International Handbag Day is celebrated on 10 October as an unofficial holiday that celebrates our purses, totes, crossbodies, clutches and everything in between…

For many women, our handbags are our medicine cabinets, tissue boxes, filing cabinets, and banks. There’s nothing that you can’t find in a typical working mom’s handbag. Mary Poppins would be in awe of the number of things the average woman manages to fit inside her bag.

But how often do we clean our bags out?

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How hygienic are they really? And how can they be cleaned?

“Handbags are one of the worst offenders when it comes to germ hotspots, and according to a study, there could be as many as 10 000 bacteria on and in your handbag,” says Casey Rousseau from 1st for Women Insurance. “In fact, it contains more bacteria than an average toilet seat,”

Due to the fact that handbags are well-travelled and constantly exposed to a variety of surfaces, they can become a coronavirus magnet and, according to new research, coronavirus can survive in your handbag for several days.

Here are some tips from 1st for Women on how to neutralise handbag germs:

  1. Clean your handbag with a disinfectant solution or disinfectant wipes daily. Thorough and regular cleaning of genuine leather bags and purses is especially important as their spongy texture offers perfect conditions for the growth and spread of germs.
  2. Keep your handbag out of germ danger zones. Avoid placing it in high-risk areas, especially bathroom counters, kitchen counters and floors.
  3. Keep your bag tightly closed at all times.
  4. Wipe down the items in your bag including your make up and cellphone using disinfectant wipes. Don’t forget to clean the bottom of the bag and handles.
  5. Dip your tube of lipstick in alcohol for 15 to 30 seconds and then wipe away the top layer of the lipstick to clean it properly. Leave lipstick and mascara in the freezer overnight to kill the bacteria and viruses.
  6. Regularly go through the contents of your handbag to get rid of things you don’t need like empty hand lotions or lipsticks.
  7. Prevent dirt, debris and rubbish from collecting at the bottom of your bag. Used tissues are among the worst culprits as the flu virus can live on them for up to 12 hours.
  8. If you carry food in your handbag, make sure it’s sealed in a plastic bag or container.

“Clean or otherwise, your handbag and the items inside it, could be worth thousands. So for peace of mind, if it’s ever stolen or lost, make sure that you have the right insurance cover in place, just in case,” concludes Rousseau.

10 000 bacteria & other nasties: What’s really in your handbag?!

10 000 bacteria & other nasties: What’s really in your handbag?!

For many women, our handbags are our medicine cabinets, tissue boxes, filing cabinets, and banks.

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While All4Women endeavours to ensure health articles are based on scientific research, health articles should not be considered as a replacement for professional medical advice. Should you have concerns related to this content, it is advised that you discuss them with your personal healthcare provider.