Swab testing seats and cup holders, Betway’s shocking new study has revealed just how many germs are living and growing in cinemas.
Ever wondered just how many germs are lurking in the dark at the cinema? We’ve analysed swabs of cinema seats and cup holders to reveal just how dirty cinemas really are.
Film awards season is well underway, and this means movie-fever is once again sweeping across the globe. The likes of Oppenheimer, Barbie, and Poor Things have already won big at various ceremonies, and with the Oscars coming up in March, all eyes are firmly fixed on who will win the coveted golden statuettes.
On top of this, 2024 is set for some highly-anticipated cinematic releases, but a good movie isn’t all that you might catch at the cinema. In fact, have you ever wondered just how many germs are lurking in the dark?
To find out, the team at Betway has conducted a new experiment to find out just how dirty cinemas can be by swabbing cinema seats and cup holders, revealing exactly how many microbes are hiding in the dark. We’ve then compared this to the amount of bacteria found on the average toilet seat, and the results will shock you…
Our study reveals that thousands of bacteria colonies are living in cinemas
It’s estimated that movie theatres around the world will sell around 7.3 billion tickets in 2024 alone, which means a massive amount of traction for cinema seats. But what might this mean in terms of chair-based cleanliness?
Our study found that there’s 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. Note to self — bring hand sanitizer to the pictures (and maybe a hazmat suit)!
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. On the flip side of this, the cleanest cinema seat had just 80 colonies of bacteria, which is around 55 times less than the average toilet seat.
Cinema Cup Holders
A trip to the cinema wouldn’t be complete without a box of popcorn and some sort of fizzy drink (Tango Ice Blast, we’re looking at you), but just how much nastiness are cinema snack holders harbouring?
Shockingly, we found the average cinema cup holder contains even more germs than the seats — with around 2,396 colonies of bacteria living in one single cup holder on average. We don’t want to scare you, but this equates to 18 times more germs than a normal toilet.
Cinema seats and cup holders vs. toilet seats: A closer look under the microscope
Obviously the cleanliness of cinema 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. On the flip side of this, the cleanest cinema seat had just 80 colonies of bacteria, which is around 55 times less than the average toilet seat.
Meanwhile, looking at the nastiest of cup holders analysed, the dirtiest cup holder we tested had more than 3,010 colonies of bacteria lurking inside which is 22 times more than the average toilet seat. Plus, mould was even found in at least one of the cup holders we swabbed. Suddenly that ice-cold coke just got a whole lot less appealing.
What types of bacteria are found in cinemas?
If these results weren’t stomach-churning enough, we’ve also found the types of bacteria we’re most likely to find lurking in the dark at cinemas. From mucus membranes to mould, our research has delved a little bit deeper to shine a light on the four main microbes that might be enjoying the cinematic experience a little too much.
The thought of coming across these germy little friends might be a little spine tingling — and not in the fun, horror movie kind of way. But, as you can see, most of these bacteria are harmless and do tend to be found in almost all environments around us, so shouldn’t be too much cause for concern.
How to avoid bringing germs home from the cinema
Only one of the five cinemas tested had less bacteria in its cup holders and seats than the average toilet — which by anyone’s standards, is pretty gross. Before you swear off the movie-going experience altogether though, there are some simple steps you can take to make sure all you bring home from the cinema is leftover sweets.
1. Wash your hands as soon as you get home
We all know the best way to avoid the spread of germs is to wash your hands. You know the drill — soap plus water, for at least 20 seconds. Try to wash your hands as soon as you get home, but also remember to give them a good scrub before eating any snacks while at the cinema.
2. Change your clothes
As we’ve shown, cinema seats harbour a whole host of bacteria, and this can easily transfer onto your clothes. 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.
3. Take off your shoes
Belongings such as phones or bags can also bring unwanted bacteria inside. Make sure to wipe these down with a sanitising wipe or solution on a regular basis.
With so many great movies coming out this year, we don’t want to put you off the cinema experience altogether. Just make sure you’re following the basic hygiene rules, so all you’re catching is a blockbuster hit.
Methodology & Sources
Betway Casino conducted a scientific experiment to determine how much bacteria can be found at the cinema.
They swabbed five seats and five cupholders in five cinemas across the UK and sent these off for testing at a microbiology laboratory. They also swabbed and tested three toilet seats for comparison.
The average number of bacteria colonies for cinema seats, cinema cup holders, and toilet seats was then calculated. The sample testing also revealed the main types of bacteria found on each area swabbed.