A porch railing is piled with Benadryl and other allergy medications. In the background is a gorgeous Midwestern scene: A grassy field stretches out to a stand of trees and a mountain.

How to Allergy-Proof Your Car

Allergy season is upon us, and many people are suffering with what often feels like little or no escape. Outdoors is the worst, but without proper precautions, your house might not be a safe place, either. And what about your vehicle? Luckily for the sneezers among us, there are ways to better allergy-proof your car. At least there you can enjoy the outdoors through your windows.

Discourage Unwanted Guests

The first line of defense is to avoid being a welcoming home for allergens. Try to keep the mess on your interior surfaces to a minimum so dust and pollen have fewer places to hide, and things are generally easier to clean. This means throwing away garbage regularly, and maybe not using your back seat as a storage unit (sorry!).

Also, ensure your cabin’s air source is protected by cleaning or replacing your cabin air filter as needed. Ask passengers to stop and wipe their feet before climbing into the car, so they’re not tracking as much nature inside, and invest in easily washable rubber floor mats for when they do. If you’re taking a pet out for an adventure, bring a few grooming supplies to try to minimize what they bring in, and prevent excess shedding in general.

Kick Hangers-On to the CurbHow to Allergy Proof Your Car

One of the best things you can do is to vacuum your interior regularly, and take the extra time to wipe down the dash. The easiest kind of upholstery to keep clean is leather, but that’s obviously not always an option. At the very least, don’t add additional fabrics, especially those of the furry or shaggy variety.

Speaking of furry, if you’ve taken a trip with your pet, use a lint roller to grab as much fur as possible from your upholstery. You might not be allergic to your pet, but your next passenger might be.

Another allergen to be wary of is mold. Usually you smell it before you see it — and cabin air filters can help here, too, in keeping the spores out — but once it takes hold, it can be a real pain to remove. Springtime is when you’ve got a bunch of spores and moisture in the air generally, and that’s a ripe combo for mold invasion.

Don’t Open the Door to Re-entry

The sun is out, your music is blaring, and I know you want to roll down those windows … but don’t. OK, if you must, at least check the forecast that day for atmospheric pollen counts; most reputable weather sources will provide that information.

Along those same lines, make sure your door and window lining is in place. When you turn the A/C on, put it in recirculation mode, so it doesn’t pull air in from the outside. To discourage mold growth, keep your upholstery dry, don’t leave wet clothes and towels lying around, and clean up any liquid spills immediately.

Keeping the exterior clean is important, too. You might have noticed pollen latching on and totally ruining that last trip to the car wash — keep fighting the good fight, so nothing sneaks in when you get in to drive. Keeping your car exterior spic and span will give you the added bonus of not tracking pollen into your garage.

The best thing you can do to protect against allergens is simply keeping things clean. It might be a pain, but then so is sneezing, watery eyes, an itchy throat and sinus headaches … you choose.

Check out all the interior products available on NAPA Online or trust one of our 16,000 NAPA AutoCare locations for routine maintenance and repairs. For more information on how to allergy-proof your car, chat with a knowledgeable expert at your local NAPA AUTO PARTS store.

Photos courtesy of Blair Lampe.

about author

Blair Lampe

Blair Lampe is a New York-based professional mechanic, blogger, theater technician, and speechwriter.  In her downtime she enjoys backpacking wherever her boots will carry her, rock climbing, experimental theatre, a crisp rosé , and showering love on her 2001 Sierra truck.

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