The office breakroom may have unexpected health hazards

Courtesy of Kimberly-Clark Professional

According to a study conducted in 2012 by Kimberly-Clark Professional, you may be surprised where the germs in your office may reside. Here’s a hint: it’s actually not the bathroom.

The majority of germs and bacteria is actually where food may be prepared and eaten. Break rooms and kitchens are at the top of the list for being the worst offenders of germs at the office. You may be shocked to find out that the dirtiest surface of all is not the toilet seat – it was actually found to be the microwave door handle!

The other contenders for highest level of contamination are, in this order: sink faucet handles, keyboards, refrigerator door handles, water fountain buttons, and vending machine buttons. It feels shocking, but when you really think about it, it makes sense. How many times a day are those handles and buttons used and by how many different people? For example, you would need to turn on the faucet before washing your hands, so germs or bacteria can move from your hand to the handle, you can wash your hands, and then be re-infected by those same germs just by turning the handle again… Or you can leave it for some other poor unsuspecting colleague.

Because of these points of contention, it’s important that you or your cleaning company spend special attention to areas with high rates of germs or bacteria to congregate. If you have a nightly cleaning crew, make sure that they’re wiping down all handles for faucets, doors, etc. to cut down on risk of sickness infection, food particle infection, or otherwise. You can share your break room space with your coworkers, but you don’t have to share their sickness.

Here are some great tips to help you cut down on the spread of germs in your office break room:

  • Wash your hands when you get to work, before and after eating, after using the restroom,
    and before you leave or when you get home.
  • Wipe down the following items daily: keyboards, mouse elements, telephones, door handles, faucet handles, countertops, water fountain buttons, vending machine buttons, intercom system buttons, combination buttons, and other areas that people may touch multiple times a day. You can do this with disinfecting wipes or with a more tried and true method of cleaning product.

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