Most of us can agree that there’s nothing like that new-car smell.
Some manufacturers have even made air fresheners that carry that same “new car” fragrance, so we can forever feel like our car just rolled off the assembly line.
Here at Steve’s Detailing, we know all too well the hidden dangers of a new interior and can help you reduce toxins in your car using tried and true products that eliminate a variety of chemicals that could be making you sick.
Let’s first take a look at what’s lurking in your car then get to a list of steps you can take to reduce toxins in your car.
Toxic Chemicals Found in Car Interiors
Nobody really wants to talk about our vehicles making us sick, after all, for many of us with a significant commute, having a car is an absolute necessity.
However, some of these toxins greatly exceed air quality standards.
Believe it or not, more than 275 different chemicals are used in car interiors. Some of these chemicals are even worse than the “sick building” syndrome that you may have heard about in the news. Here’s a quick list:
- VOCs, including benzene, styrene, and formaldehyde
- Brominated flame retardants
- Polyvinyl chloride (PVC)
- Lead and heavy metals
- Carbon monoxide
- Nitrogen oxide
What are These Toxins Doing to Us?
Well, for starters, fire retardants, which are in all interiors are linked to cancers, autism, obesity, and male infertility. PVC plastic is probably the worst plastic out there and is harmful to pregnant women, babies, and can disrupt the endocrine system.
It seems hard to believe, but the facts are real and rather disturbing.
Of course, not everyone will be affected in the same way, but people with respiratory issues or chemical sensitivities will be at the most risk. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website has a lot of useful information about this subject, and worth the read.
How to Reduce Toxins in Your Car
To remedy the situation as best you can, the easiest solution is to get some airflow in your vehicle.
Open all the vents and windows to help dilute the concentration of odors and have a good filtration system. Of course, the other option is to remove the source of the smells, but for obvious reasons, that’s not exactly practical.
Let’s not forget about the mold factor, too.
If you are buying a used car, there is a good possibility it has mold lurking in it due to moisture, especially in warmer humid climates. But it is not just hiding in the seats. Another common problem is faulty air conditioners. Be sure to have yours checked out and read up on the Lemon Law to see if the manufacturer will buy the car back if affected by mold.
Finally, ensure that bacteria from food, animals, and dirt are not lurking in the crevices of your vehicle. It is so important to keep things clean. Here are some great tips to follow to reduce toxins in your car:
- CLEAN THE INSIDE OFTEN, microfiber clothes are the best, just wet and wipe, no need for chemical cleaners.
- GET A FULL DETAIL to ensure anything you miss is cleaned. At Steve’s Detailing, we leave no surface untouched and will even clean your engine compartment.
- REPLACE YOUR TOXIC AIR FRESHENERS with natural ones such as essential oils on cotton or in a diffuser, or baking soda.
- CAR AIR PURIFIERS are excellent, especially if you have respiratory issues or wish to breathe cleaner air
- REPLACE YOUR WINDSHIELD WIPER FLUID if you are sensitive to it. Vinegar and water with a tad of liquid soap work great.
- KEEP YOUR DISTANCE of at least three car lengths to avoid exhaust fumes from entering your vehicle.
- DON’T KEEP YOUR VENTS CLOSED always because bacteria will build up. Be sure to open and close often.
- DO NOT IDLE CAR in the garage. Carbon monoxide exposure can cause headaches and even be fatal.
- AIR OUT your vehicle whenever possible, winter and summer.
You Could Also Try “Baking” It
This is the process of speeding up the release of chemicals by “baking them out.” This process either involves leaving the vehicle in the hot sun with the windows down or cranking the heater on for a while.
Afterward, open all the windows and doors and ventilate with fresh air. From here you can grab a microfiber cloth and start wiping down the entire interior, being careful to pick up all the dust and debris.
If you are super sensitive to chemicals, you may want to repeat this process a few times. The first six months with a new car are the most toxic, so perhaps wait it out if you can before making a purchase.
Limit the Need to Reduce Toxins in Your Car
You can also do your research when buying a new car to see which makes and models use the best environmentally friendly manufacturing techniques.
In one study of over 200 vehicles tested for chemicals that “off-gas” from 2011-2012, the Honda Civic came out on top. The worst list includes the Mini Cooper, VW Eos, Kia Sportage, Chevy Aveo 5, Nissan Versa, Hyundai Accent, Mazda CX-7, Kia Soul, Chrysler 200 SC, and Mitsubishi Outlander Sport.
What’s Being Done to Make Cars Safer
Japan is leading the countries in trying to eliminate this toxic cocktail in vehicles by cutting out 13 of the compounds in interiors, including formaldehyde and styrene. Along with European manufacturers, they are trying to get ahead of the toxic car syndrome in many ways.
We are even starting to see significant organic changes to reduce toxins in your car such as seats made from raw materials like palm and soybean oils, plant-based foams, and plastics made from petrochemicals, and even the hibiscus tree and a particular type of grass utilized in today’s vehicle interiors.
Make an Appointment and Invest in Your Health
At Steve’s Detailing, we will do our best to reduce toxins in your car. As a trusted and knowledgeable vehicle detailing shop, we know what it takes to provide our clients with safe products and the added experience to eliminate or reduce the toxic overload your car may be emitting.
If your vehicle is on a weekly or monthly detailing regimen, there is no doubt that your exposure to toxic materials will decrease or be eliminated. Steve’s Detailing can get the job done. Give us a call today.