When it comes to cleaning, our home usually takes priority. After all, it’s an endless circuit of bathroom, kitchen, vacuuming, dusting…
But what about those of us who go out to work?
You might spend 7 or 8 hours a day there, sharing facilities with co-workers. If you work in an office, it’s usually a guaranteed fact that at least one member of staff is sickly and/or snotty. They’re often too busy ‘soldiering on’ to think about proper hygiene too!
Now, you may not feel too concerned if you work at a place which employs office cleaners. However, I’ve worked as an office cleaner – a regular service simply doesn’t get to the really germy stuff, which I’m going to talk about below. Your cleaner will empty the bins, wipe down the worktops in the kitchen, hoover around and polish desks – but if you’ve left your latest project splayed out all over your workspace, it ain’t gonna get touched.
With that in mind, you need to keep on top of your own housekeeping a little to prevent the transfer of grot and germs. Here are a few green office cleaning tips:
Cleaning my Workspace – What Should I use?
The majority of people in offices use surface/sanitizing wipes to keep things clean around their workspace. These aren’t very eco-friendly, but have the plus points that they are quick and simple to use, and easy to dispose of. Ecover have bridged the gap between eco-friendly cleaning methods and surface wipes with their own Antibacterial Multi-Surface Wipes.
I tested these out in my own office back in the days of Natural Gleam, and they work just as well as conventional brands – they also smell of pomegranate, which is a hell of a lot nicer than chemical apples/lemon/lavender.
You can also use Ye Old Microfibre Cloth and spray to wipe things down – the easiest thing to do is to mix white vinegar and water in a spray bottle to kill office germs. However, if you have beautiful old wooden desks or something, you work in a very nice place and you should probably lay off the vinegar a bit if you don’t want to damage the wood. Try a multi-surface spray (such as these ones here) instead.
Use a mixture of 1 part white vinegar to 1 part distilled water with a lint-free old rag to clean your screens – particularly useful for phones, laptops and tablets.
Finally, there’s a couple of other tools you can stash in your desk to keep on top of things – let colleagues borrow them periodically in exchange for a takeout coffee, chocolates from the tin or your choice of music for 30 minutes.
Old toothbrush – For those not on top of their cleaning game, the toothbrush can get the built-up-grot out of the recesses in the phone handset, around the buttons, and whatever you hoard in between the keyboard keys. If you can get your boss to pay, try a Sonic Scrubber.
Ornament duster – Those mini ornament dusters are the business for preventing dust build up. And dust will indeed build up – particularly on the monitor & base, on the printer and all the bits of the desk that are not used much.
Areas To Watch Out For
Keyboard/mouse – Just think about how much we touch these! Many of us also eat lunch at our desks too, which can end up in the keyboard. Enter the smug Mac user with the gappy keys – yes, I’m in that camp too, but the time I save not having to vacuum my keyboard is now spent rubbing it down because WHITE SHOWS EVERYTHING. Clean these lots.
Phone – Again, there’s all that button-prodding, not to mention the fact that a piece of it goes next to your face; which incidentally is where you breathe in. I hate phones in general but this is another reason why. Sweaty hands and makeup do not help their cause. Wipe regularly.
Bins – make sure these have liners in; if not leakages can remain and go mouldy. Yuk.
Office kitchen microwave – These are often health hazards. My advice is don’t bring food which requires microwaving to work.
Door handles, switches, loos – All germy places. Without going crazy there’s not much you can do, other than make sure your personal hygiene is up-to-scratch. Spray unhygienic-looking members of staff with vinegar spray (please avoid the face) until they shape up.