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Is your handbag a health hazard?

Is your handbag a health hazard?

A woman’s handbag contains many of the essentials she needs to meet the demands of her world – but, according to studies, it also contains more bacteria than an average toilet seat.

“As women, we hardly go anywhere without our handbags,” explains Casey Rousseau from 1st for Women Insurance, “They’re extensions of ourselves and home to everything we hold dear. According to various studies, they are also one of the worst offenders when it comes to germ hotspots in a typical household, and according to a study done by Initial Washroom Hygiene, there could be as many as 10 000 bacteria on and in your handbag.”

Rousseau continues: “In recognition of World Handbag Day on 10 October, it’s advisable to note these handbag health hazards, and how to neutralise them.”

  1. Clean your handbag with anti-bacterial soap 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 bacteria.
  1. Keep your handbag out of bacteria danger zones. Avoid placing it in high-risk areas, especially bathroom counters, kitchen counters, floors, and toilet seats.
  2. Keep your bag tightly closed at all times.
  3. Wipe down the items in your bag including your makeup and cellphone using anti-bacterial wipes. Don’t forget to clean the bottom of the bag and handles.
  4. 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.
  5. Regularly go through the contents of your handbag to get rid of things you don’t need like empty hand lotions or lipsticks.
  6. Avoid 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.
  7. 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.


Get It Joburg West – November 2018

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