too easy, though you’d never know it.
Because a car is one of those places that easily LOOK clean when they’re anything but.
OK, so it’s you and the kids on the school run, taking the dog to the park, a couple of long hauls to visit the in-laws, where’s the danger in that?
Crumbs, germs, crikey!
Eating and drinking is what. And we all do it, without even realising.
Obviously not while driving. Though everyone is. A quick munch on the way home, a bottle of juice on a hot summer day – those little ones can be so demanding.
Which means crumbs on the seats and the odd spill – nothing that a quick wipe can’t fix, right?
However thoroughly you wipe, you never get everything. And stuff fragments as you try, breaking apart and falling down the sides. Into the “ungetatable” space between the seats and the floor sides.
And it’s usually food, right? So it breaks down and rots. Little bits here and there – nothing you’ll ever pick up unless you have a sensitive nose.
Bugs, bugs, bugs
Bacteria, right there – usually escherichia coli. Harmless to most of us, even though it lives naturally in our gut. Except there’s more than one strain of the thing, many of them pathogenic – medic-speak for saying they’re dangerous.
Like strain O157:H7, which can cause anaemia, kidney failure or even death. Plus, get ANY strain of e.coli in the wrong place – like in your bloodstream – and you’re in big trouble.
But e.coli is not the only one by a long shot. Salmonella and campylobacter are also regular passengers, both of which can cause illnesses, sometimes fatal. And both can survive for up a month inside your car, lurking on the steering wheel, gear stick, or dashboard.
And pretty well all cars regularly carry common bacteria, such as staphylococcus epidermidis, staphylococcus aureus and micrococcus luteus.
Mould and fungi too
Nor is bacteria the only hazard. Comes the wet weather with kids and dogs leaping in and out of the car dripping wet – next thing you’ve got mould. And mould leads to allergies, asthma and eczema. Or in severe cases, like actress Brittany Murphy, fatal pneumonia.
OK, so basically germ-infested, right? And if you don’t believe us, check out this video here.
So what can you do about it? Wiping down is not good enough. Nor is going berserk with the vacuum cleaner. You’ve got to get down and dirty in those teensy inaccessible gaps behind the seats and under the carpets.
And with way more firepower than bleach.
Time to get yourself a “bacteria bomb” if you haven’t already. Not the ordinary can, but the half-sized 4oz job you can keep in your hand bag.
Yeah, OK, at around £12 a pop, it’s not cheap. But do you want to get rid of the germs or don’t you? And what does a whole valet service cost you? £50? £80? Right there in your bag is just the thing to fog up your entire car and take out the germs. Psst! 60 seconds and you’re done.
Just make sure you open all the windows and let the stuff out when it’s finished. It fills your car up like a smoke bomb but is way fresher, sort of lemony afterwards.
Oh, and that’s not the only reason to open up your car. Like with all these climate change non-winters we’ve been having, high temperatures bake your car full of breathable toxins too. Like benzene from the plastic of the dash and interior trim. Check out this video here.
Every week, like the car wash
Plus remember, if you want to stay safe and germ-free, you’ve got to keep at it too. Just like cleaning your teeth only lasts until your next meal, so treating your car needs regular attention too. The next Coke spill or upended packet of chips and you’re back where you started.
Think of it though as another way to keep you safe in your car. Like a crash helmet or a seat belt. Essential, huh?
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