How Clean Is Your Handbag?

I have to admit, I’m a bit of a germophobe. I walk through the city with clenched fists, running through open doors, and I always apply hand sanitizer in copious amounts the second I stop moving.

Yes, this can be considered a little bit excessive, but my mild obsessive-compulsive disorder calls for it. Unfortunately, I just stumbled upon some research that has me cringing. Even with all of my precautions and hand sanitizing, can the germiest item of all be right on my arm?

What’s the one item that a woman carries around everywhere she goes (other than her phone)? Her handbag of course. I’m grateful for my handbag, as it contains all of my cleaning supplies, but it turns out that my handbag could be just as dirty as everything outside of it.

A study published by a UK hygiene services company has brought to light the shocking and disgusting truth of how unhygienic your handbag actually is, and I’m panicking:

1 in 5 bag handles has enough bacteria on it to seriously risk cross-contamination, in that it will easily transfer from your hands to your keyboard at work, to the conference room table, etc. Not only does this put you at a significant risk of getting sick, but others around you as well. This test was done on office workers’ bags, and though 1 in 5 has that risk, the dirtiest of them all was home to three times that level of bacteria. I’m cringing.

It was discovered that leather provides the perfect conditions for the growth and spreading of bacteria because of its spongy texture. Great, right? On the plus side, however, leather is pretty easy to clean -- and regularly wiping down your bags is a huge help.

Inside the bags, the study found the dirtiest item to be face or hand cream -- which had more bacteria than a toilet seat (ew). Next in line after these creams were lipstick and mascara, both of which already have a shelf life on their own without factoring in the added risk from your purse!

The problem here is that your bags are rarely cleaned, but constantly touched. You put them everywhere: from the floor next to your desk, to your kitchen counter, so they easily pick up and drop off unwanted germs.

I’ll most certainly be adding "wiping down my bag" to my long list of things to clean everyday…

Photo Credit: Getty Images