Is your car trunk cleaner than a toilet seat ?


Maintaining a high degree of hygiene, by eliminating harmful bacteria and other organisms, is crucial to reduce the risk of illness outbreaks. Microbial control solutions have a role to play in that matter.

The inside of a car can host significantly higher levels of germs than the average toilet seat, according to a study by researchers at Aston University in Birmingham, UK.

The Aston University team performed a study to find what bacteria can be present in our vehicles, and reveal whether our car interiors are dirtier than a toilet seat. The findings might surprise you.

The study revealed that the trunk was the « most heavily bacteria-contaminated area of all the cars. All cars sampled in this study contained faecal bacteria in the boot, and in all cars, the boot significantly exceeded the bacterial contamination levels of an average toilet! » (source)

This can have an impact on food safety. Preventing food contamination risks at all stages of the food chain is vital, from farm to fork. Transportation is part of the chain and microbial control technologies come into play.

“The boot is often where we put our groceries when we go to the supermarket – and with a reduction in the use of carrier bags, there’s a much greater potential of throwing loose items into the boot of a car to travel home. With this in mind, we should be mindful of reducing the risk of this food by making sure to sufficiently clean any fruit, vegetables or other produce before eating it.”
Dr Jonathan Cox (Aston University)

Overall, the gearstick, dashboard, driver’s seat, back seat and trunk generally contained high levels of bacterial contamination equalling or exceeding the bacterial contamination you’re likely to find on an average the toilet seat and flush. However, in most cars, the steering wheel showed a very low level of bacterial contamination.

How come ? Due to the increased use of sanitiser since the pandemic, the study reveals that the steering wheels were hosting less germs than expected.

Dr Jonathan Cox stated that “A quick way to ensure your vehicle is kept clean in between deeper cleans, is to spray some antibacterial sanitiser onto a tissue and wipe over the gear stick/steering wheel. You could also consider getting the upholstery of your vehicle shampooed once in a while too. This way, you can ensure the car is clean bacterially as well as physically.”

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