New Study Finds Rideshares Carry 350,000 Times More Germs Than a Toilet Seat

Get the dirt on how bacteria-laden this common type of vehicle is.

If you aren't a fan of public transportation, it's highly likely that you take a taxi, rental car, or rideshare on a fairly regular basis. And if you're concerned about the amount of bacteria festering in these vehicles, your worst fears have been realized, courtesy of a new germ analysis by the health insurance website

To get the dirt on how bacteria-laden these common forms of transport are, asked a team of people to request rideshares, rental cars, and taxis. Then, the researchers swabbed the surfaces of nine cars in total to find out how many colony-forming units they had. A colony-forming unit (CFU) is used to identify the number of bacteria in a given sample. It turned out, all of the vehicles had a presence of harmful organisms, including bacillus (which can cause infections and food poisoning), gram-positive rods (which can cause skin infections, pneumonia, and blood poisoning), and gram-negative rods (which can cause a variety of infections).

But rideshares had the most germs by far. While a taxi had over 27,000 CFUs, and a rental car had over 2 million, a rideshare had well over 6 million. That's in comparison to the 171.61 found on toilet seats. Yes, that means rideshares carry 350,000 times more germs than a toilet seat.

Obviously, the sample size of this study was small, but nevertheless, it's not good news for budget-friendly germaphobes, given that rideshare vehicles are becoming an increasingly popular way of traveling door-to-door in a relatively safe and reliable way at nearly half the cost of a taxi. If you do take a rideshare, however, you'll want to stay clear of the window buttons, which carry the most bacteria (over 5 million CFUs), followed by the seat belt (over one millions CFUs), and the door handle (over 1,000 CFUs).

None of this means that you should give up on carpooling altogether. But you might want to take some preventative caution by carrying hand sanitizer around with you and avoiding touching your face until you've washed your hands. And if you really want to play it safe, check out This Is Why You Should Never Use a Bathroom Hand Dryer.

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Diana Bruk
Diana is a senior editor who writes about sex and relationships, modern dating trends, and health and wellness. Read more
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