May 24, 2019
Whether you’re a total germaphobe or not, you know that certain highly touched things and places are utterly covered in germs, including cellphones, door handles, toilet flushers and, now, the interior of cars.
A study from Netquote, an insurance company, set out to swab virtually every inch of cars — from rideshare vehicles to rental cars and taxis — to see how many germs you’re riding with.
As you might expect, Netquote found rideshares to be the most germ-filled, followed by rental cars. Taxis were, by far, the cleanest.
In rental cars, the most germ-filled areas included the gear shift, steering wheel and seat belts. In rideshares, the window buttons proved to be the germiest, followed by the door handle and seatbelt. Taxi germs followed suit to the rideshare’s germ-y places.
Per Well and Good:
“It all comes down to the frequency of cleaning. All surfaces that are touched regularly by numerous people will be germy. That’s why we clean them,” says Jason Tetro, microbiologist and author of The Germ Files. “Taxis are required to keep their cars clean, meaning they may be using cleaners and disinfectants that will aerosolize onto the belts and help keep the microbial numbers low. Another thing to think about is how often people who jump in a cab use the seat belt versus those who are in ride sharing. I’ve been in some cars where even in the back seat the seat belt is required. This could lead to a huge difference in the usage, which will reflect the germ levels.”
If you're a frequent user of these modes of transportation, you might want to pack a travel-sized bottle of hand sanitizer with you at all times or some anti-bacterial wipes. And keep your hands on your lap.