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Studies Look Into How Car Interiors Can Be Hurt By Sanitizers And Sunscreen

Car interiors and Ford seat covers are expensive pieces of kit, made with care and design by manufacturers and upholsterers. So it comes as no surprise that there are studies that look at how to prolong the lifespan of these products, as well as identify daily items and habits that damage them.

A recent study conducted for Ford Europe by Materials Technology Centre, Dunton Technical Centre UK looked into personal health care products, commonly used by people across the world, a lot of them doing so in close proximity to their vehicles.

They noted that personal health care products, like sunscreen, and insect repellents, have chemicals in them that tend to react with the surfaces covering a car’s interiors, which then leads said interiors to wear-out and degrade at a higher rate. Even hand sanitizers, touted for their hygienic properties, can be harmful to vehicle interiors. In particularly intense weather when such products are more commonly used, like tropical summers, their effects to car interiors are much more pronounced.

MTC Senior Materials Engineer Mark Montgomery stated that customers need to pay attention to the products that come into contact with their Ford seat covers, especially with consumer trends being in a constant state of flux, with new products coming onto the market regularly. He explains that even the most innocuous-seeming, and safest products can be problematic for car interiors, or, indeed, any kind of surface, if they come in contact with said surface hundreds or even thousands of times annually.

Hand sanitizers have ethanol, while sun protection lotions have titanium oxide, in direct proportion to their protection factor, while, insect repellents tend to have Diethyltoluamide (DEET) as their primary active ingredient. All of these chemicals have a tendency to react with the plastics and the natural oils that are found in leather, the most common material for Ford seat covers and other forms of vehicle interiors, with the former two being particularly reactive in high temperatures, which tend to be the case during summers, when cars tend to be park out in the open.

Ford’s teams in Dunton and Cologne, Germany, on the other hand, noted that protective coatings can be used for interiors via reformulating their chemical constitution, protecting the car’s interiors, keeping them new even if they get exposed to personal care products.


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