The Dirty Truth: Uncovering the Germs Hiding in Your Workspace

On any given workday, you and your coworkers touch many surfaces: your desks, the doorknobs, the office phone, the handle of the coffee pot, your keyboard, and a lot more. Normally, you don’t think twice about doing these mundane acts. But the truth may stump you: some items in your office contain more germs and bacteria than a kitchen cutting board and a toilet seat.

The average work desk contains thousands of bacteria, 400 times more than a toilet seat. And there’s no one to blame but humans. A study by the University of Arizona found people are the most common culprit of spreading bacteria on and around their workspaces, desktops computers, keyboards, phones, and others. This off-putting fact puts a premium on personal hygiene habits.

Personal Hygiene and Grooming

Unfortunately, not everyone excels at keeping themselves well-groomed. Most are guilty of snacking while on their desk and watching the crumbs fall into the tiny gaps on their keyboards. A study from the Michigan State University revealed this: only 5 percent of people wash their hands properly after using the bathroom.

These habits, although seemingly small, spread germs onto the surfaces in the workplace, which can be passed on to employees. Contaminated hands cause a large percentage of foodborne disease outbreaks, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention.

Unwashed hands cause the spread of the following strains of bacteria: Helicobacter pylori, E. coli, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, and Staphylococcus aureus, to name a few.

The alarming number of bacteria that thrives in the workplace raises the importance of thorough and regular office cleaning.

What bacteria hotspots should check?

Kitchen Sink

An often-cited study from Kimberly-Clark Professional says that the shared kitchen sink is the dirtiest surface in an office. The findings reveal that the handle of the faucet has an Adenosine Triphosphate (ATP) count of 300 or higher. A clean surface will only have a count of under 25. The high level of ATP indicates that plenty of bacteria are thrive on the surface.

Copier Start Button

The copier’s start button is secretly harboring different strains of bacteria. It has more than 1.2 billion colony forming units (CFU) per square inch, which refers to the number of viable bacteria cells in an area. A school toilet seat only has 3,200 CFU, a much lower figure by comparison.

Coffee Pot Handle

The coffee pot handle is another sly hotspot for bacteria. It has more than 108,000 CFU, most of which are gram-negative rods. This type of bacteria cause various infections and even resist antibiotics.

More importantly, the coffee pot handle seems to act as a “beacon” for the bacteria, says Charles Gerba, a microbiologist from the University of Arizona. His team put viruses on doorknobs to determine how fast they can travel. The findings revealed that the viruses first appeared on the handle of the coffee pot. Although this may speak more about employees’ habits instead of which surfaces attract bacteria most.

Apart from these three spots, bacteria and germs can also thrive on carpets, furniture upholstery, and glass surfaces.

Whether you run a small office or an entire corporate building, regular cleaning is critical to the health and safety of your employees, and their productivity. Fortunately, you can leave this task to the professionals.

Tough Office Cleaning Services

Mya Cleaning Services provides tough and thorough sanitation and disinfection for office spaces in Los Angeles. We do more than the usual vacuuming, dusting, and, sweeping. We make sure that each nook and cranny is spotless and free from dirt, grime, and germs.

Call us today and get a quote.