Don’t be scared, but this is how many germs live on your grocery shopping cart

We hope you have a donut to eat or a dog to pet after reading this, because we’re fairly certain this study on the number of germs that live on the average grocery shopping cart will make you a little sad. According to the “Germs at the Grocery Store” report from, the shopping cart at a traditional grocery store contains 361 times more bacteria than a bathroom doorknob — and we all know what goes on in the bathroom. Ick.

At a budget grocery store, the bacteria count on shopping carts is 270 times higher than on a toilet handle, and at an upscale grocery store, shopping carts have about as many germs on them as a keyboard. One more thing to worry about if you’re low-income — great.


There’s even more bad news about the germs on your grocery shopping cart.

According to the study, three-quarters of the bacteria found on a grocery shopping cart are “gram-negative,” which is the most harmful type of bacteria and is often antibiotic resistant.

If this news wasn’t worrisome enough, it turns out our fresh produce is covered in scary germs, too.

The study, which swabbed carts and produce at different types of stores, found that traditional grocery store produce was covered with 746 times more bacteria than a steering wheel, while produce at an upscale grocery store contained 11 times more germs than a pet food bowl.


“I was really surprised to see how much bacteria was found on the produce we swabbed,” Angela Kane, a creative team member at, tells HelloGiggles. “Overall the produce had more gram-negative rods than refrigerator doors, which is really intriguing.”

"I realize now how important it is to rinse your produce thoroughly," she adds. "Especially when it came to the budget stores we looked at, the produce contained more gram-negative rods than the fridge handles and the carts. That's gross."

That is gross. So wash your hands after you visit the grocery store — and wash your produce thoroughly when you get home.