Shopping Cart Germs

Q: The Whole Foods where I shop provides wipes next to the shopping carts to clean off any bacteria. Is this a good idea?

A: Wiping down any surface that comes into contact with many sets of hands is a good idea. Iím particularly fond of this self-service approach. People should take their health and well-being into their own hands!

Dr. Brent Ridge is the health expert for Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia. You can call and ask him a question live every Tuesday at 2 p.m. Eastern on Sirius Satellite Radio, Channel 112 (1.866.675.6675). You can also follow along as he learns to grow his own food and raise goats on his farm in upstate New York by visiting

Got a health question for Dr. Brent? E-mail him at


Danuta Watola
Danuta W5 years ago

Thanks for the info

K s Goh
KS Goh7 years ago

Thanks for the article.

Jann Jones
Jann Jones7 years ago

The stores where I shop have put up containers of sanitizing wipes so that patrons can cleanse their carts prior to use, and I include anywhere my hands, arms, skin,will touch. Kudos.

Vural K.
Past Member 8 years ago



Tanya Jenkins
T Jenkins9 years ago

There are many issues regarding shopping carts in regard to cleanliness and the use by so many different people. One solution I know of, especially for those with small kids, is a covering that can be taken to the store and placed in the cart on the fold down seat and handle then removed and washed later. Check out

Heidi S.
Heidi S9 years ago

I work in a grocery store and often when I am in the ladies' room, I have observed MANY customers who use the toilet and then just walk out the door! Perhaps to then go sort through the apples? Shopping carts in general are loaded with e-coli bacteria which is from unwashed hands as one source.
Even those who wash - many just do a quick rinse off and out they go. You should suds your hands (include those thumbs!) for no less than 30 seconds. And I have been taught that to disinfect effectively, you need to keep a surface wet with the disinfectant for no less than 60 seconds. When one does not disinfect / wash up correctly - all is for naught. Kids can learn these simple rules as well. We accept getting sick so frequently as normal and most people are very inconsiderate when it comes to sharing their germs.

Elizabeth Y.
Elizabeth Y.9 years ago

I forgot to add, I steer away from antimicrobial products. Many of my patients are ill with resistant bacterial diseases, I've seen the effect and cost this has on our health care system.

Elizabeth Y.
Elizabeth Y.9 years ago

Alcohol gel, get youself a small bottle for purse or pocket, it can also be wiped over the cart handle. Personally, I carry one to clean my hands after handling soggy packages of meat at the meat counter.

When it comes to cart germs, I'm more concerned with the child seat and how many have sat there in soiled diapers. I'm compulsive about cleaning the bottom of my purse before taking it home.

Emily H.
Emily H9 years ago

My problem with providing wipes is the amount of waste that will be produced. I would much rather see the store managers spend their money on a kid's part-time job wage to wipe all the handles down at the end of the day with a reusable rag. Imagine if every grocery store had these wipes, that's A LOT of waste!

Alex R.
Alex R9 years ago

A healthy immune system, sufficient sun exposure (or vitamin D & A supplementation) plenty of quality sleep and a balanced diet (without a bunch of processed, chemical laden toxins) are the best defenses in preparing your body to deal with daily bacterial exposures. "Germaphobes" beware! Certain ingredients in antibacterial products are far more dangerous and harmful than the "bugs" they are manufactured to combat; Triclosan being a biggie (endocrine disruptor) that mimics hormones in you body and may result in reproductive harm....
Regular but not obsessive hand washing with plain soap is a great idea as the alkalinity of the soap will help take care of the germs for you. Oh, yeah, and don't get a Flu Shot for Pete's sake!