Offices, public places, and commercial buildings tend to see a lot of foot traffic. Not only can this leave a lot of greasy fingerprints and tracked-in shoe grime, but it can also increase the risk of catching something during cold and flu season.
This is one of those times when a penny of prevention is worth more than a pound of cure. Taking a proactive approach to keeping high-touch surfaces and common grime magnets clean will go a long way toward maintaining a presentable office, with a low microbial presence to boot!
If you’re looking for the dirtiest places to include in your office cleaning the following things should be your top targets.
Door Handles & Cabinet Pulls
Of all the high-touch surfaces in a typical office, the door handles and cabinet pulls are often responsible for the most transfer of grime, grease, and germs. Someone sneezes, someone eats a greasy sandwich at their desk and they grab the handle to leave the room. You can bet that a lot of those germs and/or sandwich grease is being deposited on the door handle for the next unwitting person to touch.
Keyboards & Mice
When you stop to think about it, the keyboard and the humble computer mouse are arguably the most touched surface in just about any modern-day office. Not to mention the person using the keyboard is breathing respiratory droplets, coughing, sneezing, and depositing finger grime all over those surfaces.
It’s one thing if we’re talking about a keyboard and mouse in your exclusive office, where you’re the only one using it. It’s an even bigger concern when it’s a communal workstation that multiple sales reps, customer service, and technicians use repeatedly throughout the day.
The Elevator Button
While it seems like such a little thing, you have to consider that pretty much everyone in a multi-story office building uses the elevator at some point in their day. Probably multiple times a day. While each individual floor’s button is likely getting some use, the number one button that everyone is probably going to press at least once a day is the lobby button.
The lobby button sits there unassumingly all day. Each person pressed it and transfers some miniscule amount of oil from the skin of their fingertip, or perhaps even the cold and flu germs left on their hand from the last time they blew their nose.
The Office Water Cooler
These days a lot of modern offices have at least one centrally located water cooler or multiple hydration stations placed throughout each floor. Just like the elevator, you have a lot of people congregating around it. They leave skin oils and possible germs on the handles and the surrounding surfaces.
Copiers, Printers & Other Office Equipment
If your company is a reprographics station, printing hub, or other communal office equipment, it too faces the same recurring problems with finger oils, grease, and germs. Just like in the elevator the dirtiest place tends to be the most-used buttons.
Buttons like Print, Copy, Scan, and the number one are all common places that can build up a patina of grime. With older office equipment sometimes, you can even see a little circle where this patina has worn away from excess use.
Bathroom Handles & Sink Fixtures
The bathroom is another place festooned with germs and grime. Even if you set aside the constant problems with smelly office bathroom floors, all the handles and plumbing fixtures in a typical office bathroom are rife with germs, oils, and even soap residue that can build up into a patina from hands that weren’t completely rinsed and dried.
Office Telephones & Intercom Equipment
Even a single company phone in an executive office can accumulate germs from respiratory droplets and skin oils from constantly being touched. This is only a minor inconvenience if it happens to be your personal office phone.
It’s a much bigger risk of microbial cross-contamination if the phone in question is a communal office phone or intercom being used by multiple people throughout any given workday.
Kitchenette Handles & Vending Machines
Just like the elevator, water cooler, and office equipment, the office kitchenette and any vending machines are also prime targets for grease, grime, and germs. This starts with the handles on the refrigerator, the microwave, and the kitchenette sink, which are touched by just about everyone in the office daily.
The Office Refrigerator
Everyone who brings their lunch from home usually puts it in the office refrigerator. It’s also a place where lunches get forgotten, condiments go bad and all kinds of spills get left behind with reckless abandon.
This is why a lot of offices set up a policy where they empty out the refrigerator every Friday afternoon regardless of what’s in it. Then someone is given the unenviable task of having to wipe it down.
Some of the dirtiest places in an office can be minimized by simply keeping hand sanitizer stations nearby. This encourages people to clean their hands around communal places like the office intercom, conference room door handles, and the water cooler.
When it comes to bathroom and kitchenette issues, your best line of defense is to keep all the cleaning supplies, wipes, and paper towels well-stocked. This encourages employees to do their part to keep these communal areas clean after they are done using them.
Consider Adding a Day Porter
For larger offices where daily cleaning can’t wait until the end of the day, you might want to consider adding a day porter or a dedicated custodian. This is an individual who is constantly on hand during your normal hours of operation.
They can spot-check the dirtiest places in the office, empty trash cans, wipe down high-touch surfaces, and make sure everything is properly stocked. Not only does a day porter help keep the dirtiest places in your office clean and sanitary, but it also sends a message about the professional cleaning standards you offer to your employees and guests.