Abstract In this work we report on the simultaneous measurement of the hydrodynamic coefficient and the electric charge of single Bacillus subtilis spores. The latter has great importance in protein binding to spores and in the adhesion of spores onto surfaces. The charge and the hydrodynamic coefficient were measured by an accurate procedure based on the analysis of the motion of single spores confined by an optical trap. The technique has been validated using charged spherical polystyrene beads. The excellent agreement of our results with the expected values demonstrates the quality of our procedure. We measured the charge of spores of B. subtilis purified from a wild type strain and from two isogenic mutants characterized by an altered spore surface. Our technique is able to discriminate the three spore types used, by their charge and by their hydrodynamic coefficient which is related to the hydrophobic properties of the spore surface.