Germs & Toxins in Cars



Whether it’s road testing a car or ownership, automobiles can be a sickly environment. Regardless of the car make and model, autos are susceptible to chemicals, microbes and allergens.

Chemical Reactions

Some health advisors recommend opening the window for 10-minutes before turning on the air conditioner. The purpose is to release the toxin, Benzene into the atmosphere, commonly found in vehicles.

Benzene is a cancer causing toxin or carcinogenic. Preliminary research indicates that vehicle upholstery, car dashboards, and air fresheners emit the chemical.

(*Although Benzene is linked to leukemia, very little research has officially associated vehicle interior surfaces to the carcinogen).


Both urban and rural driving environments are predisposed to dust. Dust tends to accumulate along the dashboard. Allergens, including dust mites, mold and pet dander and other unsavory contaminants reside in the dashboard and floors of many vehicles.

enhanced-10196-1416496862-1Remedy: Regular interior detailing (vacuuming and sanitizing with a non-VOC cleaner) quells most allergens. Vacuum vehicles twice a month during the sultriest months.

Carbon Monoxide

In the summer–on congested roadways, cars can become a repository for carbon monoxide. In dense traffic, pollutants comprised of carbon monoxide trickle in via the AC vents.

Remedy: To prevent CO accumulation from circulating in the car, during heavy traffic, adjust the air conditioner’s settings to recirculate indoor air, only.

Auto care tip: During oil changes, have air filters replaced according to the instructions outlined in the car maker’s owner’s manual. This enhances your vehicle’s indoor air quality while upholding your car’s fuel efficiency.


Based on Dr. Chuck Gerba, a University of Arizona microbiologist, vehicles are the “moldiest of all forms of transportation.”

Dr. Gerba’s study on microbes and cars, showed that the dashboard  is the most germ ridden area of an automobile. Bacteria was also found predominantly around the coffee holder and change slot.

The germ study verified that car doors, floor mats and seats are rich with microbes as well. Muggy temperatures create a ripe for breeding ground for accelerating mold grow outdoors and indoors.

Fix: First wipe the dashboard with a dry cloth. Then, follow up with a moist cloth, using a natural essential oil (i.e. eucalyptus, lemongrass) mixing the appropriate ratio of water and alcohol. The combination of alcohol and essential oil disinfects and lubricates the dashboard.

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