How Often Should You Clean The Handbag You Wear Every Day?

August 18, 2016 by Justine Schwartz
shefinds | Style

I’m not one of those girls that changes her purse every day–99% of the time I wear the same one. I like my go-to bag, it’s the nicest designer bag I own and it’s a neutral color that goes with everything and I think switching the contents of your purse every day is way too high maintenance. But if you’re like me and wear the same bag over and over–does it mean you have to clean it more often (or in my case, at all?). How dirty is the handbag you carry everyday? Here’s the answer:

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It turns out our handbags–from the handles to the inside contents and the bottom of the bag–are incredibly dirty and need to be cleaned regularly. According to a UK survey, one in five handbags revealed harmful levels of bacteria when tested. Yikes!

In the survey, the handles had more bacteria on them than the average toilet bowl (OMG!), and the inside content like creams and makeup had more bacteria than the average toilet seat. The bottom of the bag showed the most disgusting results–because women often place them on bathroom floor.

(A microbiologist confirmed the results of the survey to the Today show, stating “About a third of them have fecal bacteria on them.” Oh. Em. Gee.)

Genuine leather bags are even more at risk for bacteria because the leather is sponge-like when absorbing dirty and germs.

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So, what does this mean for us ladies? For one, you should never ever put your handbag on the bathroom floor, and for us city girls, on the subway ground. Use the coat or purse hooks in bars, restaurants, bathrooms, airports, etc., to hang your bag rather than placing it on germ-infested surfaces.

For leather, plastic and other hard surfaces, you can actually use disinfectant wipes or hand sanitizer to wipe your bag clean. This should be done daily or weekly at the very least. For cloth bags, it’s a little trickier–when possible, throw your cloth or linen totes in to the wash to get the germs out. For designer bags, the brand will often offer bag cleaning services for free or a small fee. It’s definitely worth it to have your bag professionally cleaned at least once a year.

READ MORE: The One Thing You Should Never Do When Cleaning Your Leather Handbag

And this is also a good opportunity to remind you to wash your hands after using the bathroom–those mitts can get dirty and transfer germs to high-traffic places like your makeup, your iPhone, to the items you carry inside your purse.

So, there you have it! The answer is that you should absolutely be cleaning your bag regularly!

[Photo: Oh To Be A Muse]


Editorial Director

Justine Schwartz is a veteran women's lifestyle editor; she's written extensively about style & beauty tips, health advice and wedding planning for more than a decade. Her work has appeared in New York Magazine, Huffington Post and New York Weddings. Justine has been with SheFinds since 2010; you can reach her via email at [email protected]

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