As thousands of cleaning professionals get ready to visit the ISSA/INTERCLEAN Tradeshow in Las Vegas, NV, experts recommend they pack sanitizing wipes to wipe down various surfaces throughout their travels. To minimize exposure to germs during travel, wipes can be used to sanitize airplane tray tables, overhead bins, restroom door handles, and the like. But those are not the only places that may need sanitizing.
Rental cars, especially in heavily visited locations such as Las Vegas, can also be loaded with germs and bacteria. In fact, a study by NBC News found that four out of six rental cars have what was termed very high concentrations of germs and bacteria-concentrations more commonly expected in soiled restrooms.*
According to the report, which involved six different leading rental car agencies in Miami, FL, two thirds of the vehicles had "sticky residue on the dash, leftover food, even vomit . . . with unacceptably high levels of bacteria that can lead to stomach and flu viruses and other diseases."
Further examination found that the most contaminated areas of the rental cars were:
• steering wheels
• door handles
• window switches
• gear shifts

In one l car, a rented child safety seat was covered with the bacteria that can cause Strep Throat, according to the report.
"Germs and bacteria on high touch areas have always been a problem with rental cars," says Jennifer Meek, Marketing Director of Charlotte Products/Enviro-Solutions, manufacturers of disinfectants and other cleaning chemicals. "But this report seems to indicate that the problem has gotten worse in recent years."
Apparently, during the worst of the recession, many rental car agencies cut back on their cleaning staff in order to cut costs. However, now that business has gotten better, many are delaying hiring new workers to clean the cars.
"It's unfortunate, but this same scenario is being played out in some schools and facilities all over North American," adds Meek. "There is a reluctance to re-hire cleaning people even if it risks human health."
*The study was originally undertaken in 2010; since then there have updates indicating same or similar results.