Cars from ride-hailing apps like Uber and Lyft are dirtier than taxis, rentals, and even toilet seats, according to a study that collected bacteria from 9 vehicles

Ilia Kalinkin/ShutterstockFor ride-share vehicles, the window buttons had the most bacteria.

  • A small study from the insurance-shopping website NetQuote found that ride-share vehicles had far more germs than taxis or rental cars.
  • NetQuote swabbed surfaces in three ride-share vehicles, three taxis, and three rental cars.
  • The ride-share vehicles had 6,055,963 colony-forming units per square inch, while the rental cars had 2,000,510 and the taxis had 27,593.
  • According to NetQuote, a colony-forming unit is “the number of viable bacteria cells present in a sample.”
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Ride-share cars have more germs than taxis or rental cars, according to a study from the insurance-shopping website NetQuote.

The company swabbed surfaces in three ride-share vehicles, three taxis, and three rental cars. Samples were taken from a seat belt, a door handle, and window buttons in the ride-share vehicles and taxis and from the steering wheel, gear shift, and seat belt in the rental cars.


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The ride-share vehicles had 6,055,963 colony-forming units per square inch, while the rental cars had 2,000,510 and the taxis had 27,593. According to NetQuote, a colony-forming unit is “the number of viable bacteria cells present in a sample.” NetQuote did not disclose which ride-share, rental-car, or taxi companies it took samples from.

The ride-share vehicles also had more germs than toothbrush holders (2,140,953 colony-forming units per square inch), coffee reservoirs (32,635), and toilet seats (172), according to the study.

For ride-share vehicles, the window buttons had the most bacteria, with 5,054,000 colony-forming units per square inch. Seat belts had the most bacteria (26,000 colony-forming units per square inch) in taxis, and the gearshifts had the most bacteria (1,000,093) in rental cars.

Ride-share vehicles were found to have the highest proportion of bacillus germs, relative to other forms of bacteria. Bacillus germs can cause infections and food poisoning, according to NetQuote.

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