Where are germs hiding in your car?

Paper cup in car cup holder

Your car could be hiding up to 16 times more germs than a toilet seat…

A new study reveals the most germ-ridden areas of your car, with cup holders sitting at the top of the list.

Hidden germs

ATS Euromaster lined up 11 cars to find out which areas collected the most bacteria.

After examining six key locations in each of the cars, cup holders were found to be the worst for bacteria build-up, with all cars registering potentially harmful germs in this area.

Dashboard buttons and seat-belt catches were next on the list, with high levels of bacteria showing in 90% of vehicles tested.

Surprisingly, the steering wheel itself came in fourth (82%), followed by door handles (64%) and the gearstick (55%), with comparably low levels of bacteria.

A shocking 800 individual bacteria types were registered in the car interiors, from staphylococcus epidermidis – a type of skin bacteria that can be harmful to those with low immune systems if ingested – to prevotella, a type of bacteria originating from people’s mouths and guts that can cause illness.

John Ward, Professor of Synthetic Biology for Bioprocessing, and leader of the testing team at University College London, said: “Studies have found that on the average toilet seat there are 50 bacteria per square inch. The most heavily contaminated parts of a car number between 2,000 and 4,000.”

Cleaning your car

During the second lockdown in England, you are advised to use your car as little as possible, only making essential journeys such as for food shopping or school pick-ups.

The advice on keeping your car germ-free is to clean it as you would your home, wiping down surfaces with antibacterial wipes or spray before and after you travel.

You’re also advised to take particular care if travelling with children, as they can pick up viruses they  might not come into contact with otherwise. 

Looking for tips and advice on keeping your car clean? Use our handy guide to help make your car a germ-free ride.

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