What germs are lurking on your purse?
Ross McLaughlin and Sandra Hermiston , CTV Vancouver
Published Tuesday, January 17, 2017 6:00AM PST
From keyboards to cellphones, everything we touch brings us into contact with viruses and germs. But what about something most women carry with them everyday: their purse?
The McLaughlin on Your Side team tested several the purses of several CTV anchors to see what germs were lurking in the bags.
We asked Tamara Taggart, Keri Adams, Coleen Christie and Mi-Jung Lee to give up their purses.
“I didn’t clean it, this is real,” said Keri.
“I’ll just take all of this stuff out,” said Tamara as she pulled wipes out of her purse.
”There’s probably a ton of bacteria on this,” chuckled Coleen.
We then took the bags to the Hancock Lab in the Department of Microbiology and Immunology at UBC, where they were swabbed, inside and out.
"Bacteria grow tremendously rapidly," said Bob Hancock, director at the Centre for Microbial Diseases and Immunity Research.
“So from a single bacteria you can produce millions within 24 hours.”
After the purses were swabbed, the petri dishes went into the incubator. A few days later Ross went back for the results.
"The one in the middle there that's a fungus with the little blue center in it," pointed out Hancock.
“The ones that are white little tight buttons are probably staphylococcus aureus.”
So who had the most contaminated purse?
Tamara’s purse was the cleanest with three colonies growing, followed by Mi-Jung’s red bag with 15 colonies. Coleen's small black clutch had 28 and the dirtiest bag was Keri’s gold tote, with 54.
"I'm not surprised by that because I haven't cleaned my purse out once and you have no idea the junk that goes in here," said Keri.
But when compared to a keyboard which had 768 colonies, the purses didn't look so bad.
McLaughlin handed out prizes to the group of anchors, giving Tamara a tiara and wand – and Keri a container of wipes.
“I need a new purse now,” joked Keri.
The group says they’ve never set their purses down on restroom floors, instead hanging them on a hook, which could explain the results.
To keep your purse clean:
- Never set your purse on bathroom floor
- Avoid the car floor
- Don't place on a counter where you eat just in case its carrying harmful bacteria
- Sanitize a shopping cart before placing your purse in. Someone may have placed a leaking package of raw poultry or meat into that cart.