Detailing and disinfecting your car's interior with Far Cough

Keeping it clean

With the Coronavirus pandemic happening right now, there’s never been a better time to look at how we’re cleaning the interior of our cars, and what measures we can take to reduce our risk of contracting COVID-19, as well as other viruses that will happily live on different surfaces inside our cars. In this article we’re going to run through a deep clean of all interior surfaces, what personal protective equipment (PPE) you should consider, show you where the “hot spots” are inside your car, treat the different surfaces correctly, and look at what we can do to further protect the inside of our cars from viruses, bacteria and germs for longer periods of time.

What is it?

This is the official information given to us by the World Health Organisation.

Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) is an infectious disease caused by a newly discovered coronavirus.

Most people infected with the COVID-19 virus will experience mild to moderate respiratory illness and recover without requiring special treatment. Older people, and those with underlying medical problems like cardiovascular disease, diabetes, chronic respiratory disease, and cancer are more likely to develop serious illness.

Protect yourself and others from infection by washing your hands or using an alcohol based rub frequently and not touching your face.

What can you do?

To prevent infection and to slow transmission of COVID-19, do the following:

  • Wash your hands regularly with an antiseptic soap and water, or clean them with alcohol-based hand rub (like our Hand Relief soap and Sanisfaction hand sanitiser).
  • Maintain at least 1 metre distance between you and people coughing or sneezing.
  • Avoid touching your face.
  • Cover your mouth and nose when coughing or sneezing.
  • Stay home if you feel unwell.
  • Refrain from smoking and other activities that weaken the lungs.
  • Practice physical distancing by avoiding unnecessary travel and staying away from large groups of people.

What about my car?

COVID-19 and other viruses like it can be killed in several ways. Bleach and alcohol are common, however neither of these are suitable to use on all of the interior surfaces of our cars, and can cause irreparable damage to plastic, leather or vinyl surfaces.

The Australian government has an article on their website on the appropriate use of disinfectants in relation to COVID-19, which you can see here - https://www.tga.gov.au/appropriate-use-disinfectants-information-consumers-health-professionals-and-healthcare-facilities

So, what else can we do? Well, one of the best ways to destroy the virus is with soap. Without getting into the science of it, soap breaks down and pulls apart viruses, then the remaining bits of harmless virus are rinsed or wiped away. It is extremely important to note, that for this effect to take place, the soap needs to be agitated for 20 seconds to effectively kill the virus. Our deep cleaning, pH neutral all purpose cleaner Orange Agent, contains surfactants that when used with the correct technique, will kill viruses on surfaces in your car. Our other interior products: Vinyl Care and Leather Love, both also contain a suitable surfactant that will kill the virus, giving you a few different options for inside your car.

Our new product Far Cough is an antibacterial spray that is great for sanitising and protecting these surfaces, but it's important to make sure all surfaces have been deep cleaned first to remove all dirt, oils and other gunk that viruses love to cling to.

Products you should not use

There are some effective virus cleaning agents out there like alcohol, alcohol wipes, disinfectant wipes, bleach and even chlorine. All of these will do a fine job on most hard exterior surfaces, but the interior surfaces in your car are relatively delicate compared to say, exterior surfaces like clear coat paint, metal, floor tiles etc. As such, we need to take care on these more delicate surfaces. Things like door card plastics, steering wheels, wood trims and leather seats should not have alcohol, alcohol wipes or anything of this sort used on them, as it can terminally affect those surfaces and become very costly to repair or replace them. One video on YouTube I saw showed a person using an alcohol based anti-bacterial wipe on a leather seat, and it affected the PU coating on the seat instantly. A lot of these can be very high in pH level – important to consider when using on delicate interior surfaces. We want to use safer and more effective methods where possible.

Hot spots

What do we mean by “hot spots”? Well, these are the areas inside your car that you touch the most – steering wheel, door grab handles, gear selector, stereo/air conditioning buttons, indicator stalks and the seat belt. These are the areas inside the car that we need to pay the most attention to and take care with when we’re cleaning them. If any of these surfaces in your car are damaged, older or otherwise not in good condition, Orange Agent may not be suitable for these surfaces. In this instance, you would use the Vinyl Care or Leather Love as gentler options and always follow the instructions on the bottle or contact us first if you’re unsure.

Another big one is your car key - when was the last time you cleaned your key, or keys? We touch them a lot, so it's important to give these a good clean. Keys are usually harder wearing, so you can use a disinfectant or alcohol wipe for those. If your key is a bit more sensitive (like a Kia Stinger key fob that's actually leather), then you would use the process below with a deep clean and then protection with Far Cough to finish.

First thing's first

Wash your hands, or use an alcohol based hand rub. Put on your PPE gear that you’re going to be wearing. We’d suggest a pair of quality nitrile gloves at the very least. You could also consider a breathable face mask and eye protection. Use an alcohol wipe, or our Far Cough spray (as per its instructions) wiped with a cloth on the outside door handle so you’re not transferring germs from there to inside the car.

Take the floor mats out of the car and put them to the side for now. Thoroughly vacuum the entire interior of the car with the various vacuum attachments, using a small brush like our Foursome brushes to help agitate dirt out of hard to reach areas like air conditioning vents, power window switches, steering wheel buttons etc. Vacuum the carpets inside the car last, then vacuum the floor mats very last, but leave them out of the car for now.

The deep clean

Here we’ll go over how to effectively deep clean all suitable surfaces with our pH neutral all purpose cleaner: Orange Agent. Before you get started, if there are older or damaged surfaces inside your car, take care when using Orange Agent, or use the Vinyl Care/Leather Love instead on vinyl and leather surfaces, or Fabra Cadabra with the Plush Brush on any fabric surfaces, including fabric seats, carpets and mats. Orange Agent is pH neutral, but it’s a stronger cleaner than the other 3 products mentioned. Always follow our instructions and only use quality brushes and microfibre like we suggest in our instructions.

Start with the steering wheel as it’s the most touched surface inside your car. ALWAYS spray into a brush first to avoid getting overspray everywhere. TIP: place a cloth over the instrument binnacle to avoid any overspray getting on the plastic. Spray a few sprays of Orange Agent into the Foursome Brush, then gently agitate the surface of the steering wheel. Do small sections at a time and add a couple more sprays of Orange Agent into the brush as needed. Make sure the product is worked into the surface for 20 seconds to ensure it’s killed any potential viruses. Don’t allow the product to dry – keep agitating. After 20 seconds, and while the product is still wet, wipe off the excess into a Plush Daddy cloth. It's very important to not oversaturate any areas, so only use a couple more sprays at a time as needed.

For more information about this, see the article here from The Guardian, who cite information from The Royal Pharmaceutical Society - https://www.theguardian.com/society/2017/sep/29/wash-your-hands-20-seconds-kill-germs-pharmacists

Move onto the next hot spot section of the interior and use the same method to deep clean and wipe up. Flip and turn your cloth often, and change cloths if it becomes soiled. Don’t stress though – the virus is dead at this stage, so it’s not living on your cloth. This same method can be used on your leather seats as a deep clean too.

Area specific

Don’t forget to spend a little extra time cleaning the hot spots we mentioned earlier – interior door handles, seat belt buckles, gear knob, any grab handles on the door cards, and the indicator stalks. Take special care on indicator stalks, as the white paint on there can be very fragile. Don’t use too much force with your cloth when wiping off excess product. If in doubt, always test on a small spot first.

Touch screens / windows

This is where our Far Cough spray really comes into its own. It's safe for all surfaces inside your car, including touch screens, polycarbonate instrument binnacles, window tint and more. If the surface is extra dirty, clean with Naked Glass first as per its instructions. Then, spray Far Cough into a clean and dry Dirty Deeds or Big Softie cloth and wipe over stereo screens, buttons, windows etc. Leave it on there for 10 minutes while it works, then come back and wipe over the surfaces again with the damp cloth, then buff off with a clean and dry Dirty Deeds or Big Softie cloth.

Treating plastics/vinyl and leather

Now with all the surfaces deep cleaned, they will be left with a rather stark finish from the Orange Agent. It’s vitally important to replenish these surfaces with some hydration and protect them from UV and the elements once again.

For all the plastic and vinyl surfaces, spray a few sprays of Vinyl Care into a Square Bear applicator and gently apply to the surface in an overlapping motion. While the product is still wet, wipe off the excess with a clean and dry Plush Daddy cloth, to ensure a nice, even finish. Important here to not oversaturate any surfaces, and never spray straight onto surfaces - always into the applicator first.

Use this same method for leather seats with the Leather Love. Because the Orange Agent has already done the deep clean for us, we want to now hydrate and condition the leather. Spray a few sprays of Leather Love into a Square Bear applicator (you can use the same applicator that you used for the Vinyl Care, just rinse it out thoroughly in fresh water, then wring it out), massage it into sections of the leather at a time, then wipe off any excess while it’s still wet with a clean and dry Plush Daddy cloth. Continue this method until all the leather is done. Very important here also, do not over saturate any surfaces, especially if your leather has perforations. Always spray into your applicator or brush first, then agitate on the surface.

Once the Leather Love is completed, it’s time to protect our leather. We do this with Leather Guard using the same method as the Leather Love. Again, rinse out the Square Bear applicator from the Leather Love in fresh water, and wring it out until it’s dry if you don’t have another fresh Square Bear to use. Spray the Leather Guard into the Square Bear and apply it to the seat in overlapping motions. Wipe any excess off while it’s still wet with a clean and dry Plush Daddy cloth.

Carpets, mats and fabric seats

Spray some Fabra Cadabra into a Plush Brush and a small amount straight onto a section of carpet, then brush back and forth, side to side overlapping each section until the carpet is all done. For fabric seats, spray Fabra Cadabra straight into the Plush Brush, then do sections at a time. Don’t spray straight onto the seat as you’ll get overspray everywhere. Once all the fabric surfaces inside the car are done, give them another vacuum with a wet & dry vac. Last is the car mats. Leave these outside of the car, on a flat surface like a table, or the garage floor or similar. Spray Fabra Cadabra into the Plush Brush again, and a few sprays straight onto the mat. Use the same scrubbing technique as with the carpets (up and down, side to side, overlapping motions), then finish with another vacuum.

At this point, if you wanted to add some serious protection to your carpets and mats, use Fabratection. To see more on this and how to use it, click the link here -

For that nice pro touch finish, use the Plush Brush to create some cool looking stripes in the mats. Dry the brush off first with a cloth, then brush the fibres in the mat all one way. Drag the brush downwards along the edge of the mat, then do it again the opposite way next to that line, then the opposite way again and so on, creating lines in the mat and leaving a professional, fresh finish.

Important to finish strong

Now that your entire interior has been deep cleaned, protected and is looking great, what can you do now to maintain this nice, clean place to be? A good start would be to keep some alcohol hand rub in the car and use it as often as you like (we have just created one that can be purchased from our website soon). If you find you’re getting into your car with dirty hands, some baby wipes in the glove box can be handy too - use a baby wipe to get dirt and grime off your hands, then use some alcohol rub before you touch your steering wheel or other parts of your interior.

We have created a few new products to kills germs, viruses and bacteria in an effort to do everything we can for our customers during this time.

First one is an antibacterial spray that’s safe to use on all interior and exterior surfaces for the home or car. Not only that, but it will inhibit further bacteria growth on any hard, non-porous surfaces - we’ve named it Far Cough.

We’ve also put a lot of work into an alcohol hand rub named Sanisfaction, which we make here in our shed by hand, even with the ethanol alcohol coming from our own still! This is an alcohol hand sanitiser (latest batch we have now bottled is 80% by volume, so it's pretty bombed up!) that will kill 99.9% of the germs and other micro nasties on your hands, with a pleasant fragrance, that will leave your hands feeling nice and fresh.

The last one we’ve made is our the Hand Relief antibacterial soap to be used as a normal soap with water. Really soft on your hands for those with sensitive skin and uses Quat based technology to ensure super clean and sanitised hands, helping to keep Rona at bay. 

Grab the Far Cough and spray a few sprays into a clean and dry Dirty Deeds cloth, then wipe over all of the surfaces in your car you want to protect. No need to over saturate, just a nice, even coat. Allow this to sit on the surfaces for 10 minutes while it works away, then come back and wipe over all of the surfaces once more with the damp cloth, then finish up with a final wipe with a clean and dry Dirty Deeds cloth.

Cleaning up

As you’re using cloths and applicators, it’s a good idea to put them all into one specific location. We have a Microfibre Bucket with a lid for this. Once the entire job is complete, put all of your microfibre cloths into the washing machine with 40-100ml of our Microfibre Wash and run it on a warm cycle (below 60 degrees). Microfibre Wash is an anti bacterial formula and will leave your cloths amazingly fresh and clean. Once washed, pop them into the dryer on the cool setting for 30-45 minutes, until they're nice and fluffy and dry.

Now all this is done, remove the gloves you've been using and put them in the bin, then wash your hands with the antibacterial soap and once dry, give them a rub over with a hand sanitser. You're all clean and done, its time to find yourself a refreshing cool beverage and sit back and enjoy it. 

Any questions?

If you have any questions about any of these steps or products, or you need some help with the nuance within each part here, don’t hesitate to get in contact with us – 1800 351 308, or email info@bowdensown.com.au.

Happy detailing,

Brett Hobbs


Microfibre Wash

Microfibre Wash

Keep your microfibre like new. Our specialised wash restores softness and absorbency to all your cloths.

$22.99 View Product

Far Cough

Far Cough

An interior safe antibacterial spray, who's name is based on social distancing, especially if you’ve got a cough.

$9.99 View Product

Orange Agent

Orange Agent

Super versatile citrus pH neutral cleaner, to remove silicones, oils and heavy grime from most surfaces.

$13.99 View Product

The Foursome

The Foursome

Made as we found one brush was never enough.

$29.99 View Product

Leather Love

Leather Love

Gently cleans and conditions leather in one quick step, restoring its natural feel and sheen.

$24.99 View Product

Plush Daddy

Plush Daddy

Dual sided, versatile, super soft microfibre cloth for interior cleaning. You will love the Daddy.

$14.99 View Product

Dirty Deeds

Dirty Deeds

A very useful 2 cloth pack, created for all the dirtier jobs around your car and bike.

$24.99 View Product

Fabra Cadabra

Fabra Cadabra

A magic deep-cleaning formula for interior fabrics, including Alcantara.

$19.99 View Product

Leather Guard

Leather Guard

Gives your leather the needed protection from daily wear and tear.

$29.99 View Product

Plush Brush

Plush Brush

A soft bristle brush for cleaning many delicate surfaces.

$29.99 View Product