Is Your Bag Making You Sick? 5 Handbag Cleaning Tips to Clean it Now!

Yes, your designer handbag can make you sick. Here's 5 handbag cleaning tips to clean it up!

Use these expert handbag cleaning tips to keep your designer bag clean and pristine!

Do you want to carry a designer handbag filled with bacteria, virus, and germs?

I cannot think of one woman who suspects that their everyday purse is possibly covered with fecal matter, E Coli and diarrhea-causing microbes.

Because everywhere a woman travels her purse is sure to follow, memorize my five handbag cleaning tips to keep your favorite purse bacteria-free, so you won’t get sick.

But first, here's the skinny on your handbag's bacteria problem.

Two handbag bacterium reports administered by microbiologists, Chuck Gerba for ABC News and Amy Karren both found high amounts bacteria on women’s handbags.

Here's a re-cap of both of their findings after testing 22 bags:

  1. Material matters. Cloth bags carry more dirt than vinyl or leather bags. Everyday health, found that cotton and wool fabrics tend to hold on to bacteria more than leather, suede, and plastic. The fabric surface has a tendency to grab not only dirt and grime but bacteria and viruses as well.
  2. Moms have dirtier, bacteria-filled designer handbags than single ladies. Mommies with kiddies have a higher incident of bacteria and germs than those women without. I imagine that all the diapers, runny noses, sippy cups, and pacifiers are germ magnets.
  3. The bottoms of handbags carry the most bacteria. According to the article linked above, Gerba found about 500,000 counts of bacteria on the underside of one woman's bag that she carried for an entire year.
  4. Handbag waste not, we want not. Half of the bags tested in Gerba's study had significant amounts of animal and human waste. In fact, Cosmopolitan Magazine reports that “The University of Colorado Boulder found that if your bag's not been cleaned for a while, it could have up to 10,000 kinds of different bacteria.”Vigorous hand washing and proper disposal of cat and dog waste could eliminate the bacteria. But I suspect that most human poop particles come from the floor of the bathroom stall.

handbag cleaning tips

How to clean leather, faux leather and fabric handbags and purses:

  1.  Use everyday household items to disinfect your bag. To clean a faux leather, pleather or genuine leather bag, wipe the bag's exterior with a hand sanitizing towelette or an alcohol-free baby wipe. Or, you can disinfect the bag with a pea-sized amount of hand sanitizing gel applied to the surface of the purse with a cotton facial tissue or an old rag.
  2. Don't forget the handles and the bottom. When cleaning the exterior of your purse, make sure that you thoroughly wipe the bottom of the bag and the handles. Let the bag dry overnight in a cool place before carrying it again.
  3. The best way to clean leather? Use a gentle leather conditioner like Collonil Clean And Care. This leather conditioning product will remove any stains from your bags without damaging porous skins like calfskin, lamb or Nappa leathers.
  4. How to pamper your fabric purses. To clean a fabric bag, dampen the tips of a terrycloth or microfiber towel in isopropyl alcohol. Gently, blot the bottom of the purse and the handles with the alcohol. To test for colorfastness, and to avoid damaging your handbag beyond repair, test a small hidden spot of the bag with the cloth and alcohol cleaning method. Let the bag dry for 30 minutes before you sanitize the entire purse.

Here are more handbag cleaning tips to stay germ-free:

how to clean up your dirty handbags

Step 1 – Clean your purse with disinfectant regularly.

Wipe off your bag with a mild detergent, especially the bottom of your bag. If you're a germ-a-phobe, like me, Clorox bleach wipes work fabulously to get rid of the germs.

Step 2 – Keep bags off kitchen countertops, restaurant and dinner tables and away from general eating and cooking environments.

Similarly, your handbag is not the best place to store any unwrapped food. Even that sandwich, wrapped in paper, can find unsuspecting bacteria to keep it company.

Step 3 – Keep your designer handbag off the floor, in public places.

The public bathroom stall, movie theater floor or other public area are not proper receptacles or resting places for your handbag.

Step 4 – Minimize open food containers and beauty product tubes.

Old makeup, beauty products, and unwrapped food should be discarded and never put in your handbag. Those old tubes of mascara and lip glosses provide the perfect environment for bacterial growth.

Step 5- Handle everyday items with care, before you drop them into your favorite bag. 

Remember, mobile phones, newspapers and money carry germs too.

With these handbag cleaning tips, you can now give your designer handbag the white glove treatment it deserves. Keep the bacteria far away from your handbag with a little disinfectant, a whole lot of love and a few sprinkles of common sense.

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  • Cindy
    December 16, 2009 at 3:57 pm

    Great tips. Thanks!

  • Susan W.
    December 16, 2009 at 6:29 pm

    I had no idea that all of these germs were lurking in my handbags. I will make sure to keep my purse off the floor and wiped clean to ensure that I do not get sick. Wonderful information.

  • louis vuitton
    May 24, 2010 at 4:26 am

    Hi, I love everything Louis vuitton! I was searching the for some new louis vuitton luxury items and I found this site. You have a nice site and thought I would post a note to let you know, nice job! Thanks Katy

  • handbag hooks
    June 20, 2011 at 9:04 am

    great tips also invest in a handbag hook. this is a blessing when it comes to keeping your handbag off the floor in public places such as bars and restaurants!