Monday, January 21, 2008


I got this in an email today and felt green, real green. I will never look at my bag in the same way

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"!

Read on...

Mom 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 Mom!!!

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? Women carry handbags everywhere; from the office to public toilets to the floor of the car. Most women won't be caught without their handbags, but did you ever stop to think about where your handbag goes during the day.

"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 ," says another woman "and of course in my home which should be clean."

We decided to find out if handbags harbored a lot of bacteria. We learned how to test them at Nelson Laboratories in Salt Lake , and then we set out to test the average woman's handbag.

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

Most of the ladies we talked to told us they wouldn't be surprised if their handbags were at least a little bit dirty. It turns out handbags are so surprisingly dirty, even the microbiologist who tested them was shocked.

Microbiologist Amy Karen of Nelson Labs says nearly all o f 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.

In one sampling, four of five handbags tested positive for salmonella, and  that's not the worst of it. "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.

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.

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.

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? The microbiologists at
Nelson also said cleaning a handbag will help.

Wash cloth handbags and use leather cleaner to clean the bottom of leather handbags.


  1. Ugh...I`ve read enough Celeste, I`ll be more careful with my handbag in future!

    Love Sandra xxxx

  2. Celeste having done food and safety I know about how contaminated handbagds can get ~ I never put it on the floor especially in toilets or anywhere else I always hang it up if possible ~ and never put it on any surfaces where food is prepared ~ it is so good you have pointed this out in your journal because I think it is something that needs to be said ~ Ally x

  3. It's pretty gross, isn't it? I am glad I already have a separate place on a counter where no food goes to keep mine, and usually I put it on something, like a newspaper that I can throw out. Ewwww, we touch those purses - I think I will try to only touch the handle and the zipper from now on!


  4. omg I never gave it a second thought. I never put it on the bathroom floor in fear of theft but I am guilty of all the rest. yuk!

  5. I have never set a handbag on the floor of a public restroom.  If there is nothing to hang it on I set it on my knees!  But still!  I'd never considered how dirty they could be, and I do sometimes set it on the table.  Not anymore!

  6. I've seen this on the internet, and on TV.  Here's another thought:  You may not put YOUR purse on the table at a restaurant, but the person before you may have.  I won't even THINK about eating a fry, chip, ANYTHING that falls on a table.  I clean the bottom of my purse a lot, and NEVER put it on a bathroom floor.  Anti-bacterial wipes come in handy for tables and such in public places.


  7. Ewwww...I'm never looking at purses the same.


  8. Some people use to get very angry at our former Director at the Senior Center because she was so strict about this subject. I detest public rest rooms and will avoid them if at all possible. I rather pee with the cows anyday. lol Paula

  9. We learned about this in microbiology class. OMG it's awful and nobody ever thinks of it! Great post.


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