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Purses may be dirtier than bathrooms

Purses may be dirtier than bathrooms



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SALT LAKE CITY -- Over the years, Nelson Laboratories has tested many surfaces for germs and bacteria, and it's had some surprising findings. For example, bathrooms are bad, but perhaps not as bad as you may think.

Microbiology Section Leader Amy Karren says, "You do disinfect your bathroom quite often. You use bleach. You use toilet bowl cleaner and, usually, those are actually quite clean, including public bathrooms."

Plus, Karren says cleansers have a residual effect that keeps germs and bacteria away.

Karren says purses have more germs and bacteria than many bathrooms do, especially cloth purses.

"The purse, you should deal [with it] very similar to shoes. [You] don't put your shoes on the table, that kind of thing."

You may expect cell phones to be a hot spot for bacteria, and they are, but not as much as purses are. Karren says that's because people don't place their phones on the ground. But, she says they did find one interesting thing from one cell phone.

"We actually saw one person had the same bacteria type on their cell phone as was found in the bathroom," Karren says.

That could come from that person not washing his hands.

While the bathroom may be relatively clean overall, some things inside the room could be dirtier than you think. Karren says children's bath toys are attractive to mold. She says squirting toys could have a large amount of mold inside. She says people need to throw them in the dishwasher to sanitize them more often, or throw them in the trash more often.

But Karren says one of the worst places she has ever tested is a typical household kitchen sink.

E-mail: pnelson@ksl.com

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Paul Nelson

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