I have never been a purse person, but when my kids were little, I carried a bag that was always full of crap. My crap and everyone else’s crap. I could dig around in the bottom of that bag and find things that I could not even identify.
Not surprisingly, I have come to find out that that bag and most likely your bag, is a cesspool of bacteria. In fact, according to the Good Housekeeping Institute, purses are at the top of the list when it comes to household germ hotspots.
They travel with you wherever you go. You sit them on tables, chairs, counters, in grocery carts, and possibly even on the floor in the bathroom stall. It may be second nature for you to set them on the floorboard of your car where people have placed their germ-ridden shoes and boots.
According to the Good Housekeeping Institute, eight germ hotspots in a home harbor more germs than the average toilet, including remote controls, toothbrushes, and bathroom towels.
Researchers find the dirtiest part of the purse
Researchers from Initial Washroom Hygiene (a hygiene and washroom services company in the U.K.), tested the outside and inside of 25 different handbags and compared that data to data they collected on toilet hygiene. According to this study, the dirtiest part of the purses was the handles, carrying more bacteria than the average home toilet seat. Not only that, but one in five handbags were found to have enough bacteria to be a health risk…gross! It wasn’t just the purse itself that was an issue; there were things found inside the bag containing bacteria. The most bacteria-laden items found were bottles of hand cream.
More research reveals a variety of bacterium types
Researchers from the University of Mauritius swabbed the outside of 145 men’s and women’s purses and wallets to expose several types of bacteria. The most popular type of bacteria was Micrococcus, which grows naturally on our skin, in the mucus in our noses and mouth. Another skin bacteria, Staphylococcus, was also found. The third type of bacteria that scientists found on handbags is relatively disturbing. This bacteria, Bacillus, normally grows on dead and decaying material. Strange how it seems to live well on purses.
How to reduce the number of bacteria living on your purse
Here are a few ways to keep your purse a little less germy:
- Wash your hands more – Becoming a habitual hand-washer can help tremendously to keep bacteria counts on your purse down. The better your hygiene is, the easier it is to break the cycle of bacteria on your purse.
- Clean your purse right – Clean your purse at least once a week. If you have a leather purse, use disinfecting wipes that don’t contain alcohol or bleach. Use wipes to clean both inside and outside of your purse. Use regular antibacterial wipes on bags made from synthetic material. If you have a cloth bag, place it in the washing machine and dry it thoroughly.
- Be careful where you place your bag – Watch where you lay your bag. Bathroom floors are germy, so are counters and grocery carts. Use purse hooks and keep your purse on your shoulder as much as possible.
- Have a special spot to place your purse at home – Do not set your bag on your kitchen counter or your bed where it may possibly spread germs. Use a hall tree or a hook where your bag can hang and not touch anything else.
- Be careful what you put into your bag– If you carry certain things inside your purse such as shoes, keep them in a plastic bag so that they do not contaminate other items in your bag. And be sure that you keep snacks in zipper bags.
While it is not likely that the bacteria in and on your purse will make you terribly ill, it is still a good idea to keep it as clean as possible and watch where you put it, especially if you have a weak immune system.
-The Alternative Daily