A recent study recently showed that there are greater quantities of nasty germs
inhabiting the average seat of a tube train than under the rim of a toilet.
Because of this a test was carried out by Top Gear on an Audi A6.
The results were really quite unpleasant.
Swabs were taken from the footwell, boot floor, glovebox, driver's seat base,
headrest, steering wheel, an air-conditioning vent and a child seat.
These were then wiped on agar plates (getting an O-level biology flashback?) and
left to incubate in a lab for four days. If you're tucking into a snack as you
read this, it's probably best you put it to one side...
Identified were 271 colonies of bacteria and moulds. Although after a
superficial glance the A6 may have seemed relatively clean, it was remarkably
Mould spores were ubiquitous in the environment and could easily be isolated
from the air and soil.
In the tests these were isolated from most parts of the car, being particularly
numerous in areas where soil accumulates.
More colonies of all germs were found in the driver's footwell than anywhere
else. Of the organisms singled out, some sound more concerning than others. Like
the bacterium Staphylococcus aureus, an inhabitant of steering wheels. It's
probably to be found there "if you pick your nose or sneeze while driving.
Disease-causing strains can result in skin and throat infections, staphylococcal
food poisoning and toxic shock syndrome. In hospitals, this organism is a
serious threat and often known as Methicillin Resistant Staphylococcus Aureus,
or MRSA, a major cause of wound and systemic infections." Gulp.
Also present, Escherichia coli. Stubbs reveals "the presence of this organism in
food or water is used as an indicator of faecal contamination; the same
principles can be applied to surfaces, where it indicates poor personal
In fairness, we should point out that it wasn't all germ-ridden in there. As to
the cleanest area of the Audi tested (arguably against expectations), this was
the child seat, setting a fine example.
Just because we cannot see them germs and disease doesn't mean that they are not
there. Below are the dirty dozen found in the vehicle.
Predominantly found on the human skin, does not cause disease.
Common in the environment and normally found on skin and soil. Does not normally
Found on human skin and up the nose. Some strains can cause food poisoning or
even major wound infections.
Unpleasantly, the presence of this in food and water is used as an indicator of
A very common variety of bacteria found in the environment in soil, water, boots
and, therefore, footwells.
Widely distributed in soil, water and plants. Can cause infections of the skin,
external ear canal and eye.
Inhabitants of soil. They can germinate in wounds and produce a powerful toxin
that causes tetanus.
Found in soil and the environment, the antibiotic streptomycin is obtained from
members of the genus.
Fungi commonly found in nature. They are isolated from soil, plant debris and
the indoor air environment.
Pigmented moulds widely distributed in air and frequently isolated as a
contaminant on foods.
Filamentous Fungi. They are widespread and are found in soil, decaying
vegetation and the air.
Commonly found in soil, can cause food poisoning or eye infections and
infections of open wounds.
The fog-it machine kills all known germs and most common bacteria. Create a
safer environment in your vehicle today.