Why I clean the interior of my car often [and maybe you should too] - 2019 Update
I’m here to let you in on a revealing and time-sensitive secret most people don’t know about their car. You’re not going to pay me any money for it.
And if you act on this secret, is going to improve your health and well-being considerably.
Did you know that every day you don’t do anything about it, dirt degrades and devalues your car?
But even more importantly...
...It affects your (and your family’s) health?
You may already know that dirt left sitting on your car degrades and scratches the finish, making it look dull and unattractive. Glass gets covered with an oil-sticky film, making it difficult for you to see, especially at night.
Dirty leather seats fade and crack, leading to costly repairs (Did you know that one seat replacement for an Audi can cost just under $5,000 – one seat!).
But that’s not you biggest problem because...
The dirt you don’t see (and know about) could seriously hurt you
Dust used to be simply that... Dust. Not anymore. Nowadays, dust is a toxic mix of chemical residue, environmental pollution and fallout, amongst many other things.
Doesn’t sound like something you’d want to breath in, does it?
Pollen, mold, fungus, fallout, lead, DDT, and dust mites find their way into (or already comfortably inhabit) the interior of your car, potentially making you ill without you even knowing it.
Here you are, treating yourself (and your loved ones) for flu-like symptoms, buying expensive supplements and strong medicine (did you know that most antibiotics are known to literally wipe-out your health-protective bacterial flora in your digestive system?), and worrying about your health, when in fact...
It could be your car that’s causing all the problems!
Studies show that one square foot of automotive carpet can contain over half a pound of dirt before even beginning to look dirty (over half a pound!).
Toxic residues from the plastic components linger around undisturbed, and slowly poison you and your loved ones.
By spending time in your chemical-laden and toxic car you could be irreversibly damaging your health, and even shaving years off your life.
Listen, my friend, there are no less than 7 ways your own car is damaging your health right now:
Contaminants you bring into the car yourself (on your clothes, or the bottom of your shoes): pollen, fungus, chemical residue and fallout
Dust mites and their feces
Plastic material out-gassing
Bacteria and mold from food and spills
Exhaust residue from other vehicles
Micro-fibers from carpet
Your own body’s residue (from perspiration, breathing, coughing and sneezing)
A study published in the journal “Environmental Science & Technology”, by Paloma Beamer and David Layton (researchers with the University of Arizona), identifies the following components in dust: soot, lead, DDT, arsenic, shed bits of human skin, pet dander, animal fur, decomposing insect parts, pollen, brake dust and fungi.
Most dust is brought in from the outside (on your clothes, or bottom of your shoes), through the vents and doors.
One third of the arsenic in the air comes from volcanoes. The rest, from industrial processes. Lead comes from auto exhaust and smelting.
Andrea Ferro (with the Clarkson University – Potsdam, N.Y.) says:
“DDT it’s been banned from use decades ago, but it is surprisingly still around in significant quantities.”
And the more time you spend in your car, the more you are exposed to this toxic environment, and the more frail your health becomes.
Dr. Robert Simmons Ph.D. (researcher with the Environmental Research Centre of the Georgia State University) talks about the “sick car syndrome”.
He discovered that spending time in a (dirty) car can seriously affect you, and give you various symptoms, such as: headaches, weakness, fatigue and flu-like symptoms.
On top of that, in a damp climate such as the Pacific North-West, mold and fungi thrive, and multiply easily (fuelled by all the moisture you bring into the car, especially during the rainy season).
And as if all this was not enough...
Your car could also be full of health-destroying dust mites!
Did you know that the average person sheds about thirty to forty thousand dead skin cells every hour? In one year, that adds up to approximately 3.6 Kg (or 8 Lbs) of dead skin flakes. About the size of a healthy new-born baby.
But here’s the good part: that is how your skin regenerates. Through this complex process, you have completely new skin on your body every three to four weeks.
And how is that important, you ask? I’ll tell you in a moment...
What happens is your skin flakes are the main food source of this tiny little creature called dust mite. In fact, skin flakes from only one person can feed over a million dust mites.
The dust mites are microscopic relatives of the spiders and scorpions, and live on carpet and fabric. They are too small to be seen with the human eye.
So small that...
A square meter of carpet can house over a hundred thousand dust mites!
You see, these creatures are not harmless. The insect itself does not bite, draw blood or carry diseases, like some of her relatives.
In fact, only the feces (and body parts) from the dust mites are the recognized allergens. And because a single dust mite can lay over twenty droppings a day, things can get out of control quickly if you don’t do anything about it.
Just a single gram of dust (about half of teaspoon) contains approximately a thousand (1,000) dust mites and over two hundred and fifty thousand (250,000) allergenic dust mite fecal pellets.
And every time you step on the carpet, or sit on the seat, the dust in your car is stirred up. From there, it finds its way into your mouth and nose, and ends up in your lungs.
It could take between 20 minutes and 2 full hours for dust to settle back down
Studies show that, in North America, over twenty million people are allergic to dust mites. Symptoms are similar to the ones from pollen allergies (and just as annoying): red-itchy eyes, sneezing and runny-stuffy nose.
Reality is you cannot get rid of dust mites completely, but you can control and reduce their numbers.
And if you have young children or anyone in your family has asthma, COPD or a respiratory issue, you’ll want to take every step to control them.
But wait, I’m not done...
Are you familiar with the “New Car Smell”?
The one we’re all enjoying so much, and wish we still had it, even when the car is not new anymore?
Here’s the truth about it...
Turns out, this smell is far from good for your health.
What happens is, because of a natural process of curing and oxidation, the plastic components inside your car release oil fumes. It’s a process that slows down over time, as the materials age.
These oil fumes linger inside your car, creating a toxic “chemical bath”. Which means you breathe in the poisoning vapours every time you’re in the car.
They also deposit as a film, on every surface, including the glass.
And every time you touch one of these surfaces, this film transfers onto your skin, and ends up absorbed by your body.
Have you had a snack in the car lately?
Every time you (or your passengers) eat in the car, food crumbs fall on the floor. And if you accidentally spill a drink, the liquid is quickly absorbed into the fabrics and carpet.
Shortly after, bacteria colonies form on these spots, and start decomposing the leftovers.
Aside from the unpleasant smells generated, these bacteria could also be a threat to your health.
Mold also grows rapidly on spoiling food and liquids. And breathing in mold spores can quickly send you to the hospital, with serious consequences for your health.
There’s one more thing you should know...
The carpet in your car sheds micro-fibers, much like a dog sheds fur!
And if not removed on a regular basis, with thorough cleaning, these micro-fibers find their way into your lungs, creating yet another health problem for your body to fight.
Your body is designed to eliminate unwanted stuff. Some of the ways it does so are: exhalation, perspiration sneezing and coughing.
In your car, rather than dissipate into the environment, all these unwanted substances and microorganisms become trapped in an enclosed space. They linger in the air, and deposit on every surface on the interior of your car.
And when you spend time in your car, you are constantly and repeatedly exposed to all these over and over again
It creates extra work for your immune system, and drains your body’s energy resources.
Bottom line is this: Your car can be a toxic and dangerous place for your (and your family’s) health. Even more so, if you’re travelling in the car with young children or elderly people, whose immune systems are not as strong, and could quickly get overwhelmed.
You owe it to yourself (and your family) to do everything in your power to fend off this silent and relentless attack.
When you act on the secret I just shared with you, you start noticing the effects right away:
Improved mental clarity (with improved productivity and increased performance at work and home)
Increased energy level (which results in less downtime, and more time for things you really enjoy)
Better physical shape (because of less burden on your immune system)
Overall better feeling and increased happiness
Besides the physical benefits, there’s also an added mental benefit
Did you ever notice that every time you get in a dirty car, your mood instantly drops?
Scientists discovered there’s a direct correlation between dirt (clutter) and mood.
The little known reason behind this is that your brain is constantly working to make sense of your surroundings. And when the immediate space is overfilled with dirt and objects, your brain works overtime.
It gets tired easily, and your mood is now negatively affected.
So, given all the different ways your car is affecting your health...
What can you do about it?
Eliminate clutter. Cluttered areas collect dust and make cleaning difficult. By getting rid of clutter, you reduce dust build-up and ensure better cleaning.
Vacuum frequently. Vacuuming alone does not get rid of chemical residue, but reduces it considerably. It picks up loose dirt and particles, such as crumbs, skin flakes, carpet micro-fibers, mold spores and brake dust.
A thorough vacuuming at least once a month is good practice.
Wipe and clean hard surfaces with a damp cloth. Wiping with a dry cloth stirs up the dust, along with dust mite residue, and increases the chance of you breathing it in. The damp cloth traps dust particles and makes for more effective cleaning.
Expose areas to sunlight. Dust mites love humidity and die when humidity drops below 40%.
Shampoo the carpets often. Shampooing deep cleans the carpet and reduces embedded dirt, including skin flakes and dust mite residue.
Have your car cleaned by a professional. A professional car cleaning company has the tools and knowledge to do the job for you.