Commuting With Germs

We are surrounded by germs. Aston University in Britain reminds us of this point in a recent report that concluded the interior of your car is a playground for germs. The report found that a typical car is heavy contaminated with up to nearly 300 different types of bacteria in every square centimeter. The gear shift and trunk were the most contaminated locations.

The study makes intuitive sense to me. When I was a youngster I had a terrible habit of getting carsick in the family car. My wife and I transport our dogs in our car, who are now in charge of getting carsick. We eat in our cars. We litter in our cars. Sometimes we sleep in our cars. We transport armies of children to various events in our cars. And, if you are like me, we only occasionally vacuum our cars so it shouldnít be a surprise the interior of our cars are heavily contaminated with bacteria.

Germs are indeed everywhere. Many of them are not harmful to humans and some are even beneficial to our survival. However, some bacteria can serious health problems, so sitting in a germ-infested car is not the best idea. My takeaway from the report is that routine cleaning of my carís interior is important to my health. offers a few eco-cleaning tips that will help with the germs:

1. Regularly vacuum and dust your car. Use cotton swabs to get those hard to reach places. This will reduce your need for deep cleaning with potentially toxic cleaning solvents.

2. Replace air filters regularly, particularly if your car has an interior cabin air filter.

3. Use an eco-friendly cleaning product for deeper cleaning when needed. According to, Eco Touch brand cleaners are specifically designed for car interiors. They are soy- and coconut-based and do not contain toxic chemicals like phthalates and volatile organic compounds found in many home cleaning products. The material safety data sheet for Eco Touch Dashboard + Trim and Eco Touch Carpet + Upholstery backs up this statement.

Routine car cleaning today to keep the germs away!

Andrew Peterson is a Certified Industrial Hygienist with over 10 years of experience working in the environmental and occupational health field. In addition to writing, he is currently the Environment, Health and Safety Manager for a medium-sized company that has been voted one of Fortune Magazineís Best Places to Work and one of CRO Magazineís 100 Best Corporate Citizens. He lives in California with his wife and adopted pound puppies.


Shanti S.
S S5 years ago

Thank you.

Duane B.
.5 years ago

Thank you for sharing.

Jerry t.
Jerold t5 years ago

Ignorance was bliss! Germs are not new. Only thing new is our paranoia.
If you keep healthy and clean parameters that make sense, you need not worry much.
Just don't hug the plummer, and you'll be fine.
How come the Indians lived outdoors all of they're pre-Columbian lives and knew very few diseases? Cities!
Gorilla farming can do much to clean up a germy old lot.

Sue H.
Sue H5 years ago

Sadly, unless you are living like Howard Hughes, there is No place that doesn't have germs lurking in every nook and cranny.

Cathy Noftz
Cathy Noftz6 years ago

~Great info!~

Lynndawn Eaglefeather

For what it may or may not be worth there is no litter in my vehicle and no eating is standard policy. A sealed re-usable water bottle, yes. Seasonal wipe-downs (4-7 times annually) and the vehicle is just plain clean. My grown kids would confirm that we never practiced eating in vehicle the whole time they were growing up. They would say, however, we stopped st any roadside space to consume foods and non-water beverages. Result: cleaner vehicle, less car sickness, less distractions while driving. Is just how we did it. When I sold my last vehicle at 16 years used by our family the interior had not one remnant of a passing potato chip. For us, this worked just fine. Less germ food, too.

prinda s.

thx for the info!

Danielle B.
Danielle B.8 years ago

Loved the article! I spray my upholstery with Norwex mattress cleaner (a chemical free spray containing live bacteria that feed off of dust mite feces and other organic materials found in the fabrics thus making the environment less than appealing for the mites to live in). For serious odours, Norwex has a fabulous Odour Eliminator--leaves no residue and will not stain. I also keep a moistened antibacterial microfiber cloth in my car at all times to wipe up any spills (it holds 10 times its weight in liquids) and do an occasional wipe of the dash, door, steering wheel, etc. You can check out these products at