Should Your Handbag Come With A Health Warning?

wang bag embedPhoto: Via Alexander Wang.
Be honest: how often do you clean out your handbag? We're not just talking about throwing away that old pack of gum and the sweet wrappers that have been lurking in there for the last year: when did you last actually wash it clean? If the answer is something to the tune of "um...never", you're not alone—but you'll probably want to read this.
We've already reported on how your handbag carries approximately the same number of germs as the average toilet, but new research suggests there's even nastier stuff lurking in the average piece of arm candy.
The research, which was commissioned by Mentos Gum (yep, we know it's weird a thing for a chewing gum brand to care about), found that 33% of women never clean their handbags. More concerning, it found that those handbags that hadn't been cleaned contained traces of e.coli, which causes food poisoning and is resistant to most antibiotics, as well as other bacteria including faecal streptococcus, which is linked with pneumonia, and pseudomonas, which is linked to certain types of infections, as well as other unsavoury delights like human faeces.
But before you start to regard your beloved Alexander Wang tote as some kind of cold-blooded killer, it's important to remember that the bacteria found were only in trace-form, and a much higher concentration would be needed to do any serious damage. Still, maybe giving it a quick launder this weekend might not be such a bad idea...

More from Wellness

R29 Original Series