In 2018 a company called Marketplace had researchers take 19 short-haul flights between Ottowa and Montreal at different departure times throughout the day. During each flight the researcher took swabs from the seatbelt, tray table, headrest, seat pocket and the toilet door handle. Of the 100 samples taken and tested at the University of Guelph, almost all swabs had high enough levels of germs such as yeast and mould to make a person sick, but it was the headrest that won the test.
The headrest and seat pocket showed signs of E. coli, a bacteria found in human and animal intestines, suggesting fecal contamination in those areas. These bacteria can cause food poisoning, gastrointestinal infection, cystitis and other sicknesses.
Worse yet, it turns out the seat with the best view is actually the filthiest, literally. According to a story published by The Sun, a passenger filmed herself wiping down plane seats with alcohol cleaning wipes, one for each the aisle, middle and window seats. Of the three wipes, the window seat came away with the blackest dirt and grime.
It makes you rethink just how much you really want those few fleeting minutes of aerial city views, doesn’t it?
The best way to clean a plane seat
- Use a disinfectant wipe to wipe down all hard surfaces first
- Use a new disinfectant wipe to wipe down plastic plane seats
- For upholstered plane seats, try packing disposable seat covers, which can be purchased online.
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Trying to catch some sleep on your flight? Watch the video below.