Shock bacteria test reveals why you should clean your family car

Clean freaks – we suggest you look away now

(Image credit: Solovyova/Getty Images)

We all know that any surface can become a prime breeding ground for bacteria, from bathroom floors to kitchen worktops and everything in between.

And with this in mind, donning a pair of rubber gloves and deep-cleaning our homes is a core part of many people’s routine.

But while the inside of our homes may be spic and span, a new test has revealed that we may be neglecting another bacteria-filled zone we use every day – the family car.

Conducted by car care brand Simoniz the test put a car owned by a dad-of-four under the microscope and found levels of bacteria that were 23 times higher than that found on the handrail on a public bus – eww!

The driver’s seat of the above mentioned car was also found to have six times as much bacteria as that found on a kettle handle in an office kitchen, and twice as much as that found on a TV remote.

Alongside the driver’s seat, the dashboard control centre in a number of other cars was also checked for bacteria levels and compared to items we’d expect to be less than super clean such as a toilet flush handle.

Overall the study – which comes as Simoniz launches a nationwide competition to find the UK’s messiest car – revealed that cars owned by parents and pet owners had high levels of bacteria lurking on the driver’s seat.

It also found that 40 per cent of cars tested contained the same levels of bacterial infection as a toilet flush handle, while 20 per cent contained double.

The experiment also looked at levels of yeast contained in the sample of cars, which can cause potential allergic reactions in the skin, eye, throat and lungs.

It found that in 60 per cent of cars, yeast levels were higher than those found on a bus handrail.

On the results, Hygiene expert Luke Rutterford said: ‘The results of the experiment although pretty disturbing, are not entirely surprising, particularly when it comes to high levels of bacteria found in the car.

‘Areas in the car, such as the gear stick, control centre and steering wheel are high frequency touch points, and become an area of continuous bacterial contamination. This is more so when drivers eat and drink in the car, which can allow general debris to become a breeding ground of bacteria, that is then spread around the car where germs can be left to linger for long periods of time.’

Before adding: ‘We wouldn’t expect to eat and drink at the kitchen table and not at least wipe down the table and clean away the crumbs, but we seem to have an entirely different set of standards when sat in a vehicle.

‘The take home message here is to get your car clean and then keep it clean. It’s a good idea to keep a hand sanitiser in the car at all times, to ensure your hands are fresh and you’re keeping germs to a minimum.’

Freelance Lifestyle Writer

Miriam Habtesellasie is a freelance lifestyle writer who has contributed content to GoodTo, Woman&Home, Women and Miriam is based in London and is a fan of everything interiors, she admits to being spoilt for choice living in the capital. From stunning architecture right the way through to eye-catching department store window displays, she believes there’s always an angle to be found that can translate to our abodes.