And in which areas do germs most like to live?


The inside of our cars can be the perfect place for germs to linger but which areas within our interior do most germs like to live?

A new study carried out in the UK now reveals all, after taking swabs from 20 areas of the interior of a car that drivers and passengers come into contact with the most – the results might be somewhat shocking and surprising.

According to the swabs taken from the steering wheel, which is one of the most touched parts inside a car, this area was one of the most germ-free places to be swabbed, whereas the boot of the car being tested had been used to carry pets and turned out to be the most contaminated area!

And in which areas do the most germs like to live?

How many germs are lingering in your car? © Copyright Elliott Simpson and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence.


A few other areas containing the most visible samples of bacteria were the handbrake, footwell and seatbelt button.

As part of the study, samples were taken from 20 areas of a car that has been used daily to carry children and pets around.

Agar-filled petri dishes were used to take the samples and then sealed to stop contamination. These were then left for five five days for the bacteria to thrive before they were analysed and compared.

The results found that the car boot was the most bacteria affected area, mainly due to the fact that the owner had carried pet dogs in the car on journeys.

When the samples were inspected they also revealed that the inside door handle, cup holder and radio volume button had also accrued a good amount of black and white mould.

Shockingly, three areas that had the least germs were ones that a driver would come into contact with the most – the gear stick, steering wheel rim and the rear-view mirror. Each of these you would expect to be high up on the areas covered with germs.

According to those carrying out the survey, the results might not have been so horrific had the owner of the car being tested kept their vehicle a lot cleaner.

When 1,050 car owners were surveyed, it turns out that us Brits only tend to clean the interior of our cars on average 10 times a year, which equates to once every five weeks!

And when you take into account that 94% of those taking part said they eat and drink in their cars, with 58% saying they carry pets too, these revelations might suggest that we need to bring out the cleaning products and vacuum a little more often than we do!

Alarmingly, out of those surveyed, around one in 10 (9%) admitted to cleaning the inside of their car only twice a year or less and it seems as though it’s the women who would rather get stuck in and clean the interior instead of sitting in filth, whilst the men were more likely to concentrate on the exterior and having that all important gleaming finish.


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