Saturday, December 9, 2023


Keep “virus-safe” at the fuel pump

By Russ and Tiña De Maris

Some states are already relaxing restrictions put in place to curb coronavirus. While life may never really be the same as it was before the pandemic, one thing is clear – Americans are hankering to get back to travel. The fallout in oil prices has made for the lowest costs at the fuel pump in decades. But how can you fuel up and keep safe from COVID-19?

Personal care company Kimberly Clark tells us that even before coronavirus became a household name, gas pumps were some of the nastiest places around for being a germy surface. It’s not difficult to imagine some yo-yo, standing in front of the gas pump, wiping his nose on his hands before grabbing the fuel nozzle. Yuck! And since the coronavirus can hang around for a long time on a metal surface, the chances for virus transfer are way too high. So it’s time for a little personal protection.

When you step out of your rig, take a pair of disposable gloves with you. Put them on, THEN proceed to your transaction. Don’t wait until you’re ready to grab the fuel nozzle, because there’s other things you’ll need to touch before you start dispensing. In almost any fuel pump transaction, you’ll need to touch at least one button, maybe more. How many people have touched those buttons before you got there?

From the CDC. Click to enlarge.

Gloved up, order your transaction, and sure enough, you’ll also have to slide or tap your card. Now fuel up your rig and replace the fuel nozzle and close your rig’s fuel port. What’s next? We’ll make the assumption that the printed receipt is probably untouched by viruses, but don’t grab it quite yet.

First, carefully remove those disposable hand-covers. Grab the outside of one of the gloves near the wrist, but don’t touch your skin. Peel the glove away from your body, pulling it off, inside-out. Hold the “offed” glove in your other (gloved) hand. Now stick your bare fingers inside the wrist end of the remaining glove and pulling it off, inside-out, away from your body. You’ll leave the first glove inside the second glove, and toss them both in the trash.

Now your hands are free, but before you head back inside your rig, use hand sanitizer to complete cleaning up. At this point, we put a dollop of the hand sanitizer on one hand, and use some of it to clean our credit card. We then scrub well for 20 seconds, and then fetch the fuel receipt.

Here’s an alternative method if you’re caught without gloves. When you reach for the pump, use a disinfectant wipe to FIRST wipe down the handle, trigger and other parts of the nozzle mechanism that you might touch. When using this method, we also wipe down the first inch or two of the fuel hose – because sometimes we unthinkingly grab it to stabilize the whole works. Use the wipe to handle any buttons or touch-screen spots. We’ve found that with a wipe between your fingers and a touch-screen point it may take more than one whack for the screen to respond. Handle the nozzle with the wipe too, just as an added protection. Using the wipe method doesn’t negate the need for hand sanitizing!

Yep, it takes more time to go through all these hoops when pumping fuel. But we feel it’s a whole lot better than possible alternatives of pumping fuel bare-handed.


Russ and Tiña De Maris
Russ and Tiña De Maris
Russ and Tiña went from childhood tent camping to RVing in the 1980s when the ground got too hard. They've been tutored in the ways of RVing (and RV repair) by a series of rigs, from truck campers, to a fifth-wheel, and several travel trailers. In addition to writing scores of articles on RVing topics, they've also taught college classes for folks new to RVing. They authored the book, RV Boondocking Basics.



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BILLY Bob Thronton (@guest_124605)
2 years ago

People need to get over their fears, if you dont the stress will 1. Shorten you life, but 2. Make you so paranoid, your quality of life is done.

You want to get over fears, look at how third world countries live day to day, it’s a country club living here, comparitivly.

Scott Taylor (@guest_75258)
3 years ago

Why create more waste using a disposable anything??? Just have a pair of work gloves you use to fuel – gloves get dirty, hands stay clean. Why sanitize a credit card? You are the only one touching it. let’s not add to the plastic pollution stream – grocery bags can be recycled rather than tossed. Sad to see so many of them fluttering on the roadside fences and bushes as we travel. Save single use gloves for the medical folks please!

Tommy Molnar (@guest_104632)
3 years ago
Reply to  Scott Taylor

Scott, the good thing about plastic bags “fluttering on the roadside fences and bushes” is that they provide wind sock information where none are located. Just sayin’.

Ted Denman (@guest_75250)
3 years ago

I know in some states plastic grocery bags are impossible to find, but for us in the midwest, they are readily available. I turn one inside out, and use it at the pump , just like a glove. much cheaper, and able to find during this virus.

Mitzi Agnew Giles (@guest_75226)
3 years ago

DH and I have been doing this for years, plus cleaning the grocery cart handles.. I like the suggestions re the squeeges. Empty breadbags might be another suggestion, or disposable shower caps.

Nels (@guest_75213)
3 years ago

We no longer have a pet, but we carry a supply of doggie doo bags. They are cheap, safe and disposable. Simply slip yoir hand into one before touching anything at the pump, then just toss into the garbage ckntainer on the pump island. Its a great save on my supply of gloves for the dump station.

Betty Hood (@guest_75105)
3 years ago

I also read that you can use grocery bags. Slip one over your hand before you touch the pump handle and discard inside out as with the gloves.

Gene Bjerke (@guest_75101)
3 years ago

Since it is possible to do the whole process with one hand, I only use one glove (making my limited supply last twice as long) and keep the other hand in my pocket. I still have to wipe the credit card with sanitizer, though.

C.Lee (@guest_75081)
3 years ago

A buddy of mine suggested saving plastic shopping bags and using them as disposable gloves. I would guess they would be about at clean as anything these days.

At the very least, if caught unprepared, I suppose you could use a paper towel from the paper towel dispenser by the window washer station to grab ahold of everything.

Does gasoline/diesel kill the virus? I told my wife when she went to fill up her car to just wash her hands in gasoline when she was done.


Jim (@guest_75027)
3 years ago

What do you do with the credit card before sanitizing it? Can’t lay it down or you will forget it. Can’t put it in your shirt pocket before sanitizing it. Are you sure it needs sanitized?

Bob (@guest_75025)
3 years ago

I was at a COSTCO the other day and they had an employee sanitizing the pumps after each fill up. As soon as the customer left he would spray the pump.

Tommy Molnar (@guest_75033)
3 years ago
Reply to  Bob

They had a guy doing that to all the carts in the cart coral too.

Norval (@guest_75059)
3 years ago
Reply to  Bob

Wish they did that at our Costco in Elk Grove, CA.

John Nelson (@guest_75022)
3 years ago

Nothing in life remains the same. If you are a Bible student, read 2 Timothy 3 :1-5…critical times hard to deal with. Get used to it. We are still governed by selfish,opportunistic companies trying to scam us into believing that big pharma, auto manufacturers, and government by man can fix this mess. NO WAY! It does not belong to man to guide his own footsteps. We are fed artificial food,harmful ingredients,( glyphosate), and other nasty man made pharmaceuticals. When will this stop? Man doesn’t know. Time to start practicing LOVE of neighbor , love of earth, and hate greed .

Impavid (@guest_75019)
3 years ago

The squeegee handle you grab to clean your windows is a great place for germs too. The place I most often fuel up at has removed all the squeegees. I carry a can of spray glass cleaner, spray the windshield while I’m fuelling, then just before I pull away from the pump turn on the wipers. Usually it needs a squirt of washer fluid but it cleans good.

Billy Bob Thornton (@guest_74972)
3 years ago

Every public place is a nasty infectious place. Kimberly Clark is a company that sells essential cleaning supplies, so of course they report that. Look, just be sanitary, it’s not rocket science, it’s wash your hands, sanitize when needed. No, we will return to normal. You may not have seen up close and personal the deviation of the attack by Muslim extremist on America in 2001. I did, and life in NYC returned to normal a few years later. This will too fade into the abyss, it all does. Time heals all, the only variable, is the AMOUNT.

Kevin (@guest_74944)
3 years ago

Few gas station now have app that you can pay through your phone. But still have to touch the button to select gas and handle.

Will (@guest_74937)
3 years ago

Having a career in law enforcement before retiring, I’m hyper sensitive to bugs of all kinds like MERSA, hepatitis,,scabies, etc… Thankfully I avoided bringing those buggers home for 30 years by practicing hygiene in everything I did. My fueling routine for yeas has been to squirt a good amount a alcohol gel in my hand at the start of the fueling process, swab the pump handle with the alcohol gel, then fuel. After fueling, I again hit my hands with the gel.

But now that I drive a diesel rig, I simply keep a box of black nitrile gloves under my seat and glove up before fueling simply to keep the smell of diesel from my hands, which will then contaminate my steering wheel and cab of my rig.

Donald N Wright (@guest_74930)
3 years ago

I never thought about that. Thank you!

EAW (@guest_74926)
3 years ago

I use a new dog poop bag to cover my hand when pumping fuel.

Ron (@guest_74948)
3 years ago
Reply to  EAW

Easy to get dog poop bags – nearly impossible to get gloves. Poop bags work, but a little more trouble.

littleleftie (@guest_74920)
3 years ago

Excellent advice. It would be so helpful if gas stations could begin supplying both wipes and sanitizer at the pumps. This should be a constant action on all persons’ parts, not just now, but always.

Firefly (@guest_74960)
3 years ago
Reply to  littleleftie

I was in a sheetz yesterday and they have disposable gloves at the pump!

Chuck B (@guest_75009)
3 years ago
Reply to  littleleftie

Our local stations that put out hand sanitizer had it all stolen the first day. So that was it.

butch morgan (@guest_75141)
3 years ago
Reply to  littleleftie

some stations in SC do have sanitizers at the pump

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