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How clean is your car?

23rd July 2015 Print

The nations’ cars are a breeding ground for bugs and dangerous bacteria, including staphylococcus and eColi, according to new research from car buying and selling website

After undertaking research which revealed that nearly one in 10 Brits (8%) admit to having a “dirty” car, Carfused tasked the University of Nottingham to dig deeper and find out what lies beneath the darker recesses of our cars. The Micro-Biology department at the University took swabs from steering wheels, foot wells and seats to find out just what was lurking underneath.

It’s perhaps no surprise that further investigation found bugs like eColi and Staphylococcus, when Brits’ admit to treating their car as a bit of a dumping ground for rubbish. More than half of Brits’ (51%) admit to dropping food in their car and more than a third admit to spilling drinks (35%). A further one in 10 (8%) admit to simply throwing rubbish under their seat without a second thought.

Perhaps even more horrifying is that one in 10 (10%) say someone has vomited in their car, with a similar number of people (7%) admitting that a pet has had an ‘accident’ in their vehicle. Despite these incidents, three-fifths of motorists (60%) say they still eat food in their car - which may explain why just over one in 20 (6%) admit that they have found rotting food in their vehicle.

With all this happening in the cars of Britain, it’s easy to see how cars can become a breeding ground for bacteria and germs. Especially as a quarter (25%) say they only clean their car interior once every three months.

Kim Woodburn says: “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 foot well 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 eColi.”

Whilst nearly half (49%) of Brits take responsibility for the state of their car, more than a third (36%) say their messy motor is the fault of their children. It’s perhaps no surprise that many blame their children for the mess with more than two-thirds (66%) of parents claiming they always transport children under the age of 10 in their car.

It’s clear that children and the mess they bring is a bone of contention for parents. Those with children are much more likely (33%) to describe their car as messy compared to those without children (20%). This might explain why parents are much more likely (16%) to clean their car once a week compared to those without children (9%).

Even though some parents say they clean their car regularly, nearly one in five (18%) say they see no point in cleaning their car because their kids mess it up every day. And with nearly half (48%) of parents saying a drink has been spilled in their car compared to under a third (29%) of non-parents, it’s no wonder why many parents might be exasperated by constantly cleaning their car.

It’s not just children who are getting the blame for the mess – more than one in 10 (11%) blame their friends for making a mess whilst a slightly smaller number (8%) blame their pets.

While the research has found some potential health risks related to having a dirty car, this isn’t the only repercussion motorists are facing. Nearly one in 10 (9%) say they always have to apologise for the state their car is in, with more than one in 20 (7%) admitting that they are embarrassed by the state of their car.

And having a messy motor isn’t just a matter of personal pride, it can also impact people when it comes to selling their car. One in five Brits (20%) say they would pay less for a car because it was dirty, with nearly one in 10 (8%) admitting that they have been put off buying a used car because it was dirty inside.

Kate Rose, spokesperson, says: “You normally hear stories of people taking real pride in their car, cleaning it every weekend and ensuring it’s immaculate at all times. It’s really worrying to see, then, just how dirty people are letting their cars get. We were expecting to find some bad stuff from the University of Nottingham’s testing but we didn’t expect to find bacteria relating to eColi in there.

“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. The fact that so many say they only clean the interiors of their car once every three months is really worrying. 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 vehicles value when it comes to resale.”