Research has found that the ideal breeding ground for germs is the steering wheel as only one in 10 people regularly clean it. Microbiologists found the wheel has 58% more germs than a toilet seat – 41,600 germs compared to 17,400.
Supermarket giant Tesco, which commissioned the report, reckons that company car drivers who ‘live’ in their cars, eating and drinking, are creating a health hazard.
Daniel Kyle, car care buyer for Tesco, said: ‘People are in constant contact with the wheel so naturally germs are passed on. If food or dirt is transmitted on to the wheel and not regularly cleaned, then the germs multiply and pretty quickly you can be left with an area more unsanitary than a toilet.’
A build-up of dirt and dust in vehicles can also lead to other health problems for drivers.
A spokeswoman from Asthma UK explained: ‘If a car has upholstered seats and there is a build-up of dust there can be the possibility of dust mites.
‘This can cause the symptoms of asthma.’
Tesco’s research has also shown the dirtiest car regions in terms of the percent of people rarely cleaning their cars.
The South West was the dirtiest with 55% rarely putting on the Marigolds followed by East Anglia with 53% and Wales with 50%.
Fleets should advise drivers to clean their vehicles inside as well as out on a weekly basis, according to Kyle.
He said: ‘The fact it’s more sanitary to sit on a toilet seat than at the wheel of your car proves we need to clean our cars more often. We recommend just a quick 10 minute clean, focusing on the steering wheel and hard surfaces.’