Cleaning & Disinfecting Your Office

There’s a right and wrong way to clean, especially when you’re focusing on removing and killing viruses and bacteria. Cody Millsap, vice president of commercial cleaning company Stratus Building Solutions, offers the following advice in an Inc. interview:

  • Don’t clean using a circular or back and forth motion. That only redistributes the germs.
  • Do use an up to down motion to wipe surfaces, and don’t go back over it in the opposite direction.
  • Don’t use reusable towels to clean that might end up somewhere else, like the breakroom.
  • Do use paper towels to prevent cross-contamination, and throw them away immediately after cleaning.

Additionally, in its coronavirus resources, the CDC offers the following guidelines for cleaning and disinfecting surfaces:

  • Do wear gloves. If you must use reusable gloves when cleaning, do not use them for any other purpose. Follow the manufacturer’s guidelines for cleaning and disinfecting these gloves.
  • Do wash your hands immediately after cleaning, even if you wear gloves.

You must also be mindful of high-touch items that stay on your desk or that circulate between your colleagues. For example, a container of pens could harbor bacteria and viruses if colleagues or customers use them temporarily and then return them. Wash your reusable water bottle or coffee mug with hot soapy water and dry it completely at the end of each day.

Wipe down other supplies — like files, books, headsets, and staplers — with a disinfecting wipe if someone uses them and returns them to your desk.

Last, be wary of areas where colleagues commonly come and go, like a break room or meeting room. While these are typically cleaned at the end of the day by a cleaning staff, they can be hot spots for germ transmission during office hours.

If you must use the breakroom, bring hand sanitizer or wash your hands after touching commonly handled surfaces, such as the refrigerator door, the microwave, tables and chairs, and the vending machine.