Your car steering wheel could be one of the most disgusting things that come into contact with your hands, quite regularly at that.
It’s well known that many surfaces are riddled with bacteria. Nearly everything you touch often is probably much nastier than one cares to realize.
Cell phones, television remotes, door handles, microwave buttons, mouses and keyboards are just a few of the things many people touch every day that house hordes of germs. But, according to a recent study, the steering wheel is likely one of the worst.
Expedia Group-owned website CarRentals.com recently completed some research on germs and their impact on vehicles. The researchers surveyed 1,000 people during said study to find out how often they cleaned and sanitized their cars, and it was found that 32 percent of the subjects clean their rides just once a year while 12 percent don’t clean them at all.
Of course, 1,000 people – compared to all vehicle owners/drivers in the world – is a very small sample. Yet, think about it – how often do you sanitize your wheel?
One might spend the entire day at work without a single hand wash and simply jump into the car and head home – almost every day. The steering wheel is, by far, the most used part of a car and, even for people who clean their cars regularly, could be left neglected for years.
Per the study, the steering wheel has 629 colony-forming units (CFUs). That is six times dirtier than the average cell phone screen, four times dirtier than a public toilet seat and two times dirtier than public elevator buttons. Additionally, 20 percent of people eat in the car (that number seems like it should be much higher, by the way).
Seatbelts, cup holders and inside door handles are all strong germ-swapping spots as well. But the above, plus steering wheels, hardly compare to gas pump buttons and handles, which have millions of CFUs.
Wipes, isopropyl alcohol, various sanitizers and disinfectants could play a role in helping you rid your surfaces of germs. But, in reality, there’s not much you can do to avoid them completely.
It would probably help if you could minimize contact as much as you can, however.