I bet you never thought about how dirty a shopping cart is.  Well now let me enlighten you- they are filthy and disgusting.  Until reading some news articles, my husband thought that I was INSANE for wiping down the carts at our local stores.   Apparently I’m really smart because recently released studies are saying just how filthy they really are.  Let me enlighten you.

Researchers from the University of Arizona (my Alma Mater thankyouverymuch) recently released a study after swabbing shopping cart handles (in 4 states) looking for bacteria.  Their outcome?  Of the 85 carts tested, 72% showed fecal bacteria.  No explanation needed, you know what that means.  On closer look, the samples from 36 carts or 50% showed E. coli among other types of disgusting bacteria.

Apparently this is more bacteria than you would find in a supermarket bathroom which makes this even more disturbing.  The reason is because the bathrooms are routinely cleaned with disinfecting cleaners, and no one cleans the carts  unless something is spilled on or in them.

What worries me more than anything is that this studied also showed that the kids who rode in the shopping carts were more likely to develop infections caused by bacteria such as salmonella.

What can we do about all of these bacteria you ask?  For starters, wipe down the carts with disinfecting wipes like Purell (our local Whole Foods and Gelson’s have wipes available).   That’s for keeping your hands safe, how about those little ones?  Well nowadays we have baby shopping cart covers.  They are fairly inexpensive and will give you piece of mind that your baby is being protected from germs and bacteria.  Just slip them over the seat and in your baby goes, and they are machine washable.

Something else that is dirtier than you thought?  Those eco-friendly reusable shopping bags.  Yes, they are great for the environment and come in handy for many things besides groceries, but they are FILTHY.  Think about this, you are putting your dry cleaning in a bag that could have salmonella or E. coli in it.  The researchers say this is like wearing the same underwear every day.  The best thing to do is also to clean them regularly with antibacterial wipes.

The moral of this story is this, protect yourself and kids by wiping down the carts with an antibacterial wipe and clean those reusable bags!

-Jessica Brown

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