The petri dish in your purse

Handbags and purses are often a bit of a dumping ground for rubbish – old bottles of hand cream, loose change, chewing gum, squashed lipsticks, crumpled receipts, tissues, that kind of thing.

According to a new report, they could also be home to 10,000 different types of bacteria. And while, luckily, most of the germs found are normally harmless, some might carry a big risk to your weekly shopping trip.

New German research has found there are 10,000 different types of bacteria in just a few square centimetres of most handbags.

Ironically, expensive leather handbags are the worst offenders. Those tests also found also that leather handbags are the biggest bacteria breeders, as the spongy texture creates the perfect conditions for bacteria to grow and spread.

During a segment on the TV show Loose Women, all of the ladies had their handbags swabbed to see how much bacteria they harboured.  Andrea Mclean, Janet Street Porter, Coleen Nolan and Katie Price all had their accessories tested – and the results were shocking.

The average toilet seat gives an ATP reading of 300. Anything over 500 is considered dangerous or ‘deadly’. Katie Price’s handbag measured a massive 1300, over four times dirtier than the toilet seat.

Dr. Charles Gerba, a University of Arizona microbiologist who has spent years studying bacteria hot spots, confirms that “about a third” of handbags have fecal bacteria on them.

The amount of bacteria found is enough to risk cross-contamination between the items in your bag, your phone, your makeup and everything else you touch.

Disturbingly, the handbag is also where most women store their pouch bag for grocery shopping.

Biomaster partner Solent International, a leading manufacturer of reusable bags for supermarkets worldwide, has developed an anti-bacterial pouch bag treated with technology proven to inhibit the growth of bacteria that might transfer between your handbag, your pouch bag and then onto your groceries.

When bacteria land on a Biomaster protected surface they cannot replicate and die. The active agent in Biomaster is built into the pouch bag during the manufacturing process, so the protection lasts for the useful lifetime of the bag. 

Solent Group produce a range of reusable antibacterial bags available in PP woven, non woven, recycled PET, insulated, cotton and jute materials in bespoke bag styles and designs.

For more about antibacterial reusable bags visit the Solent Group website or

*Please note that Addmaster was acquired by the Polygiene Group AB in January 2021, so all news articles prior to that date will still be branded as Addmaster.