Grocery Carts Are Way Grosser Than You Thought

how many germs are on grocery carts

You know those antibacterial wipes you pass up at the grocery store? You're going to want to start using those. 

A limited study commissioned by took a look at four types of grocery stores to see how many germs are on grocery carts and the results are unappetizing. 

The site had EMLab P&K swab surfaces, including grocery carts, at four types of grocery stores to get a look at just how germy things are. The study looked at traditional grocery stores, budget stores, superstores, and what it calls upscale grocery stores.

how many germs are on grocery store carts

Traditional stores had the most germ-ridden carts of the four types of stores. Meanwhile, upscale stores weren't so bad.

Traditional stores were found to have hundreds of times more colony-forming units of germs than the average bathroom surface. Hundreds. The Food Market Institute says about 85 percent of American shoppers routinely shop at traditional stores, so that's pertinent news for most people.

While the other three types of stores fared better, most were still found to have loads of germs on shopping carts. 

However, not all germs are created equal. The study broke down the type of germs in the results to give a better sense of what was found. 

how germy are grocery cars

EMLab P&K also tested refrigerator door handles and produce. It found similarly unpleasant results. Take a look at a complete breakdown of those findings here.

While the results aren't thrilling, the study is limited. It looked at just two stores in each category. Inside each store, it swabbed five carts, three pieces of produce, and three fridge door handles. So, there are definitely germs, but the sample size is low enough that it's dubious to extrapolate the results nationwide.

Nonetheless, these are results from actual grocery stores and most stores have those wipes at the door for a reason. This reason.

Basically everyone has to go to the grocery store at some point -- eating out for every meal every day would be delicious, but totally impossible -- so you should probably take this as an opportunity to steel your resolve to use those cart wipes at the front of the store. Oh, and wash your produce.

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Dustin Nelson is a News Writer with Thrillist. He holds a Guinness World Record but has never met the fingernail lady. Follow him @dlukenelson.