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A car’s steering wheel is nine times dirtier than a public toilet seat, according to new study from the UK.

Researchers from Queen Mary University in London found that, on average, 700 bacteria live on each square inch of a steering wheel, while the same area of the average toilet seat is home to just 80 bacteria.

Director of biomedical science at Queen Mary University, Dr Ron Cutler, said one of the most common bugs found in car cabins was bacillus cereus, which is found in rice, pasta and potatoes and can cause food poisoning.

“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,” Dr Cutler told the Daily Mail.

“Most people clean their homes but many are neglecting to clean their cars and are driving around in vehicles which resemble a rubbish bin.”

The research revealed that 42 percent of motorists regularly ate inside their cars, yet only one third cleaned the interior at least once a year. Ten percent of UK drivers admitted to never cleaning the interior of their car.

The study found the dirtiest area of the car was the boot, with 1000 bacteria in every one and a half square inches of boot 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.

Dr Cutler’s advice was simple: “To avoid potential health risks it would be wise to regularly clean your car inside and out.”

  • hahaha

    Well only your ass sits on a toilet, what about the toilet floor?? I’d bet my clean ass that it is worse than a steering wheel.

  • Valet Dabess

    how can you let your car get that dirty? this make me wanna clean my car

  • Steven

    The back of my legs touch the toilet seat. But my hands which touch everything make contact with the steering wheel. No bloody surprise that the steering wheel has more bacteria!

    Who the hell pays these people?

    • Jober As A Sudge

      So are you saying the solution is for everyone to drive using their rear-ends?

      • stuzz

        Drive the porcelain bus instead?

    • Baddass

      Well put Steven, I’m glad they put their research time and funding into such worthwhile pursuits. Seriously…

  • A

    The only way for your steering wheel to be worse than a toilet is if you’re a slob. Unless you’ve got a long way to go, don’t eat while you’re driving and as long as you’re washing your hands when you’re meant to (after using the bathroom, touching pets, etc.) then there’s no reason why this should be the case.

  • http://caradvice OSU811

    this makes me sick!!
    I clean my car twice a week inside and out!!
    sometimes vacuaming it out two or three times a week!

    • Andrew M

      Yeah right,
      It must be a dole cheque paying for your car if you have that much time to vacuum it

    • Nasal Explorer

      It’s called OCD: Obsessive/Compulsive Disorder.

      • http://caradvice OSU811

        if you do the continual upkeep, it only takes 2 minutes to do!!!, surely anyone can spare a total of 5 minutes a week!, it only becomes a big job when left for weeks or months undone!!

  • Sumpguard

    I’ll never lick my steering wheel again!

  • Torque

    Will we soon see new Harpic or Glen 20 ads for steering wheel disinfectant systems. What about testing the handbrake, door handles and seatbelts, all this doom and gloom germs are gunna killya business makes monster profits. Who’s doctors ever asked, ‘Have you made contact with a steering wheel lately’.

    • Andrew M

      How many steering wheels have you partnered lately….

      There is bacteria, and there is bacteria.
      I bet the bacteria around your toilet, although statisticly speaking is in fewer quantity is more harmfull than steering wheel bacteria

    • http://CarAdvice Michael Todd

      You could take a ‘turn’ for the worse if you dont keep your steering wheel clean?

  • svd

    This is just conditioning everyone so that they are in favour of automated vehicle trains where you just ride in the car and it drives itself. You wont have to touch anything other than the seat.


    well I’d still rather eat of my steering wheel than a toilet seat

  • Al Juraj


    When the Top Gear trio bought E30 325i convertibles, the cars have been found to contain crap and mucus during an internal scrutiny. There was also a local lady driver on TV eating cereal from a bowl that was on her lap.

    Neglect is really the cause of dirty cars. Using a baby wipe occasionally to clean the interior, particularly the stuff you normally touch such as steering wheel, gear lever, handbrake (for non-Aurion owners), wiper and light stalks, etc. would do wonders for your car’s hygiene.

    • Ford Man

      LOL at this.

      Im probably breathing in bacteria right now.

      No point being wrapped up in cotton wool.

  • Jacob Martyn

    Oh dear!

    We need UV sterilizers built into cars now.

  • Wayne Kerr

    Rather than clean every surface I touch, it’s easier to use hand sanitiser.