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Germophobes beware: Back seats of ride-share vehicles carry 35,000 times more bacteria than a toilet seat

Ewww….

Tony Bock/Toronto Star via Getty Images

People grossed out by germs might want to shimmy into a hazmat suit before they jump into an Uber or Lyft vehicle. A recent analysis shows the back seats of ride-share cars are far germier than rental vehicles or taxi cabs — and carry 35,000 times more bacteria than a toilet seat.

What are the details?

The results came from NetQuote, who swabbed the surfaces in a whopping nine vehicles to come up with the (non-scientific) numbers. Regardless of the small sample size, the differences in bacteria levels by comparison were staggering.

Ride-share vehicles were found to be three times dirtier than rental cars, and 219 times germier than the average taxi. The insurance provider put its findings in perspective by noting "ride-shares averaged almost three times more germs than a toothbrush holder."

The highest level of germs by far were on back seat window buttons at more than 5 million colony-forming units per square inch, followed by seat belts at just over 1 million. Door handles were the cleanest surfaces swabbed on the ride-share cars, but were still 64 times germier than the average car door handle.

While most bacteria are relatively harmless to humans, exposure to a build-up does, of course, increase the chances of getting sick. NetQuote suggests wiping down key surfaces of vehicles with soap-based wipes, and to avoid touching your face after coming in contact with surfaces in vehicles used for shuttling around multiple people a day.

Anything else?

Uber and Lyft drivers are encouraged to clean their vehicles on a regular basis, but NetQuote's "research" suggests taxi cabs do a better job of keeping rides tidy.

Passengers tend to take notice when they hop in the back seat and discover what previous patrons leave behind. Such was the case with John Chung, who told USA Today he recently jumped in a Lyft vehicle and found "fingernail clippings and questionable residue."

Germs are tougher to spot.

One last thing…
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