Your Handbag Is More Germy Than a Toilet Seat, Says Science

Your Handbag Is More Germy Than a Toilet Seat, Says Science (Getty Images)

Do you break out the Purell when you have to grip a subway pole? How about after you use a public restroom that happens to be out of soap?

You do? Great! But do you de-germify yourself after you rummage around in your handbag?

That might be a good idea, science says, because your purse is a petri dish of disgustingness.

Researchers at Initial Washroom Hygiene have found that the items women usually tote around in their handbags, like, say, lip gloss and keys, carry more bacteria than the average toilet seat. (The dirtiest item of all? Hand lotion!) Which can be problematic when you (I) find some free-floating almonds and M&Ms — loose from your package of trail mix — in the bottom of your bag, bumping up against your germ-coated belongings, and you pop them in your mouth like, "meh, why not."

Interestingly, leather holds more bacteria than other materials, so a $2,000 Celine satchel is way grosser than a free tote or a pleather messenger bag from Urban Outfitters.

But how did our purses become so disease-ridden? Well, bathrooms are partially to blame – espcially the kinds that don't have hooks to hang your bags on (so, every dive bar ever). And, since we touch our bags so much, they basically become hangouts for the germs we pick up throughout the day.

The researchers recommend that women wipe down their purses (and their hands!) with disinfectant frequently, but that seems like a lot of trouble. Not to mention, it'll strip that germy, germy leather of its color.

My advice? (Don't take my advice.) Go about your life as if you never saw this study! That's how you build up resistance.
I'm the Senior Associate Editor at StyleBistro. Follow me: Google