These days the importance of cleanliness and disinfecting is at an all-time high. Especially in the workplace where employees and office managers gather in communal areas like break rooms, cafeterias, and office kitchens at mealtimes.
These are high-traffic areas in a building where cleanliness and order need to be maintained with the highest standards. Though the constant flow of people in and out, touching a lot of shared surfaces can make that a major challenge. At the same time, there are a lot of areas where people tend to linger as they prepare their food, wait for their turn at the microwave, or just chat around the water cooler.
All of these places need to be maintained with the greatest scrutiny and care. In busy offices, this might mean setting up mealtimes in specific shifts. It might even require multiple cleaning sessions over the course of a single workday.
Providing Employees & Custodians with Necessary Cleaning Supplies
The best way to maintain a clean office kitchen or break room is to empower your employees with the cleaning products they need to clean up after themselves. This starts with simple things like a fresh supply of paper towels, with additional rolls that they can change themselves. Hand sanitizer dispensers and food-safe cleaning sprays can also help.
You also need to make sure that your in-house custodial staff has quick access to the necessary cleaning products they need to handle things like accidental spills, as well as being able to quickly change out waste can liners.
Day Porter or Break Room Attendant
Another way to make sure all your kitchen area, food prep stations, refrigerators, and break rooms are properly maintained is to assign a day porter or attendant to be present during mealtimes. This is an individual who can stay at the ready, floating between areas as needed. They can be on the spot to handle accidental spills and possible contamination issues.
This porter or attendant can also set up the office kitchen and break room in advance. Then handle any spot cleaning during mealtimes or clean in between lunch groups. This can include sanitizing high-touch surfaces. When mealtime is over, they can clean all high-use areas and high-touch surfaces, disinfecting as they go, and return the office kitchen and break rooms to pristine condition.
Office Kitchen & Break Room Cleaning Strategies
While the specific strategy will vary from one workplace to the next, a lot of office kitchens and office break rooms benefit from some key cleaning methods. This includes cleaning from high to low, as well as from dry to wet. This typically calls for starting near the ceilings and working your way down the floors and leaving things such as mopping the floors for last.
Cleaning from Top to Bottom with Dry Techniques
Whether you are deep cleaning, or just giving food service areas a good cleaning at the end of a major mealtime, it helps to start with things like dusting air vents, and removing cobwebs and dust from the ceilings and corners. With these places in order, you can then move lower as you complete each task.
Make sure you remove dust from the cabinets, counters, tables, window blinds, and more. In the end, make sure to dust around the floorboards and in the corners of the room. This ensures that there is no debris or cobwebs that have fallen in the process.
Tools your custodial staff will need for these tasks include:
- Telescopic dusters
- Dusting cloths
- Microfiber cloths
- Broom and dustpan
Techniques for Cleaning Soft Surfaces
Once you’re done with dusting and dry cleaning you should turn to clean soft surfaces before you move on to wet cleaning. This includes plush chairs, couches and sofas, drapes and curtains, and other upholstered surfaces that can potentially hold onto allergens.
It might help to remove cushions from couches or take the covers off of them. The covers should be removed and replaced if there has been a spill, or there is a serious stain that needs to be addressed. At least once a week you should vacuum these items to remove dust mites as well as food crumbs and dirt particles.
Cleaning Hard Surfaces with Wet Techniques
Once you or your custodial staff have completed the dry cleaning techniques from top to bottom, they can use the same methodology for wet cleaning. This starts with the same top-down approach to wiping down surfaces to remove dirt, grime, food residue, fingerprints, and more.
This includes cleaning the tops of refrigerators and microwaves, kitchen appliances, countertops, windows, cabinets, tabletops, and armrests, as well as other hard surfaces.
Tools needed to complete these tasks include:
- Neutral all-purpose cleaning solution
- A high-quality glass cleaner
- Clearly labeled spray bottles
- Microfiber cloths
- Multiple rolls of clean paper towels
- Disinfecting Hard Surfaces
Once all dirt, soil, and unwanted residue have been removed from the surface of items in the office kitchen and break room, the disinfection process can begin. This calls for increased focus on high-touch areas such as doorknobs, fridge and microwave handles, sink faucets, light switches, and more.
All cleaning personnel need to closely follow the instructions on the disinfectant label. This includes allowing for certain disinfectants to remain on a hard surface for the correct amount of time. Improperly using a disinfectant can result in lingering bacteria and other pathogens near food prep surfaces.
Cleaning Floors In-Office Kitchens & Break Rooms
With high-touch surfaces and food prep areas meticulously cleaned from top to bottom, using effective dry and wet techniques, you can now turn your attention to the floors. Properly cleaning office kitchen and breakroom floors not only reduces the bacterial presence in these high-traffic food prep areas but also reduces the chances of bacteria hitching a ride to other parts of your office on the bottom of employee shoes!
If your office kitchen or break room has carpeted floors, you need to vacuum them daily, or between lunch shifts with a multi-layered, vacuum cleaner with a sealed HEPA filter system. This ensures that any particulate matter picked up from the pile layers of the carpet, is not distributed out into the surrounding area. Using a low-quality vacuum in a food prep area can send dust and bacterial debris from the air onto food and high-touch surfaces that you just cleaned!
If your office kitchen and break rooms have hard floors, you need to mop them with microfiber mop heads. Traditional mop heads and mop buckets tend to merely move bacteria around hard floors. Worse still, they can even start to host bacteria in the mop strands reapplying it to the floors. Employees who walk across these mop-contaminated floors can then bring bacteria from the office kitchen or break room to the rest of the building on the bottoms of their shoes.