Do you have a disease hiding in your handbag?

Women test their totes for dirt

Phone? Check. Cash? Check. Life-threatening disease? What! We carry our lives around in our bags, but are we also toting something altogether more deadly?


In recent lab tests, experts have discovered that handbags and make-up bags as little as six-months old could contain unsafe levels of potentially lethal bacteria.


Shockingly, when four British beauty bloggers submitted their handbags and make-up bags for scientific analysis, all tested positive for strains of bacteria including Salmonella, a form of chronic food poisoning and Cronobacter, which causes neo natal meningitis.


Laura Murray, 33, a beauty blogger at, submitted her six-month-old blue linen bag and discovered some shocking results.


The exterior of her bag tested positive for Salmonella – which causes severe food poisoning – diarrhea, fever and vomiting – It also tested positive for Klebsiella pneumoniae, a virulent bacteria that causes pneumonia and urinary tract infections, as well as Enterococcus faecalis, an aggressive pathogen that causes meningitis, endocarditis and septicemia.


‘I’m pretty shocked by the results I must say! I thought I was doing enough by diligently wash my makeup brushes regularly, but it’s amazing how much bacteria is around us that we’re oblivious to. I will definitely be washing my makeup bag and it’s contents much more frequently from now on.


The shocking test results proved that if makeup bags are not cleaned thoroughly and regularly with anti-bacterial products they are a breeding ground for potentially deadly bacteria. 


Nicola McCullough, 40, a beauty blogger at from Belfast, gave testers her Orla Kiely bag, which she bought a year ago.


‘While I’m scrupulous about keeping my makeup and brushes clean, I clearly need to wash my actual makeup bag more often… it honestly never occurred to me before,’ said Nicola, whose bag tested positive for nterococcus faecalis, cronobacter and pseudomonas.


Ashleigh Dougherty, a 23-year-old beauty PR and blogger from London, sent in her two-year-old black fluffy bag, which, again, tested positive for all sorts of harmful bacteria, including salmonella, pseudomonas and Pasteurella, 


‘I was super shocked to read what bacteria was on my bag. I thought it would be the perfect bag to test because of the faux fur material it’s made from but it’s just made me feel very sick in all honesty,’ said Ashleigh.


Sophie Cottrell, a 28-year-old beauty blogger from London also sent in a handbag, which was 10 months old and tested positive for the likes of cronobacter, enterococcus faecalis and providencia.


‘More shocking was the health implications of having that bacteria present,’ said Sophie.


‘A dirty makeup bag has always just been an inconvenience, causing damage and dirt to my products. I can’t believe a dirty makeup bag can potentially damage me. I will be cleaning my bag on a regular basis from now on’.


Research into the levels of germs in handbags and makeup bags was commissioned by online beauty retailer



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