| CARCHEX Research Center

How To Disinfect A Used Car – Lice, Viruses, Fungus & More

We all know that any used car purchase can contain hidden surprises. One factor you might not have considered though is the risk to your health when buying used. Even though a vehicle may appear clean and ready, it could still be full of bugs and germs. These issues mostly involve human contact points with the car’s interior. Also, some types of prior vehicle damage can cause lingering health risks. Let’s find out more.

Buy with confidence. Get a pre-purchase car inspection on any used car. Contact CARCHEX today.

Watch Where Your Head Rests

Starting from the top down, car headrests are a place where lice can hide. If one of these parasites decides to hang out on the headrest, the next passenger could get infected. The best way to prevent this problem is with a thorough vacuum of all the upholstery. If you are particularly suspicious, over the counter anti-lice powders and sprays are available to help make sure your car is lice free.

Viruses & Bacteria

In reality, these bugs can occur just about anywhere, including inside a used car. Even if the vehicle itself is clean, a recent test driver could have left their germs behind. The best defense is to treat the inside of the car with a disinfectant wipe. Focus on all contact areas such as door handles, locks, dashboard controls and seat adjustment levers.

Another good habit is to clean your hands with a disinfectant gel – or even better wash with warm soapy water – after checking out any used car.

Fungus And Mildew

If the used vehicle has had water damage, you may notice a moldy smell inside. Beware of a strong smell of air freshener, as this could be an attempt to cover up moldy odors. Check out the upholstery for water marks. Also probe deep into seat cushion creases for moisture.

Fungus can aggravate allergy symptoms, and mold can be unusually difficult to eradicate. If you spot the source, vacuum while using a soft brush to lift up any debris. You may need to use a bit of rubbing alcohol and a soft cloth to get it completely clean. Follow up by parking the car in the hot sun for a day, and you may dry out the mildew for good.

Moldy AC Smell

When you inspect any used car, run the AC and check for a moldy odor. Ridding the AC of this smell can be very challenging. Here’s one home remedy: spray a disinfectant into the intake vent of the climate control system while running the AC. If you want this done professionally, take the vehicle to the dealership where a special treatment can usually solve the problem.

Other Issues

Every used car has a story to tell. If you know where to look, you might find areas of significant damage or wear. When in doubt, ask a professional to help you out. Experienced eyes know how to detect problems others may overlook.

Get a 155 point pre-purchase car inspection anywhere in the country. Contact CARCHEX now.