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What’s Lurking On Your Purse?

The Germs in the Restroom
Purses aside, research has repeatedly confirmed that women are much more vigilant than men when it comes to washing their hands, especially after using a public restroom. Yet another article indicated that male restrooms are cleaner than female restrooms! Yes, we women are more likely to wash our hands properly, but the room itself is higher in E.coli and other coliforms. Most are found around the sink area (where I generally do place my purse), while men’s restrooms have more contamination on the floor.

The Germs in Your Office
Before we pat ourselves on the back for our efforts at hand washing, it has also been shown that women have three to four times the number of bacteria in their office space than men, according to a 2007 study from the University of Arizona.

Although women’s offices appeared to be cleaner, our desks, phones, computers, keyboards, drawers, and personal items are a virtual hotbed of bacteria. I may call in sick tomorrow.

The culprits? Females generally have more interactions with young children, tend to have food in their desks, display more knickknacks, and the top carrier of germs — makeup — followed by hand lotion, the phone, purse, and desk drawers. Makeup and hand lotion involve lots of hand and face touching and trap germs, transferring them to many other surfaces.

The biggest source of germs in the office, however, turned out to be men’s wallets, which rated worse than purses. The average office desktop has 400 times more bacteria than the average office toilet seat.

Oh, I’m definitely calling in sick tomorrow. But then I’ll have to think about germs in the home. Sigh.

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Ann Pietrangelo

Ann Pietrangelo is the author of No More Secs! Living, Laughing & Loving Despite Multiple Sclerosis and Catch That Look: Living, Laughing & Loving Despite Triple-Negative Breast Cancer. She is a freelance writer and member of the American Society of Journalists and Authors. Follow on Twitter @AnnPietrangelo

170 comments

+ add your own
11:24AM PDT on Jun 19, 2012

zellers washrooms are disgusting places. the counters are usually covered in water. how do you wash your hands without getting your clothes soaked in the bargain, the paper towel holders are usually filthy. i always use a paper towel when touching the door handle. thank goodness they now leave a garbage bucket by the entrance as paper towels were piling up on the floor. also the toilets dont seem to get flushed by some people. i certainly dont want to know what the person before me did in the toilet. people are rather filthy creatures at times.

1:31AM PST on Nov 12, 2010

Thanks! I am going to have my purse wet cleaned!

4:09PM PDT on Nov 6, 2010

...It doesn't surprise me one bit that women's restrooms are more germ-y than men's. Most women's public restrooms that I have been in are filthy, and although more women wash their hands, many women simply don't "do their business" in a very tidy way. Blegh...

The men's rooms that I've been in (yes, I have ventured... as a curious teen, I explored that "forbidden" realm...) have been surprisingly clean compared to women's rooms.

To other women everywhere: CLEAN UP AFTER YOURSELVES WHEN YOU'RE THROUGH!

:D

6:15PM PDT on Oct 25, 2010

Thanks

1:08AM PDT on Oct 22, 2010

thanks

7:27AM PDT on Oct 20, 2010

Thank you for the info

6:50AM PDT on Oct 20, 2010

I don't use makeup and rarely a purse. :-)

3:10PM PDT on Oct 18, 2010

One more reason to eat healthy and strengthen our immune systems.

4:41AM PDT on Oct 17, 2010

Interersting point of view, and very sad in a way. I also feel very worried about this problem, but I finally had to admit that the only thing I can do is trying to enhance my immune system

5:32PM PDT on Oct 16, 2010

Thanks for the info.

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Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of
Care2, Inc., its employees or advertisers.

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