You might clean your van after reading this

You might clean your van after reading this

New research has revealed that tradespeople’s vans are harbouring some pretty disgusting (and dangerous) germs.

The investigation, carried out by in association with the School of Biological Sciences at the University of Essex, discovered that the handbrake was the most germ-ridden part of the van and the most prominent bacteria found was Staphylococcus aureus – the effects of which can range from mild skin infections to life-threatening diseases.

The team examined the vans of six people: a builder, a carpenter, an electrician, a brick layer, a plumber and a dog groomer. Perhaps surprisingly, the bricky, builder and electrician’s wheels all harboured more germs than the dog groomer’s, with the bricky taking the dubious honour of first place, and all of them were worse than a toilet door handle.

Vans ranked in order of dirtiness, including a tested toilet door handle:

  1. Bricklayer
  2. Builder
  3. Electrician
  4. Dog groomer
  5. Carpenter
  6. Plumber
  7. Toilet door handle

As we all know, a tradesperson’s van is often a second home, full of rubbish from lunch on the road, as well as the essential tools for the job. Despite this, 14 per cent of the trades admit to never cleaning their van out.

The investigation found that most ‘touch’ points in all the vans tested were riddled with pathogens. Staphylococcus aureus was just one of many germs lurking in the tested vans. In fact, pathogens which could lead to pneumonia and endocarditis were also present on some touch points – both of which could lead to serious illness in extreme cases.

According to a survey of 500 van drivers, also conducted by, nearly one in 10 (eight per cent) admit they’ll only clean the inside of their van when it starts to smell. And only one in three (29 per cent) will empty rubbish from their van daily. One in seven (14 per cent) admit to never cleaning their van at all. Quite disturbingly, more than half (55 per cent) admitted to eating food in their van, then leaving the half-eaten food in place for as long as three days, giving germs the perfect opportunity to grow. More than one in seven (15 per cent) claim to leave used tissues in their van frequently. And only one in seven (14 per cent) will wipe the surface immediate if they sneeze. has compiled a range of top tips on deep cleaning a van to make it clearer for van drivers wanting to keep germs at bay – especially if cleaning isn’t their strong-point.

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