Women's Handbags Contain More Bacteria Than The Average Toilet Seat

Researchers discover shocking fact about our holdalls

woman rummaging in handbag
woman rummaging in handbag
(Image credit: REX)

Researchers discover shocking fact about our holdalls

Shocking research has revealed that women’s handbags contain more bacteria than the average toilet seat.

The research also showed that hand cream is the dirtiest item in the average bag.

According to tests one in five handbag handles home enough bacteria to pose as a risk to human health.

Luckily for us, lipsticks and mascara packets were found to be a little better.

Tests carried out by Initial Washroom Hygiene showed that leather handbags are the most bacteria-infested type of bag as the spongy texture is the perfect place for the bacteria to spread and grow.

Peter Barratt, Technical Manager at Initial Hygiene, said: ‘Handbags come into regular contact with our hands and a variety of surfaces, so the risk of transferring different germs onto them is very high, especially as bags are rarely cleaned.’

To prevent cross-contamination the researchers advise women to regularly clean their hands and bags with antibacterial wipes or gel.

A previous study by Initial Washroom Hygiene revealed that half of surfaces in workplace kitchens are covered in dangerously high levels of coliforms, the bacteria found in faeces.

More than a quarter of draining boards were also found to have four times the safe level of coliforms.


The leading destination for fashion, beauty, shopping and finger-on-the-pulse views on the latest issues. Marie Claire's travel content helps you delight in discovering new destinations around the globe, offering a unique – and sometimes unchartered – travel experience. From new hotel openings to the destinations tipped to take over our travel calendars, this iconic name has it covered.