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May 12, 2019

Your Lyft or Uber ride may harbor more bacteria than you think

Study finds that ride share vehicles can have more then 6 million colony forming units per square inch

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uber backseat pexels mentatdgt /Pexels

Taking an Uber or Lyft may be nice and all, but have you ever stopped to wonder how many people have ridden in that car before you and whether the driver has ever cared to clean it? 

Insurance company, Netquote, decided to test out exactly how much bacteria is growing in your ride share, rental car, and taxi ... and it's not great.

The company swabbed three taxis, three rental cars, and three ride-share vehicles, such as Uber or Lyft, and compared the results. While the study isn't exactly scientific (it certainly lacks a quality sample size), it still came back with same rather haunting results. 

What they found was that rideshares, by and large, harbored the most bacteria with 6,055,963 CFU (colony forming units) per square unit. Rental cars came in second with 2,000,510 CFU per square inch, and taxis were last with 27, 593 CFU per square inch.

The study found over 1,000,000 CFU per square inch on the seat belt, 1,810 CFU per square inch on the door handle, and a whopping 5,054,000 CFU per square inch on the window buttons. So, when your Lyft driver says you can get more comfortable by rolling the windows down...maybe think twice. 

The second-highest offender, rental cars, only had 403 CFU per square inch on the seat belts, but the steering wheel and the shifter harbored over 1,000,000 CFU per square inch for each item. 

Taxis were the least offending with only an average of 26,000 CFU per square inch on the seat belts. The door handle harbored around 1,570 CFU per square inch, and the window buttons only had 23 CFU per square inch. 

So, how can you protect yourself? If you're renting a car, bring along Clorox wipes or any other soap-based cleaning wipes to remove the bacteria from inside of the car. For rideshares and taxis, try not to touch your face, specifically your ears, nose, or eyes before washing your hands. Hand sanitizer is also a great alternative if you can't wash your hands right away. 

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