An Expedia Group-owned website called CarRentals.com recently dropped a study all about germs and their impact on cars. Noted on Jalopnik, the report surveyed 1,000 people about their car cleaning habits, such as how often they vacuum and sanitize. CarRentals found that 32 percent of people cleaned their cars only once a year, while 12 percent don’t clean it at all.
From a scientific standpoint, this is a major issue, as cars have numerous touch points and serve as a dining room for many. Handles, shifters, buttons, and seat belts are all hotbeds for frequent germ swapping. The study says that more than 700 different strains could be living in the average car at any time, and 20 percent of people eat in their cars. Mmm, tasty.
The dirtiest spot is obvious, as it’s the most used part of a car. The steering wheel reportedly has 629 colony-forming units (CFUs), which is six times dirtier than the average cellphone screen, four time dirtier than a public toilet (!), and two times dirtier than public elevator buttons. To compare, cup holders have 506 CFUs on average, seat belts have 403 CFUs, and inside doors handles have 256 CFUs.
The post expands beyond the car, as well, discussing the bacterial atrocity that is the public gas station. By their findings, gas pump buttons average 2.6 million CFUs, while the handle is drowning in 2 million CFUs.
Although the findings might sound scary or gross at face value, the reality is that everything people touch is dirty in one way or another. Sure, cleaners and disinfectants can be used to partially eliminate these “dangers,” but germs will always be a threat.
For more information and tips on how to minimize bacteria, the full report can be read on CarRentals.com.