Before entering your home with groceries and other essential items, you've probably been giving everything a good clean. But what might not have crossed your mind is cleaning your purse, which could also be exposed to germs while you're out grabbing your necessities. Therefore, learning how to safely clean purses during the Coronavirus pandemic is essential to reduce the risk of spreading germs.
"Yes, you should worry about the germs on your purses during COVID-19, and you should not be setting your purse on surfaces that are potentially contaminated," Dr. Georgine Nanos, Physician & CEO of Kind Health Group in San Diego, tells TZR. If you're bringing your purse on trips to the store, designate an area to leave it afterwards. "You should consider keeping your purse and keys on a hook near your front door during this time," Dr. Nanos suggests. "Remember that coronavirus may be able to survive on some surfaces for 72 hours."
Even if you're leaving your bag near the door, it's probably wise to disinfect it anyway. "If your purse has come into contact with any contaminated surfaces it's definitely a good idea to wipe it down an alcohol wipe or a wrung out towel that has soap and water on it," Dr. Nanos advises.
But don't just stop at the outside or your purse, the inside needs to be cared for, too. "You should do a good once over cleaning on the inside of your purse," Dr. Nanos explains. Then, consider how best to wipe down your belongings too. "Once the inside of your purse is clean it's a good idea to keep it that way by sanitizing the items you place inside, and not keeping any unnecessary items in your bags," she adds. "It's a good time to be a minimalist and only keep what you need. You could also consider putting smaller items in a plastic Ziploc bag so they aren't constantly touching the bottom and inside of your purse."
The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends using alcohol-based wipes or 70 percent alcohol to disinfect electronics. For leather and vinyl purses with a hard, flat surface, the same product can be used, according to a cleaning expert. "You can use 70 percent rubbing alcohol on a wipe or sprayed, it will eliminate pathogens like COVID-19," Jamie Henry, CEO of Chicago's Bee Line Support cleaning company, tells TZR. "Wipe down the exterior, the handles, the clasps, and the insides of the purse, including the zipper strips for the zippered sections. The 70 percent rubbing alcohol must remain on the surfaces for 30 seconds to kills the virus."
Some materials are fairly easy to clean; all you need it soap. "For cotton fabric bags, rigorous scrubbing with any kind of soap will kill the coronavirus, because it's actually the friction that breaks up the coronavirus's protective envelope," Henry explains. "The parts you can't scrub, spray them with 70 percent rubbing alcohol. If you can launder your fabric bag without destroying its shape, wash it in 80-plus degrees to kill the coronavirus."
If you're concerned that spot cleaning may discolor bags, "most minor marks and stains can be cleaned with a mild soap and a bit of water, applied with a microfiber cloth. A laundry spot remover or a stain pen (make sure to use bleach-free!) can be used on moderate marks when used sparingly, as to not abrade the material," Sangeeta Udayar, Director of Buying for Rebag, tells TZR. But before attempting to clean with any solvents or liquid, she recommends spot testing a small unnoticeable patch. "If the bag's marks or stains are especially heavy, leave it to the professionals."
And if your bag is suede, don't worry about potentially ruining the material. "The good news is, rubbing alcohol will not stain suede like water will, so evenly apply a rubbing alcohol spray to the purse and then rub vigorously with a washcloth that has some 'tooth' to it, so the suede fabric re-fluffs back to its normal look and feel," Henry explains.
Below, shop some handbags from some of TZR's favorite independent designers. Just make sure to clean them if you plan on sporting them on your grocery runs.
We only include products that have been independently selected by The Zoe Report's editorial team. However, we may receive a portion of sales if you purchase a product through a link in this article.
Dr. Georgine Nanos, Physician & CEO of Kind Health Group
If you think you’re showing symptoms of coronavirus, which include fever, shortness of breath, and cough, call your doctor before going to get tested. If you’re anxious about the virus’s spread in your community, visit the CDC for up-to-date information and resources, or seek out mental health support.