Where Are the Dirtiest Areas in an Office?

Does your office copier work round-the-clock? You may want to disinfect your hands each time you use it. According to a study, the start button in an office copier contains more than 1.2 million colony-forming units (CFU) per square inch on average.

CFU refers to the measurement of bacteria levels, and the presence of such a large amount in a copier start button should make you think twice before touching anything after pressing it. Germ-ridden doorknobs aren’t surprising, although an office entrance knob has 545 CFUs.

In other words, you and your employees already become exposed to bacteria as soon as you reach the office.

Comparing Bacteria Levels

The study’s results are quite exaggerated since it claimed that a copier start button is even dirtier than a pet food dish, which has 306,000 CFUs. Still, the research based its findings from collecting 25 bacteria swabs from five different offices.

It found gram-positive cocci and gram-positive rods on the copier start buttons from five offices. Gram-positive cocci cause skin infections, pneumonia, and septicemia (i.e., blood poisoning). By contrast, gram-positive rods are not really harmful unless you have a weak immune system.

Doorknobs in office entrances contain a small level of gram-positive cocci, gram-positive rods, and bacillus, which is both beneficial and harmful to humans depending on the type of strain. However, the presence of gram-negative rods posed a concern since most types of are antibiotic-resistant.

Other Dirty Areas

The coffee pot and water dispenser handles are some other germ-ridden areas in the office. In fact, a coffee pot handle contains 34 times more bacteria than a school toilet seat, according to the study. Water dispenser handles are almost as dirty as bathroom doorknob at home.

In terms of bacteria composition, gram-negative rods comprise more than 99% of germs found in coffee pot handles. Bacillus is the predominant bacteria found on water dispenser handles at 71%, followed by 23% of gram-negative rods.

Regular Cleaning Remains the Best Solution

cleaning service

Personal hygiene among employees remains important, although office landlords and building managers must also be responsible. The cost of professional cleaning varies based on where you are in the country, but businesses in smaller cities usually pay less than their counterparts in major cities.

For instance, the average rate of office cleaning in Olathe, Kansas, may be cheaper than in Rowland Heights, California, where janitorial services cost $780 per week. Consult a cleaning specialist like MC Janitorial to find out the actual price since there are a lot of factors that determine service rates.

You can negotiate a fair rate by contracting a professional every week for deep-cleaning services instead of a monthly visit. Choose a professional that has an A+ accreditation with the Better Business Bureau.

The dirtiest parts in the office don’t have to be visually disgusting, as bacteria are obviously invisible to the naked eye. The study shouldn’t induce panic and stress but rather encourage employers, workers, and building managers to maintain a clean work environment for everyone’s health and safety.