Have you been taking every precaution to keep your home germ-free during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak, such as taking your shoes off upon walking in the door, and wiping down often-touched areas like the fridge door, sink handles, and remote controls? Turns out there is one place you may be overlooking: your handbag and everything in it.
Think about it: Each day you touch everything from your lip balm to your water bottle, but rarely do you think about the germs you may be bringing into the home by doing so. Even with only leaving the house only for essential things, we still use our purse.
So, the first step is to properly take care of the bag itself. “Do not put your handbag on the ground,” says Erin Busbee, owner of Busbee Style, a lifestyle brand for women over 40. “When you get home, leave your bag at the door, hang on a hook or place on a shelf. Do not put your handbag on the kitchen counter, or your bed. In case you did pick up germs while you were out, you don’t want to spread them inside your home.”
Then wash your hands, of course, before cleaning the contents of your bag. Jennie Varney, Brand Manager for Molly Maid, a Neighborly Company, recommends using EPA-approved products that kill 99.9 percent of viruses and bacteria, like Clorox Wipes. (They are out of stock most places right now, but retailers are working hard to replenish their supplies.)
If you don’t have them, you can use a spray-on cleaner. She suggests wiping with a clean micro-fiber towel ($24.95, Amazon) if you have one. “Microfiber is known to lift surface contaminants better than regular rags or paper towels,” she says.
How to Disinfect Your Phone
- If you’re using a wipe, squeeze out any excess liquid then gently rub both the front, back, and sides being careful around cracks and ports that connect to its internal wiring.
- You want to avoid harsh chemicals that can damage your phone’s coating and leave it vulnerable to scratches. This includes window and kitchen cleaners, vinegar, and makeup remover.
- When it comes to your headphones: “You should always handle with clean hands and then keep in a zipped case,” says Busbee. “I suggest disinfecting before and after use. You can always use a very thin layer of hand sanitizer, if you don’t have wipes.”
How to Disinfect Your Keys
- A wipe works well here. If you have one, make sure you remove the battery from your key fob before wiping it down.
- For extra-dirty keys, use a toothbrush and some warm water and soap to dislodge grit and dirt.
How to Disinfect Your Makeup
- Since your hands go from your makeup cases to your face, you want to be extra careful here.
- First, make sure your hands are clean, then wipe down the casings and let them dry before putting them back in your bag or makeup bag.
- If you’re concerned about your actual makeup, rubbing alcohol is your friend. Pour a capful into a shot glass, then dip your lipstick or balm in, allowing them to dry before using. This also works for blush, bronzer and powder; pour some rubbing alcohol into a spray bottle then spritz onto the powder, making sure it is dry before closing the container.
How to Disinfect Your Water Bottle
- You should wash your water bottle with antibacterial dish soap, or, if it is dishwasher safe, sanitize it daily, says Busbee.
- If you’re on-the-go and want to keep it clean, use a wipe, making sure to swab not only the body but the top and cap as well.
How to Disinfect Your Wallet
- If your wallet is leather, “go ahead and carefully clean it with a disinfecting cleaning spray — spray it on a cloth first, then wipe your bag — or a disinfecting wipe, then immediately follow that up with a leather conditioner,” says Kait Schulhof, owner of A Clean Bee. “Cleaners with high levels of alcohol will strip leather of the oils that keep it supple, so conditioning is key to keeping your bag in good shape.”
- Suede and nubuck are more difficult to clean, so you may want to avoid using them for the time being.
- Don’t forget what’s in your wallet. Busbee suggests using a wipe to disinfect ATM or credit cards.
Finally, your hand sanitizer.
“Don’t neglect your bottle of hand sanitizer,” says Busbee. “You are probably grabbing and pumping that bottle with dirty hands. Be sure to wipe down the outside of the bottle with the sanitizer or a disinfecting wipe.”