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We hate to break it to you but your car is filthy. Like, really, really disgusting. Even if you’re a regular at the car wash and love the exterior shiny clean, the inside is massively dirty.
A new university study commissioned by Scrap Car Comparison has revealed that the inside of your car is dirtier than the average toilet – with the boot and driver’s seat often playing host to faecal matter!
The study, conducted by researchers at Aston University’s School of Biosciences, took samples from cars with varying ownership histories to establish bacterial contamination levels inside the vehicles, and to highlight just how thoroughly (or not) people actually tend to clean their cars.
Every car studied contained faecal bacteria, such as E.coli, with the highest levels found in the car boot as well as on the driver’s seat.
The gearstick, dashboard and back seat also saw higher levels of bacterial contamination than is found on, or even inside, the average domestic toilet.
The steering wheel was found to be the cleanest area of the car, likely due to the uplift in hand sanitiser use, thanks to the pandemic.
Older cars were revealed to have higher bacteria loads than those that have been on the road for a shorter time.
The filthiest bits of your car
Boot – 1,425 bacteria identified
Driver’s seat – 649 bacteria identified
Gearstick – 407 bacteria identified
Back seat – 323 bacteria identified
Dashboard – 317 bacteria identified
Steering wheel – 146 bacteria identified
Lead professor Dr Jonathan Cox says the findings should make drivers rethink how they clean their cars and especially to start cleaning all food after transporting it in the boot.
He commented: “The results of this study are fascinating, as they help to show that despite cleaning our cars, the older they are, the dirtier they generally are.”
This is particularly true of the boot and driver’s seat, adds Dr Cox. “Many of us have placed loose food shopping in our boots, or dropped the odd crisp onto our seat, before picking it up and eating it,” he says, and he’s right. We’ve all done it, haven’t we.
But we need to change how we think about cars and cleanliness, he stresses. “Often, we will clean our cars based on whether they ‘look’ clean versus whether they actually are clean, but you would never even think about eating off of your toilet seat. Upholstery, in particular, should be given deep clean and I for one, will always clean any used car I buy in the future myself!”
So if you have a car, might we suggest a clean asap? Here are some top rated products that might help.
This Worx Car Vacuum
This handy set has more than 150,000 reviews on Amazon and all you need to de-crumb, de-hair and generally spruce up your car. Plus, it comes in its own carry-case to store in the boot (once you’ve vacuumed it, of course).
Armor All All Round Wipes
These hard-wearing wipes remove dirt from most surfaces, including vinyl, rubber, plastic and cloth, but don’t contain the harsh solvents of many household wipes that could damage your car. Always keep a pack in the glove box.
Get 30 wipes for £3.31 from Amazon
Turtle Wax Power Out! Upholstery Cleaner
This car seat cleaner deep cleans and deodorises care upholstery from coffee, juice, grease, food and general muck, and brightens up the color of your upholstery for a long lasting effect.
Autoglym Leather Cleaner
Lucky enough to have leather seats in your car? Then you’ll need this specialized cleaner for hard wearing, but chemically sensitive surfaces that keeps them in tiptop condition.
Ticarve Cleaning Gel Car Putty
This look like a jar of kid’s slime but it’s actually a genius cleaning product might for all those hard to reach parts, from air vents and cup holders to steering wheels and door handles. Plus it comes in five rainbow bright colours.
Get it for £7.64 (was £10.99) from Amazon