What are the dirtiest spots in your workplace? When you’re cleaning the office, you may be overlooking the worst offenders.
Identifying the nasty
Most employees identify bathroom surfaces as the most disgusting for obvious reasons – and they are. However, chances are they’ve probably unknowingly manhandled a few of the dirtiest spots in the office before even getting to the potty.
The dirty trick
A Kimberly Clark study cited in a TIME’s article identified the sanitary conditions in the average office with the help of ATP readings, measurements that give an indication of dirt – but not necessarily germs. The more ATP (adenosine triphosphate) found on a surface, a molecule found in all animal, vegetable, bacteria, yeast and mold cells, the more likely that surface is to be a breeding ground for bacteria and viruses.
Officially disgusting and at high risk of spreading disease.
The uncommon culprits
Are you hitting these dirty spots when you’re cleaning the office? The percent of the following surfaces with ATP counts of 300 or higher in the study included…
- Break room sink faucet handles – 75%
- Microwave door handles – 48%
- Keyboards – 27%
- Refrigerator door handles – 26%
- Water fountain buttons – 23%
- Vending machine buttons – 21%
These surfaces could also use more frequent attention when you are cleaning the office, with an ATP reading of over 100…
- Break room sink faucet handles – 91%
- Microwave door handles – 80%
- Refrigerator door handles – 69%
- Keyboards – 69%
- Water fountain buttons – 53%
- Desk phones – 51%
- Computer mice – 51%
- Coffee pots and dispensers – 48%
- Vending machine buttons – 43%
What areas are you neglecting when you’re cleaning the office?
Break rooms and personal office spaces are often disregarded as cleaning focuses tend to center on bathrooms and other, more obviously dirty areas. However contamination is easily spread via daily routines – and misdirected cleaning practices.
How can you reduce your risk?
You can lower your risk of cold, flu and stomach illness up to 80% by doing the obvious…
- Be diligent about hand washing or using hand sanitizer.
- When you get to work, especially after using public transportation.
- After every meeting or conference.
- Clean and sanitize items around your workplace.
- Clean your desk with disinfectant wipes at least once a day, especially after eating.
- Sanitize high-touch areas in the break room daily (or use paper towels when you touch them).
- Keep hand sanitizer readily available in these and other high-traffic locations.