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A Beginner’s Guide to Disinfecting Offices: Everything to Know

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Part of keeping your business running involves making sure that your staff doesn’t get sick. Here is a guide for new businesses on disinfecting offices.

Did you know that the average desk has 400 times the amount of bacteria on it than a toilet seat? Now that you know this fun fact, it’s time to put an office sterilization regime into place that will keep employees safe from infection.Workplace hygiene has always been important. Sources state that businesses lose a whopping $576 billion annually to sick staff. Furthermore, in light of the global health crisis, rigorous workplace sterilization has become an utmost necessity. That said, disinfecting offices is no small task. To thoroughly sterilized a work area, you will need to go over the space with a fine-toothed comb—and ensure that key surfaces/objects don’t get forgotten. Fortunately, we are here to help you with the task. Read on as we guide you through how to thoroughly sterilize an office.

Zeroing in on High Contact Surfaces and Objects
When it comes to disinfecting offices, it’s essential that you pay particular attention to high contact surfaces and objects. These are areas that employees touch multiple times per day, and which pose as potential infection sites.

Let’s take a look at some of these hotspots and how to clean them.To begin with, staff common rooms are prime infection risk areas and will harbor numerous high contact surfaces and objects. Staff congregate, talk, prepare food, etc. Because common rooms typically have a high level of staff traffic, they are one of the most important areas to keep sterilized.To sterilize a common room, start by cleaning all surfaces with disinfectant and water. These include surfaces such as kitchen counters and cupboards, tables, chairs, etc. Additionally, you will also want to pay special attention to appliances such as coffee machines, kettles, microwaves, and refrigerators. Appliances are typically high contact zones so these need to be sterilized thoroughly. Take note, when it comes to appliances, cleaning with water is not always the best idea. If you are cleaning an appliance that is sensitive to moisture, opt instead for antibacterial wipes.

The next hotspot zone in offices is work stations and desks. We established early on that office desks are dirty. When disinfecting offices, those desks have to be sanitized good and proper. Begin by removing all items from the desk that you can and place them on the floor. Depending on the desk material, you can then choose between cleaning with water or alcohol. If the desk is made out of laminated MDF, you can wipe it down with a cloth dipped in cleaning solution and water. On the other hand, if the desk is made out of wood, you may want to skip the water and rather use an alcohol-based disinfectant.However, workstation sterilization doesn’t stop there. What’s something that people touch the most while at their desk? Their computer. Because of this, things like keyboards, mice, headsets, and power buttons can become thriving breeding grounds for bacteria. If the average desk is 400 times dirtier than a toilet… Can you imagine the bacteria count on a keyboard? Or how about we just tell you. Turns out, keyboards are 20,000 times dirtier than, you guessed it, toilet seats. If that’s not enough, research also turned up that some keyboards have mold growing on them. The moral of the story here is clear. Workplace keyboards and computer hardware must be cleaned thoroughly when disinfecting offices.Cleaning with water is not ideal for computer equipment, so once again you will need to use an alcohol-based disinfectant or cleaning solution. Disinfecting wipes work well. If you don’t have wipes you can use a cloth with spray, but make sure it is alcohol-based, not water-based.Before you begin cleaning a computer station, first make sure the computer is turned off. Then wipe every surface, including the screen, mouse, and computer case. Pay special attention to buttons and port areas. When it comes to how to clean keyboards, you might want to start by vacuuming off any dust or debris. Once this is done, rub each button individually and try to also wipe in between the keys.

Once you have health with all your office’s computer hardware, the next stop is the phones. According to analysis, phones harbor around 25,127 bacteria per square inch. Workplace phones can be particularly infected, as they are often used by more than one person. Once again, the best way to clean a phone is by skipping the soap and water and turning to alcohol-based sterilizers. You can either use a cloth and disinfectant or disinfecting wipes. If you wish to economize, you can also mix your own alcohol-based sterilizer by combining 2 parts rubbing alcohol with 1 part water in a spray bottle. Another set of workplace items that employees handle frequently, and which need to be thoroughly sterilized, is stationary. Things like staplers, pens, pencils, and other shared stationery can become a hotbed for germs. As for appliances, computers, and phones, the best way to sterilize stationery items is by using alcohol, either in a spray form or in disposable wipes. However stationary is not where it ends.

If you want to fully sterilize an office space, you also need to focus on disinfecting all seating. This is because chairs are high contact items and they are often shared in spaces like common rooms and waiting areas. Start by strategizing how you will sterilize your office chairs. Any hard chairs can be wiped down with disinfectant. However, padded chairs such as recliners, sofas, and swivel chairs will need some special treatment. One way to clean padded chairs in the office is to simply spray them down from top to toe with an alcohol-based cleaner, paying special attention to the armrests, seat, and backrest. Another method you can try is steam cleaning. Steam cleaners release very fine, hot steam, that instantly kills bacteria and germs. Once you have dealt with the office seating, don’t forget about any faucets in the bathroom and kitchen.

Faucet handles have been ranked as one of the top germiest spots in homes. In workplaces, the diversity and number of germs on faucets only increase, thanks to higher levels of use by more people. One of the tenets of keeping a workplace virus-free is frequent handwashing. However, before employees can sanitize their hands with soap and water, they invariably have to touch a faucet handle. Therefore, faucet handles need to be sanitized regularly and thoroughly to prevent germ spread. To sanitize faucets in the office, simply wash them down with a solution of water and disinfectant. For maintenance sanitization in between deep cleaning, you can also use an alcohol-based spray and sanitizing wipes. Additionally, all buttons, knobs, handles, railings, etc. need to be wiped with a sterilizing solution. Make an inventory of these items and ensure that none slip through the cleaning cracks. Things like light switches, control panels, remotes, keypads, and communal touchscreens experience almost incessant shared contact. Because of this they pose a significant infection risk and should be sterilized regularly. Last but not least, when sterilizing an office space, it’s important not to forget about the floor. Some offices have tiled, laminate, or hardwood floors which can be sterilized with soap and water or a steam mop. Carpets on the other hand are a different story. To thoroughly sterilize a carpet you will need to clean it with a carpet cleaner. Cleaning a large area of carpet is quite a job, and the carpet will need time to dry before the area can be used again. However, to fully sterilize an office, you will need to get any carpeting cleaned.

Color-Coded Cleaning and One Way Wiping
Besides the basics of ascertaining what needs to be cleaned and how—there are also a couple of tricks you can implement to ensure that office sterilization is carried out to perfection.
One of these is color-coded cleaning. The other is one way wiping. Color-coded cleaning is a practice where cleaning supplies are color-coded in accordance with which area of a building they are used in. So, for example, a business might have all red cloths and buckets for cleaning the kitchen and common room, and blue buckets and cloths for the bathrooms. The reason for this is that it prevents cross-contamination between different areas. One way wiping on the other hand is a wiping technique that helps ensure thorough cleaning. Did you know that cleaning can contribute to germ spread? To avoid this, you can implement one way wiping. All you need to do is ensure that surfaces get wiped down in one direction. This prevents germs and bacteria from being “wiped around” and spread. This is also more efficient than wiping in circles.

How to Maintain a Sterile Office Environment
The other trick to a sterilized office is keeping it that way. Once you have thoroughly disinfected the entire office, it is important that re-introduction of germs is kept to a minimum. To keep employees safe and the office as germ-free as possible, it is advised that you display hand-washing warnings and signs. You should provide workplace sanitizer. Re-introduction of germs into an office or workplace s inevitable. However, by getting employees to practice good hand hygiene you may be able to slow the process.

Disinfecting Offices Takes Time
As you can see, disinfecting offices is an intensive task. At the same time, office sterilization has become more crucial than ever before. If you feel daunted by the idea of sterilizing an entire office, you can also choose to bring in a team of pro cleaners to get the job done. Having your office cleaned by a team is quick, cost-effective, and will ensure that not one surface or object gets forgotten. If this sounds like your kind of solution, we specialize in office disinfections and deep cleaning. Call us today to discuss your needs.

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