Why -- and How -- You Should Disinfect Your Desk

Usually, the office is buzzing with ringing phones, humming copiers and water cooler chatter - but sometimes there's a chorus of sneezes, sniffles and coughs too.

You can prevent the spread of workplace colds by keeping your personal space clean and germ-free. Here are the areas most likely to spread germs and how you can keep them from causing illness.

Computer keyboard A case study conducted by a UK consumer watchdog organization revealed that office keyboards had more germs than office toilets. Chances are that the restrooms are cleaned regularly by sanitation staff. But who is cleaning your personal keyboard? How to keep it clean:

  • Turn your computer off and unplug the keyboard.
  • Use a can of compressed air to release dust from the keyboard.
  • Dip cotton swabs in a mild cleaning solution and wipe the surfaces between each key.
  • Use a lint-free cloth and the cleaning solution to gently wipe all other surfaces.

Phone - Your phone harbors germs from your hands, ears, face and mouth. Sanitize your phone before you take one more call.

  • Unplug the phone.
  • Use a lint-free cloth and a cleaning solution to gently wipe all over surfaces.
  • Use a disinfecting wipe on the handset, and pay careful attention to surfaces that come closest to your mouth.

Water bottle - Congrats for keeping up with your daily water intake. But don't treat your favorite water bottle as a permanent fixture on your desk.

  • Bring your water bottle home daily.
  • Wash it with dish detergent and warm water.

Penholder - Your collection of pens, pencils and highlighters can be a surprisingly germy spot, especially because these items are commonly shared and often travel from desk to desk and hand to hand.

  • Ditch your current collection of pens and buy a new pack.
  • Rather than storing them all on your desktop, keep most of them tucked away in a drawer. Your coworkers will be less likely to use your pens if they see you've only got one or two.
  • Wash your penholder in soap and warm water.

Snacks - Food crumbs can be a breeding ground for bacteria or vermin. Don't be the coworker who welcomes uninvited guests into the office.

  • Keep all snacks sealed in airtight containers.
  • Do not eat lunch at your desk. If you do have a snack, be sure to use a plate and thoroughly wipe the surface afterward.

Desktop - The final step of a clean workspace is a disinfected desk. Once you've cleaned the other items on your desk, you're ready for the finishing touch.

  • Remove any papers or clutter from your desktop.
  • Use disinfectant wipes to thoroughly clean the entire surface.
  • Do not ignore spaces that aren't easily accessible. For instance, lift photo frames to wipe underneath them.
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