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Do You Know What You're Carrying Around in Your Handbag?

purse work bag

What’s in your purse? Lipstick, wallet, cell phone … and a wide array of bacteria. According to a study done in the U.K., the handles on one in five handbags have harmful bacteria. And the inside of many a purse or tote has more bacteria than a public toilet seat.

How can that be? Simple. Hands go in and out of a handbag all day, and hands are full of bacteria. Plus, the inside of a handbag is the perfect breeding ground for bacteria - dark, closed, moist. And where does your bag sit when you are riding the bus or driving your car to work, or when you are in a restaurant? Probably on the floor.

There is some good news: most of this bacteria is not actually harmful. So while there may be a greater diversity of bacteria in our bags than on a toilet seat, the bacteria we carry over our shoulders is not necessarily going to hurt us.

But still … the thought of toting around a habitat for an army of invisible germs is not exactly appealing. Fortunately, there are easy ways to reduce the amount of bacteria in our bags.

  • Keep your purse open and let it air out.
  • Don’t store food in your handbag.
  • Once a week, empty your bag of all contents and wipe the inside, outside and straps with a disinfecting wipe to get rid of crumbs and dirt. If a wipe is not safe to use on your purse use a damp paper towel.

While you can’t really get rid of bacteria, you can get rid of the stuff it feeds on, making your pocketbook a less hospitable environment. And in the process of keeping things clean, you never know what you may come across that you’ve been missing!


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