Handbag Hygiene: What’s Really Lurking At The Bottom Of Your Bag?

Grab the disinfectant! We take a look at bag bacteria, and it's certainly not pretty.

Woman with handbag

We take them everywhere: the bus, work, the bathroom, you name it. We store our most precious items in there, like our make-up, our money and even our lunch. But have you ever thought what nasty germs and bacteria could be lurking inside your favourite handbag?

A quick look in team STELLAR’s bags reveals that we don’t exactly keep ours in pristine condition, with tampon wrappers, spilled bags of nuts and broken make-up palettes, sharing a home with our essentials.

But according to research there could be a lot more than our daily debris to worry about.

One study by Mentos Gum revealed that dangerous bacterias such as E.coli, and even traces of faeces are living in our favourite totes, while another study found that women’s handbags contain more bacteria than a toilet seat. Yikes!

On the back of these results, we decided to conduct our own survey. A quick office poll revealed that none of us have ever given our handbags a wash out with soap and water, though we do re-organise them regularly.

If affected, you could get gastroenteritis and have to be treated with antibiotics, but if left untreated for some time you could become septic

So, just how harmful is bag bacteria? We put that question to general nurse Molly Breen, who told us there are some very real dangers. “If faecal matter is ingested it can be quite serious because it’s so toxic,” she explains. “If affected, you could get gastroenteritis and have to be treated with antibiotics, but if left untreated for some time you could become septic.”

And that’s not all. “If faecal matter came into contact with eye makeup in your bag it could cause pinkeye too,” Mollly tells us, while you may also be affected by other grievances like pneumonia, bacterial meningitis, stomach cramps and diarrhoea.

So what’s the solution? A regular handbag clean up is essential, and a weekly wash with warm water, soap and a sponge can make the world of difference. In particular, focus on any dirt that is visible then use warm water again and rub away any water stains and leave to dry.

Being extra careful about what you store in your bag can help too. Keep all food covered in airtight containers and avoid spillages by wrapping it in a plastic bag. It goes without saying that you shouldn’t eat anything that’s made it’s way to the bottom of your bag either. (Eek.)

Lastly, it’s not a rubbish bin, so keep dirt and debris to a minimum by putting them in the bin not your Birkin.

By Pippa Doyle

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