Germs are more likely to spread in your office kitchen than almost anywhere else. Think about it: everyone shares that space, and when people are making food or getting coffee, they’re going to touch those surfaces and their mouths.
Keep your office kitchen clean for a healthy, safe workplace.
Tips for Keeping Your Office Kitchen Clean and Healthy
Some messes are obvious. Most people aren’t going to leave spills and crumbs on countertops, and you can usually tell when the floor needs sweeping.
It’s the little things that are most likely to make you sick, because you don’t think about them until the grime builds up.
Here are some good habits to build to keep up with your office kitchen hygiene:
Don’t leave dishes in the sink.
If you have a dishwasher, make it clear that it’s up to everyone to rinse their dishes and put them in the machine. It helps to have a little magnet or indicator to show if the dishes are clean or dirty, and make sure you decide who’s responsible for emptying the machine and putting the clean dishes away.
Most offices don’t have a dishwasher, though.
Nobody wants to get stuck washing other people’s empty plastic containers or coffee mugs. Set a rule that no dishes are allowed in the sink, and enforce it strictly.
The longer dirty dishes sit in the sink, the more bacteria and mold has a chance to grow. Besides, touching wet, rotting food that’s been sitting there for a few days is disgusting.
Clean out the fridge weekly.
Unless you make a habit of cleaning out old lunches, leftovers, and forgotten snacks, the old stuff will just get pushed to the back of the shelf.
Eventually, all that stuff in the back of the fridge goes bad and grows a layer of fuzz.
Moldy food is a health risk, and it’s also super gross for everyone who wants to store their lunch in the company fridge.
Don’t let things get out of control. Designate somebody to clean out the fridge every Friday, and make sure that everyone in the office knows they should take home anything they want to keep.
Clean coffee pots and water dispensers at least every 2 weeks.
The handle of your coffee pot is one of the most germ-covered places in the office!
Clean the coffee pot and the handles of any water coolers each day to keep everyone healthy, but don’t stop there. Make sure you clean out the coffee maker and get your water cooler serviced, too.
You might run diluted vinegar through the coffee machine every couple of Fridays before the weekend, or if you have a commercial pot, you can schedule regular cleanings from the service provider. Germs can grow in any wet environment, and that means you might be drinking more than you bargained for.
Throw away old food in cabinets.
Like the fridge, the community snack cabinet can become a graveyard of stale crackers, rock hard snack cakes, and expired protein shakes.
Check expiration dates in community cabinets on a regular basis and throw away anything out of date. We recommend doing this about once per month.
You might also encourage others in the office to be mindful of any snacks stored in desk drawers, too.
Be sure to clean out cabinets before restocking, and to make sure you don’t end up with a bunch of stale food pushed to the back, rotate anything you put in. Put the newer items behind the old items to make it easier to grab things that have been there the longest.
Wipe down microwave each evening, including handles.
Food splatter is easiest to clean right after it happens.
Unfortunately, there’s always someone in the office who heats up their spaghetti and leaves little red specks of sauce all over the inside of the microwave.
Whoever cleans up in the evening should take care to wipe down the microwave both inside and outside.
Be sure to clean the handle, too! Everyone grabs the microwave door handle after they’ve been touching food, and since it gets gross quickly and everyone puts their hands on it right before they eat, it’s a hot spot for spreading germs.
If there’s stuck on food, try this:
Heat a microwave safe mug of water for 5 minutes so that it boils and steams up. Let it sit for another 5 minutes, then carefully remove it and clean the microwave as usual. The steam loosens the food splatter and makes it easier to wipe away.
A Clean Kitchen is a Safe Kitchen
Office kitchen hygiene is easiest when everyone shares responsibility.
Don’t be afraid to ask people to do their share of the work. Everyone in your office is (probably) a grownup, and they can handle the shared responsibility to keep the office kitchen clean.