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The hydroalcoholic gel is it dangerous… for the steering wheel of your car ? – THMS Magazine


For a few months now, because of the epidemic COVID-19, many are the persons who clean the hands regularly with a hand sanitizer (gel or hydroalcoholic). There is a tendency to sanitize their hands regularly at home, coming out of a shop or even by entering in his car, before getting behind the wheel. But can this affect our true-mount mechanical ?

The hydroalcoholic gel harmful for our cars ?

Indeed, if this practice (the regular disinfection of hands), is widely recommended for the health of the occupants, however, it can be harmful to the interior of the vehicle. Chemicals such as ethanol, that are found in gels, hand sanitizers, may attack the surfaces causing them to wear prematurely. Except, of course, if these surfaces are protected by special treatments.

For example, at Ford, the engineers test since a long time these new products on the materials used in the vehicles. The chemical composition of the protective coatings of the interior is then modified based on the results of these tests, in order to ensure that the interior of the vehicle remains intact in all circumstances. These tests are also made on the storage spaces, such as the linings of the chest and the plastics that adorn the interior. Remember that Ford is also testing resistance of its cars in the face… to the cacas of birds.

A “boom” of sales of hydroalcoholic gel

The use of gels hand sanitizers has experienced a boom since the beginning of the pandemic COVID-19. In Italy, for example, sales of hand sanitizers have been multiplied by 18, if we compare the weekly data with year-over-year. According to some recent forecasts, the global market gels hand sanitizers will be multiplied by almost two and a half by 2020 compared to 2019.

Of course, if the gels hand sanitizers eliminate germs on the hands, this does not mean that the rest of the vehicle is free of germs, especially if it is shared with other people. However, when cleaning, it is better to avoid using products containing Bleach or hydrogen peroxide, as well as products containing ammonia, as they may damage the anti-reflective coatings and anti-fingerprint (any detailer automobile worthy of the name will confirm this).

Special attention given to those areas in contact with the hands

“Particular attention should be paid to areas commonly touched such as the steering wheel, the handles, the gear lever, any button or touch screen, the controls for wipers and turn signals, armrests, and the adjustment devices of the seat “said Jenny Dodman, chief of Ford in the United Kingdom.

Teams of Ford Dunton, in the United Kingdom, and Cologne, in Germany, test samples of materials at temperatures that can in some cases reach 74°C – the temperature that can reach inside a car parked in the edge of the beach by a heat wave. For other tests, they simulate prolonged exposure to the sun, the sample is bombarded with ultraviolet light for a duration of up to 1 152 hours (48 days).

They also test the resistance of plastics at temperatures up to -30°C when they become more fragile, bouncing several times with a heavy rubber ball top to ensure that the plastic does not crack. Note that some drivers manage to “user “ their driving, due simply to the sweating of the hands….



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