The Ten Germiest Spaces in Your Office

Fall is here, and with it comes cold and flu season. We know that no one likes to think about the germs that cause illnesses, but it’s important to prepare because 98% percent of workers are affected by minor illnesses each year. How is that possible? Well, it turns out that germs move fast. Really fast. A recent study by researchers at the University of Arizona College of Public Health shows that it only takes 2-4 hours for the germs from one infected surface to spread to 40 to 60 percent of office surfaces.  One sick person touches the door on the way in and their germs have spread through most of the office before lunch time.

What do you do to stop the spread? Keep hands and shared surfaces clean. With the proper use of disinfecting wipes and hand sanitizer, as well as frequent hand washing, you can reduce the number of infected surfaces by 80%! So, start by making sure that hand sanitizer, wipes, and soap are readily available. Don’t have enough soap and sanitizer dispensers? Contact us today to find out how you can get FREE touchless soap and hand sanitizer dispensers for your entire office.

Once you have the supplies you need, educate your staff about the spread of germs and how to stop it. This list of the 10 germiest places in your office, and suggestions for keeping them germ free, are a good place to start.  (Click here to download a poster-sized version of this information to hang in your office.)

1. Office Phone

According to University of Arizona research, your office phone gets coated with bacteria from your mouth and hands, harboring about 25,000 germs per square inch. Yikes!

Clean it up!

  • Wash your hands with soap and water to prevent the spread of germs.
  • Wipe down the receiver and keypad daily with a sanitizing wipe.


2. Keyboard and Mouse

Both are an unavoidable part of each work day and are constantly touched. Unfortunately, they’re rarely cleaned. That equals germs.

Clean it up!

  • Use electronics cleaning wipes or spray to keep things clean.
  • Try a washable keyboard. They’re fully submersible in water for cleaning!


3. Desktop

Most of us don’t wipe down our desktop before and after eating lunch or a snack, yet food particles can be a breeding ground. If you place your purse or briefcase on top your desk, you’ve just added to the petri dish.

Clean it up!

  • Clean your desk with disinfecting wipes or spray at least once a week.
  • Eat in the breakroom instead of at your desk.


4. Fax Machines and Copiers

Everyone touches them, but when’s the last time you saw someone clean them?

Clean it up!

  • Put hand sanitizer in commons areas. Its use will help prevent the spread of germs.
  • Make sure that cleaning these items is a part of your regular routine.


5. Communal Breakroom Items

The communal coffee pot, refrigerator, and microwave are all laden with illness-causing germs.

Clean it up!

  • Wash items like the coffee pot regularly with dish soap.
  • Wipe down surfaces with disinfecting wipes or antibacterial kitchen spray.


6. Water Cooler

The spout rarely gets disinfected and you often see people filling their already used water bottles or cups with it, sometimes touching the spout directly.

Clean it up!

  • Disinfect the spouts once a week by soaking them in a diluted bleach solution.


7. Shared Pens

You might want to think twice about letting a co-worker use your pen. On average, surface germs lurk for up to 72 hours.

Clean it up!

  • Disinfecting individual pens is probably asking too much. Keep germs in check by washing hands with soap and water or using hand sanitizer.


8. Common Areas

Conference room armrests, doorknobs, light switches, and railings, are touched by many hands and cleaned only occasionally, if that.

Clean it up!

  • Once again—clean hands equal cleaner surfaces. Wash with soap or use hand sanitizer.
  • Ask your cleaning crew to clean often touched surfaces daily using a disinfectant cleaner.


9. Vending Machines

Fingers, money, and food – a great combination for harboring potential pathogens. Neither the vendor filling it nor the cleaning crew wipe down this germy beast.

Clean it up!

  • Put hand sanitizer in the breakroom and encourage coworkers to use it.
  • Clean the machine with a disinfecting cleaner as part of your regular routine.


10. Elevator Buttons

There’s a reason you see people using their elbow to press their floor.

Clean it up!

  • You know the drill by now. Clean and clean. Keep hands clean and clean surfaces regularly.