Admit it – when was the last time you wiped down your handbag? According to a study, 33 per cent of women admitted to have never cleaned their purses. So consider this a wake up call, because your favourite tote could have more bacteria on it than a toilet seat, and we all know how dirty toilet seats are!
The Hygiene factbook says that 10,000 bacteria can be found in just a few square centimetres, and out of this number, 30 per cent contain fecal matter. A Science World Report also revealed that the inside, outside and handles of handbags can have 10 times more microbial activity than a toilet seat.
Just imagine where your handbag has been in a day: on your office desk, bathroom ledges, chairs at restaurants or food courts and finally, your bedroom floor or even your bed. You would never even think of touching some of these contaminated places, yet your bag does. So imagine how much bacteria and germs it has accumulated over the weeks, months or even years.
A 2013 study found dangerous bacteria like E.coli and fecal Streptococcus thriving in handbags, which includes grocery bags as well. According to the CDC (Center for Disease Control and Prevention), these germs can cause diarrhea, urinary tract infections, respiratory illness or e meningitis and pneumonia. So think twice before neglecting the hygiene of your bag!
Here are 6 simple hygiene tips to avoid contamination and illness, and places in Singapore to get your luxury handbags cleaned:
Before cleaning your handbags, wash your hands first. Then, wipe down the bag with alcohol-free wipes that can be easily found at drugstores like Watsons and Guardian.
Every few days, empty your purse and turn it upside down, shaking out any dirt remnants. Afterwards, use a brush or lint roller to grab the more resistant crumbs.
Be mindful of where you place your bag! Avoid leaving it on the floor (especially bathroom floors!).
When storing the bag, always place it in a dust bag that it came in or in a pillowcase to protect it and avoid cross contamination.
Pay extra attention to cleaning your hands before touching the interior of your bag, especially when you’ve just come from public places like the MRT, buses and food courts.
Make baking soda sachets to keep in your handbag to get rid of any unpleasant odours.
Read on to see where you can get your bags cleaned in Singapore
- Dr. Bags
How: Drop your bag off at one of their four locations and the service staff will happily do an analysis of the bag for you. A treatment will then be suggested based on the bag’s condition.
The Process: High performance coating from Korea is used to protect your bag against moisture, fungus, discolouration and oxidization for up to eight months. It even repels 90% of water, so it’s ideal for suede and lambskin.
Verdict: This eight year old Balenciaga bag was restored ts original condition with a shiny gloss and the woven thread on the handle was recoloured as well. The trimming and edges that were very worn out were restored to as good as new. The leather was supple and the hardware was polished to perfection.
How: Send pictures of your bag via Whatsapp for assessment. Customers can arrange to drop off the bag at CleanMaster’s office, or drop off at Novena or Bugis MRT. If the total cost is more than $200, complimentary pickup and delivery is available.
The Process: When pick-up was arranged, brochures were provided to provide some examples of what can or cannot be done, in terms of cleaning, colour restoration and hardware reparation.
Verdict: The Celine bag above had several stains due to abrasion from darker fabrics, which made the bag look dirty. These stains were significantly lightened so the effect was cleaner and the bag looked newer. There were a couple of lipstick stains as well that also became almost unnoticeable.
The material of the bag (nubuck) also made the cleaning process trickier but the clear explanation of the service staff really helped with my understanding that the felt-like texture was a result of tiny hairs on the surface so in order to lighten the stain, these tiny hairs would inevitably be shortened and the texture would feel different.
How: Schedule a time and date and complimentary pick up and delivery is provided. You’ll also get updates on the status of your bag.
The Process: Founded in 1969 in London, Jeeves was located near Buckingham Palace and dedicated itself to the valeting requirements of Westminster’s well-to-do. Today Jeeves operates nine shops in London as well as shops in other key capital cities around the world. Jeeves’ clients are top tier professionals and include HRH The Prince of Wales.
Key employees are trained at the Jeeves facility in London and in order to ensure standards of the highest quality we receive regular visits from headquarters management.
Verdict: Jeeves maintained the natural looking cream colour of the Givenchy bag. Black marks and scuffing from wear and tear on the base of the 6-year old bag were removed. The goldtone of the hardware was polished and the interior leather panelling and fabric of the bag was cleaned as well. A bonus? Jeeves cleaned the dustbag as well, and tried to remove the stains on it, but when they couldn’t, they added a note that they had tried “using all means possible.”
Text: Debby Kwong and Joyce Cheo/Harper’s Bazaar Singapore
Additional tips: Roxanna Pelka from Helpling, the leading online marketplace for household services in Singapore
Photo: Chia Yoon Nyen