The results of the study are frightening, as researchers found out that up to 700 bacteria live on each square inch of a steering wheel, compared to only 80 bacteria found on an ordinary toilet seat.
Dr. Ron Cutler, Director of biomedical science at Queen Mary University, said that one of the most spread bacteria found in car interiors is “bacillus cereus”. This bacteria can cause food intoxication and it is found mostly in pasta, potatoes and rice.
“While most of the bacteria were unlikely to cause health problems, some cars were found to play host to a number of potentially harmful bacterial species,” explains Dr Cutler.
“Most people clean their homes but many are neglecting to clean their cars and are driving around in vehicles which resemble a rubbish bin,” he adds.
Regarding bad driving habits, the study revealed that 42% of drivers eat inside their cars with regularity, and only a third of them clean the interior of their automobiles once a year. In the United Kingdom, 10% of drivers admit they never cleaned the interior of their vehicle.
The researchers point out the fact that the dirtiest space in a car is the trunk, which represents the home of 1,000 bacteria on a half square inch of trunk lining.
“A car is the perfect place for germs to breed, especially if you eat in it and leave litter or uneaten food around,” Dr Cutler said. "To avoid potential health risks it would be wise to regularly clean your car inside and out,” he concluded.