What To Look Out For When Cleaning Your Car : Many of us only clean our car when we have time or when we remember to. This would probably be very different if we knew just how many germs live in our cars.
Thankfully, bacteriology expert Professor John Ward and his team were on and hand to illustrate exactly that. He and his team swabbed eleven carsat an ATS Euromaster garage in Brixton Hill to find the different types of bacteria that live inside them.
Turns out, there’s a lot of bacteria festering inside the average car in the UK, some of which is actually harmful to humans. The caveat to the test? More bacteria types would be identified through a more invasive testing method. But here’s what was found nonetheless:
Staphylococcus aureus, Staphylococcus epidermidis
These are both bacteria found on the skin and can cause skin infection.
They can also lead to more serious infections, like blood poisoning and respiratory infection.
Though Prevotella and Burkolderia were not visible, Professor Ward suggests they are likely present in the average UK car. Prevotellais found in the mouth and Burkolderiain soil and water. They can both be harmful to humans.
Micrococcus luteus, Bacillus mycoides and Bacillus subtilis
These bacteria live on the skin, in the digestive system of humans, and in soil.
There is no scientific evidence to suggest these are dangerous to humans.
Where to look out for when cleaning your car
The worst affected areas in each car were:
Cup holder, Dashboard buttons, Seat belt catch
These regions picked up the most bacteria from the experiment. The cup holder and seat belt catch are, in particular, hotspots for germs. Dirt gets trapped inside these enclosed spaces and bacteria is allowed to accumulate.
The dashboard buttons are touched regularly, so understandably, this is an ideal breeding ground for germs as well.
The least affected areas were:
Steering wheel, Door handle, Gear stick
These areas are all flat, so they don’t hold as much bacteria or provide a space for them to duplicate as easily. Despite this, harmful bacteria were found in these regions, so it’s important they are disinfected regularly.
How were the cars tested?
11 cars were swabbed in the same six places. The swabs were put in agar plates in an incubator at 30 degrees. They were left for seven days and photographed during and after the experiment. Bacteria commonly came from skin and soil.
Understandably, cars are dirtier if they are carrying larger families and children. This means the car’s interior needs to be cleaned extra thoroughly if it belongs to a family with young children. Children typically carry more germs than adults because they have more social contact with others.
What’s more, studies show that cars in the UK are dirtier than a public toilet seat. This is unsurprising, as one in three drivers admitted to cleaning their cars only once a year.
Takeaways? Clean the inside of your car at least once a month. Ensure itis cleaned rigorously with antibacterial spray designed to kill germs. Get inside all the gaps and dust the dashboard buttons to prevent possible infection.
Want to discover more? Read the full report over on the ATS website now.
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