Guess where you'll find more bacteria than your toilet


You’ll need more than soap and water, too

Do Tom Cruise or Willie Wonka have anything to do with bacterial infections? Besides their occasional stinkers of movies, a new study by Britain’s Betway reveals that there are more germs living and growing in cinemas than what you encounter when you sit on the John – 14 times more!

Not that it’s a study most researchers would ever undertake, but Betway’s did – going theater after theater, Q-Tips in hand, swabbing down seats, armrests, and cup holders. When everything was added up and analyzed, the researchers found an average of 1,864 colonies of bacteria on a single cinema seat. 

“Comparing this to the average toilet, which we found to house around 135 colonies on average, we’ve found that cinema seats have a whopping 14 times the number of germs on them,” they said.

“Obviously the cleanliness of the seats will vary across different cinemas, not to mention seat styles and fabrics. We won’t name names, but the dirtiest cinema seat we tested had around 3,000 colonies of bacteria living on it.”

Even the cleanest movie house was dirty! It only had 80 colonies of bacteria, but still, that’s 55 times less than the average toilet seat.

Nose-picking, dirt-lovin’, decaying food-loving bacteria

Think about who goes to theaters. Think about where they’ve been, whether they’ve washed their hands, whether their kid’s been outside tromping in the mud. Here are the types of bacteria they found:

Staphylococcus spp/Micrococcus spp: These bacteria are part of our natural skin flora, peacefully coexisting with us.

Bacillus spp: Found in soil, water, and even on our skin, these bacteria are usually harmless. However, they can sometimes contaminate food and cause foodborne illness.

Pseudomonas spp: This type of bacteria lives in water, soil, and even produce. While capable of causing infections in healthcare settings, it rarely poses a threat in everyday life.

Mold: This fungal growth thrives in damp environments and on decaying matter like old food. While some molds can trigger allergies, most pose no significant health risk.

And, you’re right – mold is not a bacteria, but if you get it into your system, it could cause some gastrointestinal issues.


Don’t want this happening to you?

But before you ditch the cinema altogether, there are a few simple steps you can take to ensure that all you bring home are leftover sweets.

As soon as you get home, wash your hands. Just pretend we’re back in Covid world and wash your hands with soap plus water, for at least 20 seconds. You’d also be smart to do the same before you stick your hand in the popcorn bucket at the theater, too.

Change your clothes. Yes, it’s extreme, but the bacteria you pick up at the movie is going to find its way to your clothes as well as your hands, so make sure to change as soon as you get in from outside, and don’t sit on your sofa or bed in the clothes you wore to the movies. 

Take off your shoes... and wipe down phones and bags. They can also bring unwanted bacteria along. Make sure to wipe these down with a sanitizing wipe or solution. 

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