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by Tim Beissmann

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.”