What's Dirtier than a Toilet Seat? Your Purse

First Posted: May 20, 2013 11:06 AM EDT

We love them. We cherish them. Some of us would even wait at 4 a.m. in line outside the outlet store for them.

They're handbags. And whether it's Prada or Coach, fake or real, ladies love to flaunt their new purse as a perfect accessory to add to any outfit.

But it might be a little hard to accept that most of us are carrying around an excess of germs and bacteria, according to a recent study.

Both the inside and the outside of handbags may be covered with germs worse than those found in bathrooms.

When it comes to items kept in purses, hand creams topped the list of items containing bacteria. Lipstick and mascara were also found to contain bacteria, as well as hand sanitizer bottles. 

Most of us will put our purses just about anywhere, but dropping your handbag on the floor can be deadly. It's not a good idea, especially on bathroom floors where germs and bacteria commonly lurk every day.

Even worse, our favorite leathery clutches and wristlets tend to carry the most bacteria, according to the study, as their spongy texture makes it the perfect breeding ground for germs.

The study authors also believe that handbag handles may carry more germs than other parts of the purse. "Handbags, especially the handles, have up to 10 times the level of microbiological activity on them than an average toilet seat," said Dr. Peter Barratt with Initial Hygiene, who completed the study.

Researchers suggest adding hand sanitizer to your bag and wiping it down with an antibacterial cloth.

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