With the UK under lockdown and non-essential journeys forbidden, you have likely been using your car much less than normal.                     


However, even when cars aren’t used, they need looking after. But where do you stand on washing your car in relation to current UK emergency laws?

Since cleaning your car is regarded as non-essential, in general, you shouldn’t do it. However, if you do need to use your car - for example, because you're a key worker or you need to do essential food shopping - then you should ensure the windscreen is clear so you can see properly.


It's also important to keep the interior clean to kill any germs - including, potentially, COVID-19.


Car washes are closed, so the only way to clean your car is by hand.


This question was raised on Good Morning Britain by Piers Morgan, who asked Dr Hilary Jones: ‘What is the rule, there are no car washes open – are you allowed under Government guidelines to wash your car?’


Dr Jones replied: ‘Washing your car is non-essential, apart from being able to see through the windscreen for safety.’


So cleaning your car’s exterior purely for cosmetic reasons would be considered unacceptable from a legal standpoint.


Tips for cleaning your car's interior:

Almost every exposed part of your car's interior should be cleaned thoroughly, with particular attention paid to areas touched most often: including the handles, window buttons, gear stick, and belt buckles.


Car cleaning checklist


Driver’s seat

  • Ignition/power button
  • Keys
  • Steering wheel, including horn, infotainment controls
  • Control stalks


All other seats

  • Seatbelts, clips
  • Head-rests
  • Seat pockets
  • Seat adjust controls



  • Air vents – passenger and central
  • Gearstick
  • Heating controls
  • Infotainment unit



  • Parcel shelf
  • Boot floor tab


Roof and doors

  • Door handles & releases
  • Door pocket
  • Grab handles
  • Window switches
  • Interior lights


Other areas

  • Glove box
  • Storage
  • Cup holders
  • Bonnet open lever