Daily Dose

Weekly challenge: sanitize your handbag

File it high on the list of yuck factors: Purses—especially their handles—have up 10 times the level of germs than the average toilet seat. About one in five purse handles that were tested in a recent study conducted by a British hygiene company carried enough active bacteria to transmit infections.

Handbags apparently don’t get cleaned as often as those toilet seats so germs thrive on them, according to Peter Barratt, a technical manager at Initial Hygiene, who conducted the testing in the unpublished study.

The pricier leather bags harbor more microbes because bacteria thrive on their spongy texture, but items inside purses like hand cream, mascara, and cellphones were found to contain a lot of germs as well.

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While the finding clearly points to a need for better hand-washing hygiene, Barratt recommended cleaning purses as often as you clean your toilet. Women should wipe their purse and its contents once a week with anti-bacterial wipes. Men should probably wipe down their briefcases and wallets. A disinfectant spray would also work on surfaces that would be stained by a wet cloth.

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