Imagine driving a car with a used public toilet seat for a steering wheel.
Well, it might be better than what you’ve been doing.
A study conducted by CarRentals.com found that the average steering wheel has four times more bacteria on it that a typical public toilet seat.
According to the report, there are 629 colony-forming units (CFUs) of bacteria on an average steering wheel, compared to just 172 on a toilet seat. Things aren’t much better in the cupholder or on the seatbelt, where the numbers are 506 and 403.
One of the issues is that, while plenty of people eat in their cars, not to mention sneeze, only 32 percent of them wash their interiors annually. Among the most prevalent bacteria found are staphylococcus and propionibacterium, which can cause food poisoning symptoms and infections.
But even if you do disinfect regularly, there are still plenty of places to pick up some nasty stuff on your daily drive. The average gas pump handle, for instance, can have 2 million CFUs, though not every one of them is harmful.
Since the report comes from a car rental price comparison site, you won’t be surprised to hear that it also compared rental cars to rideshares, and found the rideshares to have three times as many CFUs.
Even so, it recommends bringing along some sanitizer the next time you rent.