You’ll want to clean your family car after reading this

E Coli, Staphyloccus and mould are just a few things lurking in our cars, causing potential health risks

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Crumbs down the back seat, sticky hand marks, juice cartons on the floor, sound familiar? Children and cars are a messy mix, but now it seems they can also be a hotbed of something more unpleasant.

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Insurance and financial company Carfused.com has called in the microbiology experts at the University of Nottingham to discover just what can be found ‘living’ in our cars, and it’s not pretty.

The scientists took swabs from steering wheels, foot wells and seats to see what nasties were hidden to the naked eye. Back in the lab they found harmful bugs such as E Coli and Staphylococcus. While E Coli can cause severe food poisoning, Staphylococcus is less aggressive but can still lead to nasty infections if it gets into an open wound.

So why are our cars getting in such a state?

It looks like we think children are the main culprits for creating a bug breeding ground. A survey of 300 car owners found that nearly half blamed the messiness of their car on the kids.

With children continuously whipping up a mess in the back and pets adding to the equation, it’s no wonder one in five parents doesn’t want to clean their cars all the time. A quarter confessed to giving them a once-over every few months.

Of course it’s not just the kids and pets – there’s no use always blaming the dog for the smells in the car. It seems many of us leave a trail of rotting food. We seem to be a nation of nibblers and not all of it gets nicely packed away and taken with us when we leave the car.

Is cleaning once every 3 months enough?

It seems not. “With people across the UK using their cars to transport children and friends, it’s worrying to see that they would let their cars get in such a state,” says Kate Rose, spokesperson for Carfused.com. “The fact that so many say they only clean the interiors of their car once every 3 months is really worrying. Brits should be taking better care of their cars. By doing so, they will help protect their precious cargo from any bacteria and illness.”

The MFM bottom line

If you’re feeling guilty because you’re one of those who don’t clean your car regularly, you might want to add it to your ever expanding to do list – sorry. It may have been a small survey but you don’t need to test too many cars to know that if your car is neglected, it too could be harbouring some very unwanted guests. Time to get the kids back in the car, but this time armed with a brush and a cloth…

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