Screen-wash: your protection against Legionnaires’ disease
The pandemic and the resultant lock-down has seen many cars standing idle for long periods, or being used merely for short trips until very recently.
Even if you have used your car less so far this year, this does not mean that you can skip maintenance. In many cases, more frequent attention is needed.
One of the areas that you can address easily is the screen-wash. While driving with an empty windscreen washer bottle is illegal, many drivers tend not to use an additive during the summer months to save money.
Unfortunately, tap water within the plastic bottle can go stagnant, especially when kept warm for long periods. Bacterial growth establishes itself, the spores from which can enter the car’s interior through the ventilation system. This includes those that are responsible for Legionnaires’ disease, a lung infection that could be fatal in itself, let alone enhancing the risk of death, should COVID-19 be contracted.
The BBC and the NHS state that 20% of Legionnaire’s disease cases may stem from windscreen washer water <https://www.nhs.uk/news/lifestyle-and-exercise/legionnaires-risk-from-wiper-water/#:~:text=%E2%80%9CWindscreen%20wiper%20water%20may%20be,bacteria%20and%20could%20save%20lives.> . Adding a suitable screen-wash additive will kill the bacteria, however, and could well save not only your life but also those of your passengers.