Not only are these findings a little (okay, a lot) gross…they’re potentially dangerous. According to UK study researchers at the Initial Washroom Hygiene, women’s handbags actually contain enough bacteria to be considered a public health risk.
“Handbags come into regular contact with our hands and a variety of surfaces, so the risk of transferring different germs onto them is very high – especially as bags are rarely cleaned,” said Peter Barratt, technical manager at Initial Hygiene.
The Biggest Offenders
According to the results, leather handbags contain the highest levels of harmful bacteria. Their soft, spongy exterior creates the perfect environment for germs to breed.
Handbag interiors also contained high levels of bacteria. Hand cream, lipstick and mascara, in particular, were found to harbor the most bacteria.
Preventing the Spread of Harmful Bacteria
Minimizing the spread of harmful bacteria is easier than you think. If you carry a handbag, make sure to clean it regularly with disinfecting wipes. The same goes for interior objects that you use on a regular basis (especially your makeup).
Proper hand washing with foaming hand soap is also essential — especially after touching the inside or outside of your handbag.
“Once these germs get on the bags, they can easily be transferred via hands onto other surfaces. Regular hand sanitization is essential to prevent the presence of bacteria in the first place and thorough cleaning of bags is recommended to prevent the build-up of contamination,” Barratt said.
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