New research released today by the new car buying and selling website Carfused.com reveals just how dirty the nation’s cars really are. With the help of cleaning expert Kim Woodburn – from Channel 4’s How Clean is Your House? – Carfused.com swabbed 15 car interiors and sent the tests to The University of Nottingham’s Microbiology Investigation Centre for analysis with some shocking results.
Amid the shards of fingernails, pet hairs and crisp packets, the cars of students, parents, office workers and van drivers were all found to be contaminated by an array of microorganisms. This included environmental bacteria, yeasts, moulds and potential E.coli (often from faecal matter). Additionally, Staphylococcus bacteria, commonly found on the skin, were identified.
Worryingly, a quarter of motorists (25%) admitted to only cleaning their car interior once every three months, with a further 8% saying they never bother to at all! This is all the more surprising as half of Brits (51%) have dropped food in their car, whilst 35% recall drinks being spilled or muddy clothes being worn (32%).
Shockingly, nearly one in ten (7%) drivers has even witnessed their pets having ‘toilet accidents’ in their motor vehicles during a journey. And it’s not just animals that seem to cause drivers problems, with one in ten (10%) Brits revealing that they have had a passenger vomit in their car.
However, whilst passengers can be the bane of many motorists lives, the findings reveal that nearly half of the people surveyed (49%) candidly state they’re responsible for the poor state of their car – citing the foot wells (32%) and boot (22%) as the dirtiest parts. However, others accuse their children (36%) and grubby friends (10%). Almost one in 10 (9%) say they’re reluctant to clean their cars on a regular basis, especially since their kids will mess it up again.
Almost three in five people (58%) take full responsibility for cleaning their cars themselves, while others are lazier. They prefer to pay for a professional wash (32%) or pass the chore on to their partner (18%) or children (7%). One in eight (13%) blame the expense of visiting the car wash for their dirty ways.
It seems that despite the nation’s dirty habits when it comes to maintaining their own cars, many raise their standards when it comes to purchasing a new set of wheels. Understandably, one in five Brits (20%) would pay less for a car if it appeared unclean. And one in 20 (5%) even said they viewed a used car and was shocked at how dirty it was inside.
Kim Woodburn said: “It feels as if so many Brits don’t think twice about chucking their half-drunk bottles of pop under the seat or leaving used tissues in the foot well. I was absolutely horrified to find some of the gunk that was hidden under some of the seats!
“The most worrying aspect is that most drivers seemed happily unaware –or just do not seem to care whatsoever – about the crawling presence of bacteria in their vehicles.”
Kim added: “A little attention could help prevent spreading nasty bacteria such as Salmonella and E.coli. I cannot stress how important it is to follow basic hygiene rules behind the wheel, especially if you have young children travelling with you.”