Is your van dashboard hidden under take-away wrappers and old newspapers?

Footwells that are knee-deep in rubbish and the stains of spilled drinks on upholstery may be a common laughing matter among working drivers. But, perhaps it’s time to realise there could be a serious side to keeping your vehicle a bit cleaner on the inside.

Research from Motorpoint found that many of our vehicle interiors are so dirty and neglected that they pose a health risk. For professional drivers, spending a lot of their time in such an environment could be worrying news.

In a poll of typical drivers across the UK, Motorpoint found that only 1 in 5 (18%) drivers clean the inside of their vehicles three times a year or fewer, with almost 1 in 10 (9%) cleaning the interior just twice a year or less. And, in terms of gender when it comes to cleaning a vehicle, men tended to focus on making the exterior glisten, while women focussed on not having to sit in a grubby interior.

Furthermore, Motorpoint also found that 94% of UK drivers eat or drink in their vehicle, and a further 58% admitted that their pets travel in the vehicle with them.

In a swab test, Motorpoint tested a typical driver’s vehicle (someone who travels with their pets as well as eating and drinking in their vehicle). Here are the four particularly bacteria-infested areas:

1. The boot: most likely caused by the driver’s canine companion bringing more bacteria into the vehicle.

2. The driver’s footwell: while not surprising, it’s a stark reminder that if you drop what you’re eating, you shouldn’t play the 5-second rule (not that you should be anyway when you’re driving)!

3. Seatbelt button: perhaps because it’s easy to miss due to its size or the fact you would need something other than a hoover to clean it, the seatbelt button picks up a lot of bacteria from its everyday use.

4. Handbrake: again, perhaps because it’s awkward to clean, as well as the ease with which it can get in the way when passing food or drink across it from passengers or compartments, the handbrake tends to gather bacteria.

However, the rear-view mirror, steering wheel rim and gear stick all seemed to be the cleanest across the vehicle - which is surprising considering they’re all pretty well-used parts of the vehicle.

So next time you spill a drink on your seat or throw some rubbish on the floor of your vehicle, think about all the associated health risks that you could be bringing upon yourself.