These Body Care Products are Bad for Your Car

Summer has arrived and that means plenty of sunshine, fun activities and, yes, mosquitos. It’s a good thing for your body and your physical health to use products like sunscreens, hand sanitizers and insect repellents, but here’s the thing: Your car probably hates them.

You see, the chemicals they contain can react with leather and plastic surfaces, causing them to wear prematurely unless they are protected by special finishes or washed at least occasionally.

It doesn’t help that new, stronger products keep hitting the market all the time. That being said, even the most innocuous seeming product can cause problems when they come into contact with surfaces hundreds and even thousands of times a year.

Many hand sanitizers, including gel, foam and wipes, contain ethanol. Meanwhile, higher sun protection factor lotions contain greater quantities of titanium oxide that can react with plastics and natural oils that are found in leather, especially when it is hot. As for insect repellents, diethyltoluamide, or DEET, is a common active ingredient.

Photo: Juan Di Nella

Automakers typically conduct tests to ensure their car interiors withstand chemical reactions from various products that contact the seats, dashboard, panels and other surfaces, particularly when exposed to sunlight and hot temperatures (the inside of a car parked at the beach on a hot day can exceed 50 degrees Celsius).

However, car owners can do something about it, too. We’re definitely not saying you should stop using sunscreens, hand sanitizers and insect repellents, but consider giving your ride some extra TLC this summer. By that, we mean you should use dedicated car care products or even just soft, soapy water to wash every surface that you touch on a regular basis.

Your car will stay in better shape and your time on the road will only be more enjoyable!

Share on Facebook