Study Finds Supermarket Shopping Cart 26x Dirtier Than The Average Toilet Seat

New research by Compare The Market reveals the dirty truth behind the everyday essentials that harbor the most bacteria, with a supermarket shopping cart unveiled as the filthiest of all.

With the importance of keeping everything spotless at an all-time high throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, Compare The Market swabbed eight everyday objects, to discover whether the things we consistently encounter are as clean as we expect.

To compare, comparethemarket.com.au also swabbed items that are often considered dirty; a toilet seat, doormat, house keys, and the inside of a kitchen bin to determine how the levels of germs compared.

With a total of 22,521 relative light units2 (RLU), supermarket trollies are revealed as a feeding ground for bacteria, compared to a toilet seat with 866 RLU.

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With a total of 22,521 relative light units (RLU), supermarket shopping carts are revealed as a feeding ground for bacteria, compared to a toilet seat with 866 RLU.

Following the research, comparethemarket.com.au reports that the top five filthiest essentials are as follows:

As more and more time is being spent at home, the research also focuses on electrical goods that are used almost every day of the week.


Remote controls came in as the most shocking and are on average (397%) – five times – filthier than a set of house keys.

Remote controls came in as the most shocking and are on average (397%) – five times – filthier than a set of house keys.

Despite phones coming back as the cleanest of all devices, when compared to the inside of a kitchen bin, they remain home to 191% more germs.

Despite phones coming back as the cleanest of all devices, when compared to the inside of a kitchen bin, they remain home to 191% more germs.

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Here are some more numbers:

  • New research using contamination tests by Compare The Market reveal just how much bacteria is living on everyday items
  • Supermarket shopping bags are 329% dirtier than the inside of a kitchen bin
  • Takeaway containers are home to over three times (260%) more germs than a doormat

Although additional laboratory tests would be needed to confirm, dirtier areas that display a higher reading, for example, supermarket shopping carts and takeaway containers, have an increased probability of harboring harmful bacteria, which could cause illness.

Anthony Fleming, General Manager of health insurance at Compare The Market, said, “During the COVID-19– pandemic, it’s important to remain vigilant in upholding hygiene standards, such as washing your hands thoroughly and disinfecting surfaces.

As our research shows, people shouldn’t forget to disinfect their essential items, as they can harbor far more bacteria than one might expect.

“It’s good practice to keep anti-bacterial products and hand sanitizer with you when you’re on-the-go. Remember to clean your electrical goods even when at home, as this can help prevent the spread of potentially harmful bacteria.”

To find out more about the research, go to Compare The Markets Health-insurance Dirtiest Household Essentials.

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