Gross! The Dirtiest Part of Your Car
If you're feeling a bit carsick, there may be a perfectly good reason for it.
Your car is teeming with bacteria. Bacteria are swarming all over the steering wheel. And they're crawling on the dashboard. But the spot brimming with the most bacteria is the gear shift.
Reuters reports that in a survey of 1,376 car owners, microbiologists from Aston University in Birmingham, England found that the typical car has 283 different types of bacteria in every square centimeter! The gear shift has 356 germs per square centimeter.
Not surprisingly, the cars where children and pets frequently ride not only have the highest amount of bacteria, but also the greatest range of types of bacteria. In one car the Aston University researchers examined, bacterial traces of excrement were found in the trunk--the same place the family's weekly groceries were transported after shopping.
"Whilst most of the bacteria we've found are unlikely to cause serious health problems, some cars, particularly those which regularly carry children and animals, play host to potentially harmful germs," Anthony Hilton, director of Biology and Biomedical Science, at Aston University, said in a statement. "People would be horrified at the thought of eating off their toilet seat, but few realize eating off their car dashboard is just as likely to make them sick."
Cars with higher mileage had more bacteria and worse fungal air quality, something that is aggravated in the extreme temperatures of winter and summer. When the air conditioner or heater are switched on, the number of airborne bacteria and fungi significantly increase, especially in older vehicles that are less likely to have air filters.
Facts that will gross you out:
- We spend, on average, about three years of our life in our cars.
- 25 percent eat in their cars at least once a week.
- 25 percent admit their car is littered with food wrappers and empty drink bottles and cans.
- 16 percent confessed they typically leave uneaten food inside the vehicle instead of throwing it in the trash.
- 50 percent agreed they would never let their home get as dirty as their car.
The study and research findings were released by insurance.co.uk with the hope that drivers would pay closer attention to car maintenance and cleanliness.
--From the Editors at Netscape