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In recent microbiological research at the British University of Nottingham, scientists have found that a car’s interior is often covered with bacteria.

During their study, scientists collected samples from cars’ door handles, steering wheel, gearstick, and radio control buttons, as well as under the seats and on the car mats (where the grocery shopping is often stowed). The resulting swabs were analysed at a laboratory.

Apart from E. coli (which very frequently is the cause of unpleasant intestinal problems), Staphylococcus bacteria was detected on the door handles, steering wheel and under the seats. Bacillus cereus (probably brought into the vehicle on the shoes of the vehicle’s occupants and the paws of pets) was on the door handles, gearstick knob, car mats and under the seats. Maybe you will think twice the next time before placing your groceries on the car floor.

How on earth do these germs survive in such locations? Well, just try to recall how often you have cleaned your car in the past month and when was the last time you spilled a drink or tossed garbage on the floor. That’s not to mention all the travelling with your pet, if you have one. We should be concerned, of course, but there’s no reason for extreme alarm. The good thing is that you can easily take care of this little problem!

Let’s start with the air conditioning, from where bacteria can easily spread into the air we breathe. It is important to perform regular maintenance on your car’s A/C. The system’s air filters can become a home to microorganisms and therefore should be changed each year. “A filter’s lifespan depends on operating conditions. If you drive in dusty environments and in smog, it will be shorter,” explains Karel Starý, Head of Aftersales at ŠKODA. You should aim to disinfect your car at minimum twice a year. To do a thorough, deep cleaning, we recommend calling upon the services of car valeting professionals.

“When changing filters, it is important to use high-quality replacement parts. There are a lot of literally defective parts from secondary manufacturers offered on the automotive aftermarket. It is not just a question of the filtration material itself but also, for example, of the gasket material. A filter without an effective gasket is useless. Therefore I recommend to choose from the range of ŠKODA Genuine or Economy parts,” Karel Starý remarks. And how can you know when it is time for servicing? A good signal is mist on your windscreen that has a greasy film texture. Unpleasant smells indicate it is time to freshen up the interior, to disinfect contact surfaces, as well as change the pollen and dust filters.

“If your air conditioning is really filthy, we recommend having it deep-cleaned at your dealer or ŠKODA authorised service partner,” the specialist advises. “The intensive cleaning method will effectively destroy all microorganisms and remove unpleasant odours. Another advantage is that good professional cleaning has a long-lasting effect.”

Last, but by no means least, the most obvious feeding ground for bacteria is the floor. Be sure to vacuum your car regularly and not to leave rubbish or food items on the floor.