How to Clean Your Desk and Other Office Items

Your desk, keyboard, and coffee cup are teeming with germs. In fact, the surfaces around your workplace are some of the dirtiest places you come in contact with each day. Office items such as keyboards and desks can be breeding grounds for bacteria, yet these frequently touched surfaces are rarely cleaned, according to a survey by job-search site Joblist. The average respondent reported cleaning their computer mouse and keyboard fewer than two times a month and their desk about three times a month.

According to research from Charles Gerba of the University of Arizona, the average desk is teeming with about 800 bacteria per square inch. The unwashed coffee cup sitting at your desk and your work phone are even grosser, with 2,200 and 1,600 bacteria per square inch, respectively.

To compare, the average toilet seat in an office building harbors about 59 bacteria per square inch, a small fraction of the germs you make contact with at your own desk. Think about that the next time you’re eating lunch while taking calls or typing emails.

You should clean your desk about three times a month to prevent the spread of germs and illness.

Did you know that your office keyboard is probably covered in bacteria? A recent study found that 96% of the 25 keyboards tested were contaminated with potentially harmful bacteria, including disease-causing microorganisms like E. coli and Staphylococcus aureus.

These bacteria can lead to serious illnesses and infections, so it’s important to take steps to protect yourself. Make sure you clean your keyboard regularly, and disinfect it if it gets especially dirty. You should also wash your hands often, and avoid eating at your desk.

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By taking these simple precautions, you can help keep yourself healthy and disease-free.

Three-quarters of respondents from a recent Joblist survey said they’ve gone into work while sick, which is worrying in light of the current coronavirus pandemic.

With more than half of workplace surfaces being contaminated with viruses, including the office coffee pot handle, doorknobs, phones, and desks, your risk of infection from certain viruses can be up to 90% if one of your co-workers is ill, according to research from the University of Arizona. (Note: This study was conducted before the COVID-19 pandemic.)

Although it may be difficult to keep your keyboard, phone, and computer mouse completely germ-free, there are still proper cleaning habits you can follow to significantly reduce the amount of germs on these surfaces. First and foremost, always wash your hands thoroughly and frequently, especially after using the restroom and before eating. Then follow these cleaning practices to regularly disinfect your desk and other office items:

  • – Wipe down your most frequently touched office surfaces every evening before you log off.
  • – Use a disinfectant wipe or spray on your keyboard, mouse, and phone daily.
  • – Keep hand sanitizer at your desk to use throughout the day as needed.

How to Clean Your Desk and Office Accessories

The best way to clean and disinfect your desk area is to start with the items on top. If you use a coffee cup or reusable water bottle at work, make sure to wash it daily with liquid dish soap and hot water.

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You can also take it home from the office each night to run it through the dishwasher. Use disinfectant wipes to clean frequently-used items, such as your stapler, tape dispenser, scissors, and most-used pens. Make sure to wipe down all sides of these items. You may also want to wash other desktop accessories like pen holders with soap and water.

Next, you can disinfect your desk surface by removing all items from the desktop (or moving them to the side) and wiping down the entire surface with disinfectant wipes.

Be sure to wait for the cleaning solution to dry before moving the desk items back into place. If possible, remove your computer, phone, pen holder, and other accessories from the desktop while you clean.

How to Clean a Home Office Desk

The average office desk is easy to clean with disinfectant wipes, but if you work from home, your desk might be made of a different, more delicate material. Be sure to only use cleaning products that are safe for the surface to avoid discoloration or other damage, and check the manufacturer’s instructions for specific cleaning directions.

To clean a wood desk, you should typically only use cleaners designed for wood surfaces or a diluted solution of mild soap and water. Take care not to soak the surface, and wipe away any excess moisture immediately with a clean towel.

How to Clean Your Keyboard, Mouse, and Screen

Before you start cleaning your computer’s accessories and screens, make sure to power down your device and unplug the keyboard and mouse. To clean your keyboard, follow these steps:

  1. Gently shake the keyboard upside-down over a trash can to clear any loose crumbs and dust.
  2. Spray compressed air between the keys to clear any remaining debris.
  3. Use a disinfectant wipe to clean the keyboard, paying extra attention to often-used keys such as the space bar and Enter key.
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If you’re cleaning your laptop keyboard with a disinfectant wipe, make sure to squeeze out any excess liquid before cleaning to avoid getting moisture into the openings, which can damage the keyboard. Let the keyboard dry completely before using it again.

You can follow similar instructions for cleaning your computer mouse. Unplug the mouse and remove batteries if needed, then clean all sides and the scroll with a disinfectant wipe. For laptops, swipe the disinfectant wipe across the touchpad, taking care not to get excess moisture into the openings. Let the mouse dry completely before using it again.

How to Clean Your Desk Phone

Disinfectant wipes are an effective way to clean your desk phone. Unplug the device and wipe down all surfaces, including the ear and mouthpieces, cords, and buttons. For best results, aim to clean your office phone daily and immediately after someone else has used it. To help keep your phone germ-free, make sure your hands are clean before using it.

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