MIAMI (CBSMiami) — Your mother always told you to wash your hands, but she probably never mentioned your handbag. Now new research from a British company suggests handbags may also need the occasional scrub.

Handbags are a must-have for most women. But forget the designer label, British hygiene experts say they ought to come with a warning label.

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“Handbags — especially the handles — have up to 10 times the level of microbiological activity on them than an average toilet seat,” said Initial Hygiene Technical Manager Dr. Peter Barratt.

Dr. Barratt and his team took swabs from dozens of toilet seats and handbags as part of a study to remind people about good hand hygiene.

They found one in five handbag handles had enough bacteria to pose a health risk.

Researchers say bacteria not only builds up on the handles of handbags, they found plenty of germs inside too.

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“There was a lot of face creams, mascara, lip gloss,” explained Dr. Barratt.

Hand cream turned out to be the dirtiest culprit.

“I suppose you say could the toilet seat is cleaned more often than the average handbag,” said Dr. Barratt.

Researchers suggest adding hand sanitizer to your bag and wiping it down with an antibacterial cloth every once in a while.

Is one type of bag worse than another?

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Researchers say leather bags carry even more germs because their spongy texture provides perfect conditions for bacteria to grow and spread.