Here’s a Public Awareness post … it came through as an email and often those make me suspicious as so many can be hoaxes, but I checked it out on the Urban Legends page and it’s real. I’ve edited some of it out as a lot was repetitive. Another version of the story is here. Thankfully I always hang my purse up in a public stall. And I’ve never put it on the counter.

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I never gave it a thought. Who would have thought?

Mum got so upset when guests came in the door and plopped their handbags down on the counter where she was cooking or setting up food. She always said that handbags are really dirty, because of where they have been.

Smart Mum!!! It’s something just about every woman carries with them. While we may know what’s inside our handbags, do you have any idea what’s on the outside? You should think twice about where you put your handbag.

Have you ever noticed gals who sit their handbags on public toilet floors – then go directly to their dining tables and set it on the table? Happens a lot! It’s not always the ‘restaurant food’ that causes stomach distress.

Sometimes what you don’t know ‘will’ hurt you!

‘I drive a school bus, so my handbag has been on the floor of the bus a lot,’ says one woman. ‘On the floor of my car, and in toilets.’ ‘I put my handbag in grocery shopping carts, on the floor of the toilet while changing a diaper,’ says another woman ‘and of course in my home which should be clean.’

Most women told us they didn’t stop to think about what was on the bottom of their handbag. Most said at home they usually set their handbags on top of kitchen tables and counters where food is prepared.

In one sampling, four of five handbags tested positive for salmonella, and that’s not the worst of it. Microbiologist Amy Karen of Nelson Labs says nearly all of the handbags tested were not only high in bacteria, but high in harmful kinds of bacteria. Pseudomonas can cause eye infections, staphylococcus aurous can cause serious skin infections, and salmonella and e-coli found on the handbags could make people very sick. ‘There is fecal contamination on the handbags,’ says Amy.

Leather or vinyl handbags tended to be cleaner than cloth handbags, and lifestyle seemed to play a role. People with kids tended to have dirtier handbags than those without, with one exception. The handbag of one single woman who frequented nightclubs had one of the worst contaminations of all. ‘Some type of feces, or possibly vomit’ says Amy.

Experts say you should think of your handbag the same way you would a pair of shoes. ‘If you think about putting a pair of shoes onto your countertops, that’s the same thing you’re doing when you put your handbag on the countertops’ – your handbag has gone where individuals before you have sneezed, coughed, spat, urinated, emptied bowels, etc! Do you really want to bring that home with you?

So the moral of this story – your handbag won’t kill you, but it does have the potential to make you very sick if you keep it on places where you eat. (This can be applied to briefcases and backpacks also.) Use hooks to hang your handbag at home and in toilets, and don’t put it on your desk, a restaurant table, or on your kitchen countertop. Clean your purse regularly – if it’s cloth and can be thrown in a washing machine, wash it. If it’s leather or smooth surface use an antibacterial cloth or spray. And don’t forget to wipe the handles, too!

Yeah, taking a look at mine, it could use a cleaning …

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3 thoughts on “Bag-teria

  • November 20, 2007 at 8:38 pm


  • November 21, 2007 at 6:50 am

    Okay I can honestly say I’ve never thought about this before. But man, oh man will I now.

  • November 21, 2007 at 7:54 pm

    Can i say ewwww

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