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Carrying more than you bargained for?


Study shows handbags are home to more bacteria than a toilet flush

Initial Washroom Hygiene, one of the UK’s leading hygiene and washroom services companies, today unveiled research showing that the handles of women’s handbags are home to more bacteria than the average toilet flush.

Handbag hygiene

Swab tests exposing the dirtiest parts of women’s handbags and the items in them were conducted on a selection of office workers’ bags. Bag linings, makeup and mobiles were also swabbed to unveil the filthy truth behind the personal possessions we carry around with us every day.

In total, Initial found that one in five handbag handles was home to levels of bacteria-related contamination which pose a significant risk of cross-contamination, while the single dirtiest handle swabbed housed almost three times this level. The dirtiest item in a handbag was found to be face or hand cream, with more bacteria on it than the average toilet seat, closely followed by lipstick and mascara.

Sought-after leather ‘it’ bags provide the perfect conditions for bacteria to grow and spread, due to their spongy texture. Hand hygiene is a crucial part of preventing bacteria from spreading and causing illness, and Initial recommends regularly cleaning hands and personal items like bags with antibacterial wipes or gel to prevent against cross-contamination.

Ultraprotect hand sanitizer range

Peter Barratt, Technical Manager at Initial Hygiene, comments: “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. Once these germs are on the bags, they can easily be transferred via hands onto other surfaces. Regular hand sanitisation is essential to prevent the presence of bacteria in the first place and thorough cleaning of bags is recommended to prevent the build up of contamination.”

Initial’s new UltraProtect range of sanitising products offers the most effective protection available against cross-contamination of harmful bacteria. The products (a gel hand sanitizer, foam hand sanitizer, hand and surface wipes) kill germs by destroying their cellular structure and forming an invisible barrier against a wide range of bacteria and viruses. Unlike other sanitisers, they provide continuous protection for up to six hours on hands and 24 hours on hard surfaces.

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