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9 Shocking Germ Hotspots In Your Office And How To Clean Them

Published March 7 2023 by Green Kleaning Services, LLC

Is your office making you sick? You might be surprised at the number of germ hotspots lurking in your workplace. Here are some of the germiest places your office workers come in contact with:

germ hotspots in office

How dirty is your office?

Really. How dirty is it? Maybe a strange question that you might not think about often, only when you open the staff fridge and someone hasn't been keeping an eye on the dates of the leftovers, but one that's essential for every business to consider.

A clean and healthy workplace is essential for employees' well-being and a business's success. This has become essential since the pandemic, and with the rise in cold and flu viruses, we all suffer from year after year.

The presence of germs in the workplace can pose a significant health risk to employees, clients, and yourself, but it doesn't have to be the case when you know what to look for and how to keep on top of office cleanliness.

In this guide, we'll explore nine shocking germ hotspots in your office and how to clean them to prevent the spread of harmful bacteria and viruses.

#1: Computer Keyboards and Mice

computer keyboard

Germs per square inch: Keyboard (3,295), Mouse (1,676)

Due to their frequent use, computer keyboards and mice are a common breeding ground for harmful bacteria and viruses. The statistics show that the average keyboard in an office has 400 times more bacteria than a toilet seat, and when you consider how much a keyboard is used, it's perhaps not so surprising.

Germs you can find on the standard employee's desktop include:

  • E. Coli

  • Klebsiella

picture of a virus
  • Pneumonia

  • Streptococcus

  • Salmonella

  • Staph (Staphylococcus aureus)

  • And more...

It's recommended to clean keyboards and mice regularly using disinfectant wipes and compressed air. Just be sure to turn off the computer and unplug the keyboard and mouse before cleaning. 

You don't want anyone sending out accidental emails!

#2: Desk Phones

Germs per square inch: 25,000

Did you know 60% of illnesses that lead to absences from work come from office equipment? 

Considering this, and the fact that most offices will use shared equipment, it's no wonder sicknesses spread so quickly. It's simple math as equipment like office phones harbor germs and bacteria due to their frequent use. 

To clean desk phones, use alcohol wipes or a solution of vinegar and water to disinfect surfaces. Ensure to clean both the earpiece and mouthpiece, including the phone cord.

#3: Office Kitchen and Break Room

Germs per square inch: 30,000+

The number of germs in a kitchen can vary wildly depending on what you're looking at, but considering the average desk has about 25,000 suggests that your office fridge can have so much more.

The problem is that most workers might see the importance of keeping their desk area clean because they work there, but community areas like the office kitchen and break room are often overlooked because it could be anyone else's problem.

The trick here is to get the staff on your team to tidy up after themselves and stick to a schedule or routine that ensures everyone has accountability for keeping this important area of the office clean. 

It's essential to keep the kitchen and break room clean by wiping down surfaces with disinfectant, washing dishes and utensils thoroughly, and properly disposing of food waste and out-of-date food from the work fridge.

Otherwise, you could risk having a huge health risk issue on your hands. Literally.

#4: Restrooms

Germs per square inch: 7,000+

Restrooms are a well-known breeding ground for harmful germs and bacteria due to their frequent use and not it's not just the toilet seats. The average office toilet holds around 150+ types of bacteria, and with such germs taking an average of two hours to spread, you have to be proactive.

The easiest way to address the hygiene of your office restrooms is to invoke an easy hand-washing policy, coupled with signage and reminders throughout the office. 

Also, invest in a regular cleaning service that ensures the area is cleaned up well and professionally.

#5 Office Doorknobs and Light Switches

Germs per square inch: 500+

With the average household, door handles harbor around 217 types of bacteria. Naturally, it makes sense to believe that the more frequently used office door handles are far beyond this. When you consider that your typical office probably receives visitors, delivery drivers, etc., this count could be much higher.

The rule of thumb is to use disinfectant wipes to clean door handles regularly (twice a week is recommended) and encourage workers to practice hand hygiene by wash their hands regularly to prevent the spread of germs.

#6 Elevator Buttons

Bacteria per square inch: 313+

UK studies show that elevator buttons can house over 40 times more bacteria and germs than the average toilet seat, making it a hot contender for a germ hotspot you'll want to look out for.

Again, think about all the people who move up and down through your office, not just on your floor but throughout the entire building. That makes the elevator buttons one of the biggest hotspots.

The solution, however, is simple. 

Use sanitizing wipes to clean elevator buttons properly, and avoid touching them with bare hands where possible.

#7 Office Appliances and Shared Equipment

Shared office appliances and equipment can be a surprising hub of germs and bacteria. Items such as printers, fax machines, shared computers, and even the office coffee maker are frequently touched by multiple people throughout the day. This cross-contamination can lead to a high concentration of germs in these common areas.

To minimize the risk of infection, these shared resources should be thoroughly cleaned on a regular basis. A good strategy includes using a microfiber cloth and a suitable electronic-friendly disinfectant to wipe down surfaces, buttons, and handles. Additionally, providing hand sanitizers or keeping antimicrobial wipes handy near these high-touch areas encourages staff to disinfect their hands before and after use. Lastly, implementing a policy to clean these shared appliances and machines at the end of each day can greatly reduce the potential spread of harmful bacteria and viruses.

#8 Handrails

spiral staircase

A study by Dr. Charles Gerba for carried out sample testing on the handrails of stairs and escalators of shopping malls and turned up some rather disgusting results.

The germs and bacteria detected include;

  • E-Coli

  • Food particles

  • Urine

  • Mucus

  • Feces

  • Blood

That's right, traces of blood were found on the surfaces of handrails, which were then transferred to hands and onto food and other surfaces. Be proactive in keeping them clean.

#9 Personal Items and Accessories

Personal items like phones, bags, and jewelry can harbor harmful germs and bacteria and are especially a cause for concern because they can come from all over the place, bringing germs from other areas of the city or town. 

While you're not going to be able to tackle this one entirely, it may be a good idea to educate your staff on why good device and personal belonging hygiene is so important and provide them with tools to make it easy.

Tools could include alcohol wipes or a solution of vinegar and water they can use to disinfect surfaces.


As you can see, the office is a hotspot for germs and bacteria, and it should be no surprise that your business can seriously benefit from tackling the issues. Healthier workers mean happier and more productive workers, which allows your business to grow and succeed in your ventures.

While small steps and changes can make a big difference, there's no move you can make more beneficial than hiring experienced cleaning staff.

Here at Green Kleaning Services, we offer a full range of janitorial services and office cleaning services throughout Marlborough, MA, and the surrounding areas.

Services include, but aren't limited to:

  • Full office cleaning services

  • Disinfecting services

  • Deep cleaning

  • Carpet cleaning

  • Decluttering and cleanouts

  • One-time cleaning visits

  • Annual spring cleans

Get in contact with us today, and let's turn your office space back into the clean, hygienic, and productive space it always should be, and see how quickly it changes your business for the better.


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