Ladies, we don’t mean to alarm you, but it is likely your purse contains more bacteria than the average toilet, according to tests conducted by the British company Initial Washroom Hygiene Solutions. “Handbags come into regular contact with our hands and a variety of surfaces, so the risk of transferring different germs onto them is very high, especially as bags are rarely cleaned,” said Peter Barratt, technical manager at Initial Hygiene. “Once these germs are on the bags, they can easily be transferred via hands onto other surfaces.” On the outside: Leather handbags have the most bacteria because the spongy texture provides perfect growing conditions. On the inside: The dirtiest item in most purses is hand cream. Bottles of hand cream were found to contain more bacteria than the average toilet seat. Tubes of mascara and lipstick also contain a high amount of bacteria. On the handles: The worst part of your purse could be the handles, which are smeared with enough bacteria to actually pose a risk to human health. What can you do? Your best defense is to wash your hands often and regularly and thoroughly clean your purse with antibacterial wipes or gel. If you use a cloth purse, you may be able to put it in the washing machine. Also, never place your purse on the floor of a public restroom.