The more that an office area receives traffic, the dirtier it can become. For example, a storage room that is often closed and hardly visited by employees will stay clean longer than the office restroom or the breakroom which both receive a considerable number of visits from the employees. So which one has more office germs: office restroom or the breakroom?
What’s in the Restroom?
When searching for office germs, most people look to the restrooms. They commonly think of these areas in the restroom as places where germs inhabit, breed, or just plain hang around:
- Floor – the restroom floor can be made dirty by the footwear of whoever comes in, employee or not. Even if there is a floor mat on which to wipe the footwear on, not everyone uses this mat properly. Some just actually step on it, not even bothering to wipe. The mat itself may also be heavily soiled and remain unwashed or unchanged for a long time. The restroom floor may also be wet, or contain a urine spill (or worse) which makes it an ideal place for harboring germs that are happy to be in moist places. What’s even worse is that these office germs are then tracked throughout the facility!
- Toilet bowl and urinal – while flushing is intended to remove the waste matter that is deposited in toilet bowls and urinals, not all people flush properly. Some even forget to flush because they are in a rush. Germs float around in the air and when they notice a suitable location to multiply (such as a dirty toilet bowl or urinal), they zoom in and take dominion of such places faster than you can say “yuck!”
- Sink or water basin – this needs to be kept dry so that germs attracted to dampness don’t stay there. However, some see wiping it down as a futile exercise because a washbowl is always used. It’s not only the sink itself that may be full of germs. The faucets, which come into contact with soiled hands, are also dirty and germy.
- Doorknob – this “disease contact point” is very dirty and germy as well. A hand that comes in contact with the doorknob has the capability of passing on germs to the doorknob, and in an ironic twist, the reverse can happen with the doorknob passing on germs to the hand. For example, if someone with a cold used his hand to wipe his nose, then touched the doorknob, well, it’s instant transmission. When it comes to the spread of office germs, doorknobs are certainly at the top of the list.
What’s in the Breakroom?
If all that’s been mentioned about the restroom being high in office germs has made you think that the restroom is the most germ-laden place, think again. This is because in the breakroom, the following seemingly harmless items are so full of germs:
- Microwave – ever thought of the food splatters inside? How about the handle or buttons that get touched all the time, and are seldom, if ever, wiped clean?
- Sink faucets – like the restroom faucets, they also breed a lot of germs.
- Refrigerator handles – they get touched a lot, more often than the restroom doorknob
- Dishrag or any rag that’s in the breakroom to wipe spills – can you say yowza? That’s probably what all the germs on those rags do each time there’s a spill and the rags keep getting more wet.
- Trash bin – receptacle of leftovers, soiled empty food packages, empty cans and bottles… this is a germ’s paradise.
- Tabletops and Counters — neither of these are properly cleaned between use and harbor a ton of bacteria that are passed from user to user. These high traffic surfaces are prone to the passing of office germs.
What makes matters worse for the breakroom, is that unlike the restroom, it isn’t really considered as a dirty place because it’s a place for eating and places like that are supposed to be naturally kept clean, aren’t they? Ironically, most people take less care in cleanliness in the breakroom than they do in the restroom.
Reducing Office Germs
Clearly, both the restroom and the breakroom are perfect breeding grounds for disease-causing bacteria and viruses. The simplest way to reduce office germs is by educating people and reminding them to wash their hands — often!