Coronavirus can survive in your handbag for several days – keep it clean with these easy tips – The Sun

WE are washing our hands more than ever, but what about the germs in our handbags?

Our bags can carry up to 10,000 types of bacteria, according to experts at restoration retailer Handbag Clinic – making them dirtier than the average toilet.

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And the World Health Organisation suggests Covid-19 may persist on surfaces for anything up to several days, with leather being the perfect surface for it to thrive.

Environmental health practitioner Lisa Ackerley, also known as The Hygiene Doctor, says: “Our hands carry viruses and bacteria and transfer them to other surfaces such as our handbags.

"Viruses can be infectious in low numbers and the coronavirus can survive on surfaces for up to 72 hours.”

Here, Abby McHale opens up her bag and The Hygiene Doctor explains to her which items pose the highest risks to health.

Handbag – leather holds germs

Your handbag is often put on to surfaces that are contaminated.

A University of Arizona study found the typical worker’s desk has hundreds of times more bacteria per square inch than an office toilet seat.

Try not to put handbags on tables or surfaces.

Phone – disinfect with wipes

The most touched item you own.

Researchers at the London School Of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine say fecal matter can be found on one out of every six smartphones.

We should now wash our hands every few times we use our phones.

Use anti-bac wipes to disinfect your phone.

Water bottle – wash daily

If touched with clean hands, it will unlikely harbour many germs.

The risk is if you pick it up with unclean hands, or put it on to unclean surfaces, then put it in your mouth.

Wipe with an antibacterial wipe and wash daily with hot, soapy water.

Keys – wipe clean daily

Keys only tend to be used a couple of times a day and are not used when out in public spaces, so pick up fewer germs.

Still, you should wipe them clean when you get in and avoid taking them out when you are away from the house.

Snotty tissues – collect in a plastic bag

If you put a used tissue in your bag, the germs will touch other items, contaminating them.

One option is to have a plastic bag in your handbag to put used tissues into so you can dispose of it safely in a bin.

Then wash your hands.

Make-up – wash brushes weekly

Keep make-up in a cosmetics bag rather than free in a handbag.

Experts say to clean brushes every seven to ten days.

If you wash brushes regularly with soapy water, the inside of the cosmetic bag should stay free of germs.

Lip balm – clean hands

If your hands are not clean and you use balms you can apply with fingers, you could be putting viruses directly into your mouth.

Purse – wipe regularly

Wallets are used a lot on the move. They touch shop counters, work surfaces and work desks.

Money and bank cards also come into contact with card machines and other people’s hands.

Wipe down wallets regularly and have clean hands when touching them.

I keep train tickets and credit cards in a wipe-clean wallet in my pocket so I don’t need my purse out.

Contactless payments are good, just hover over the machine with the card.

Apple – keep in a box

If you are carrying food in your handbag you should put it in a bag or sealed box to prevent germs.

Often, people take the apple straight out of their handbag with hands that might not have been washed, and put it straight into their mouths.

Books – don't lick fingers

Less risky than other items as you may pick them up for a prolonged period of time but only once or twice a day.

Make sure hands have just been sanitised and do not lick your fingers before turning the pages.

Headphones- keep in a case

Headphones can carry bacteria but we do not tend to touch them too much with our hands and do not touch them constantly throughout the day.

The main thing is to get them out with clean hands.

If you have a case for them, use it.

The verdict

Abby says: “I’m really not surprised items such as phones are high risk, as I especially tend to carry mine with me most places I go, including the toilet.

“But this has definitely made me think more about cleaning the contents of my bag regularly, and to hover my contactless card over the reader instead of tapping it to avoid it picking up bacteria.”

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