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Car interiors: Breeding ground for bacteria

July 23, 2015 | By | In News

 

UK car owners may occasionally clear out all the detritus that builds up in their cars, but many Brits could be unaware just how much bacteria is accumulating in their vehicles, new research has found.

The investigation carried out by the University of Nottingham has found that car interiors could be a breeding ground for a number of unpleasant bacteria and viruses – including bugs that could lead to E.coli and staphylococcus. Researchers took swabs of motorists’ seats, footwells and steering wheels to assess just what is growing in British cars.

While just eight per cent of those questioned admitted to having a ‘dirty’ car, more than half said that they dropped food while in the car, with 35 per cent owning up to spilling drinks. Making the matter worse, a quarter of people said that they only clean their vehicle’s interior every three months, which means that bacteria has plenty of time to multiply.

I was absolutely horrified to find some of the gunk that was hidden under some drivers’ seats – and it was really worrying to find the presence of a pathogen that could lead to E.coli.

A further eight per cent of drivers stated that they simply discarded rubbish underneath their seat, with foodstuffs left to rot and bacteria and spores potentially left to take over the cabin. Worse than this, however, 10 per cent of respondents said that they had been sick inside their car, while seven per cent had experienced a pet go to the toilet in the vehicle.

Despite the admissions, one in five drivers said they would expect to pay less for a car if it was dirty, while 8% have been put off buying a used car because of its dirty interior.

Commissioned by Carfused.com, this study featured Kim Woodburn – one the two presenters on TV show How Clean Is Your House?. Talking about the results, Woodburn told the Press Association: “It feels as if so many Brits don’t think twice about chucking their half-drunk bottles of pop under the seat or leaving tissues which they’ve blown their snotty noses in the footwell of their vehicles.

“I was absolutely horrified to find some of the gunk that was hidden under some drivers’ seats – and it was really worrying to find the presence of a pathogen that could lead to E.coli.”

Kate Rose, Carfused.com spokesperson, said: “With people across the UK using their cars to transport children and friends, it’s worrying to see that they would let their cars get in such a state. Brits should be taking better care of their cars. By doing so, they will help protect their precious cargo from any bacteria and illness but they will also go some way to helping keep the vehicle’s value when it comes to resale.”

Picture: Jonathan Fleetwood

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