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You May Want To Clean Your Purse

MIAMI (CBSMiami) -- Your mother always told you to wash your hands but she probably never mentioned your handbag. Now new research from a British company suggests handbags may also need the occasional scrub.

Handbags are a must-have for most women. But forget the designer label, British hygiene experts say they ought to come with a warning label.

"Handbags especially the handles have up to ten times the level of microbiological activity on them than an average toilet seat," said Dr. Peter Barratt, Initial Hygiene Technical Manager.

Doctor Barratt and his team took swabs from dozens of toilet seats and handbags as part of a study to remind people about good hand hygiene.

They found one in five handbag handles had enough bacteria to pose a health risk.

Researchers say bacteria not only builds up on the handles of handbags, they found plenty of germs inside too.

"There was a lot of face creams, mascara, lip gloss," explained Dr. Barratt.

Hand cream turned out to be the dirtiest culprit.

"I suppose you say could the toilet seat is cleaned more often than the average handbag," said Dr. Barratt.

Researchers suggest adding hand sanitizer to your bag and wiping it down with an antibacterial cloth every once in a while.

Is one type of bag worse than another?

Researchers say leather bags carry even more germs because their spongy texture provides perfect conditions for bacteria to grow and spread.

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