Published 14th March 2022

5 Areas Of Your Office With More Germs Than Your Toilet

Office Door Handle Germs

Contrary to popular belief, toilets and washroom areas are usually not the dirtiest place in the office.

In some cases, they’re not even the places where most germs are found at all. It’s true that toilets and washrooms do harbour germs, but in what follows you’re going to discover a few surprising, maybe even shocking areas of your workplace where germs are to be found. Some of them right under your nose.

Don’t despair though! There are some easy ways to manage those unhygienic and germ-filled areas so that your workplace and those working in it are protected.

1. Microwave door

Top of our list is the communal microwave, a common fixture in office kitchens and canteens the world over.

Microwaves provide a quick and convenient way to heat meals when time is limited, perfect for lunch and coffee breaks through the day. The only problem is that as this kitchen appliance is in such frequent demand, the number of individuals from across the business who use it may run into dozens.  

Studies carried out to determine how dirty a microwave handle is have shown that it is typically one of the dirtiest spots in the office. Tests carried out also found that half of the microwave doors tested had chemicals present linked to living organisms.

A good solution to overcoming this problem is to ask your commercial office cleaner to ensure they clean the microwave door handle thoroughly whenever they service the office. You can also request staff to wipe the handle thoroughly after use or at different points of the day.

2. Coffee Mugs

Not every office has the luxury of a dishwasher, and even those that do, are not always regularly using them.

When you grab a coffee mug from the cupboard, it’s reasonable to assume that it is clean and has been properly washed and dried since its last use. However, this is not always the case, especially if they’ve only been treated with ‘light touch’ rinsing.

One study into workplace kitchen hygiene found that a staggering 90% of coffee or tea mugs analysed had high amounts of germs on them, including, in some cases faecal matter. This problem may be associated with the use of substandard cleaning materials or detergents rather than a lack of washing or cleaning.  

For example, it can take as little as three weeks for bacteria such as salmonella and E. coli to develop in washing up sponges, meaning that these and other germs can be transferred to coffee mugs.

To solve the problem, putting sponges in the microwave for two minutes (once a day) can kill most harmful bacteria, but, in any case, it is recommended to replace kitchen sponges every two weeks.     

Another source of coffee mug germs is drying racks. Despite being used frequently, drying racks are rarely cleaned, with the result that – over time – dirt and germs can build up, transferring from drying rack to mugs, plates and cutlery straight after they have been washed.

Ask your commercial cleaning company to clean your drying rack regularly; if made of metal it can even be put in the dishwasher.

3. Office Equipment

Unless your commercial office cleaning service regularly tends to pieces of desktop or office equipment, they can become a hotbed for germs, making them sometimes dirtier than the toilet area.

Buttons on office equipment such as printers, copiers and other devices that are constantly used provide the perfect breeding ground for germs to grow rapidly. To help combat this, using sanitising wipes placed next to the machine in question can help reduce the problem. Any piece of office equipment known to have many hands touching it may not be cleaned for long periods, creating ideal environments for germs to grow and eventually be passed around to those who touch them.

4. Keyboards and mouse

Computer keyboards and mice are at the heart of any office, sitting on virtually every desktop. Many types of germs are known to live on them, which is why we’ve included them in our list.

Workers around the office will have – at some time – touched their keyboard and mouse without washing their hands beforehand. And, for workplaces that use hot desks where multiple workers use the same keyboard and mouse, the risk of germ proliferation keeps on rising.

Then there’s the further possibility that keyboards and mice retain grime, oil and crumbs from food eaten while at the desk. This can be an easy fix by wiping the keyboard with a sanitising wipe, but it’s easier said than done, especially when employees are using the same keyboard.

Again, think about asking your cleaning company to include a rota for cleaning desktop items such as mice and keyboards on a regular basis.

5. Door handles

Similar to microwave handles, internal door handles between offices and to meeting rooms and washrooms are used frequently out of necessity.

It is inevitable that where large number of workers move around internally from room to room, there will be a large amount of germ transfer from person to person as a result of using door handles.

It is not really feasible to expect everyone to carry sanitary wipes when moving around the office to wipe down doors and handles, or even to use hand cleanser.

So to help minimise the risk of germs spreading in this way, make sure your commercial office cleaning company includes doors and handles across major entrances and exits as well as internally in their schedule.

To wrap things up

It might come as a surprise that the five areas we’ve discussed above all constitute germ hotspots. It just shows that no area of your office should be overlooked when it comes to cleaning and hygiene.

If you want a commercial cleaning company that goes the extra mile to ensure your office is kept clean and hygienic, talk to Wixted Cleaning. We’ll be pleased to provide you with a quotation for a full professional schedule to keep your office clean and hygienic and your workers safe.

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