Desk hygiene has taken on a whole new meaning in recent years as we’ve learnt more about germs and where they thrive. Nowadays, it’s not uncommon for office workers to have a bottle of disinfectant or antibacterial wipes nearby. After all, the virus can live on surfaces for days at a time1. So, what advice should you follow?
Cleaning your desk – a step-by-step guide
A tidy desk is linked with a tidy mind. Did you know people with messy desks tend to procrastinate more2? But productivity aside, cleaning your desk properly could be what stops you from getting ill. Follow these steps to eliminate any harmful germs that could be hiding on yours.
1. Get rid of all your clutter
It’s not enough to clean around things, as dust and airborne germs can collect under books, around cups or on keyboards. Before doing anything else, you should remove the clutter from your desk and either file or throw away old books and rubbish. Be realistic about what you still need.
2. Check your desk’s material and select a suitable cleaning product
Before diving straight in and ruining your antique oak table, be careful about the antibacterial spray you use. Most desks will be fine with an all-purpose surface cleaner and a damp cloth. However, if your desk is particularly old or made of untreated wood, you may need to opt for diluted soapy water or a spray that's specifically made for wood. If you're unsure, you could do a spot test on a hidden part of your desk.
3. Wipe clean
Be thorough but gentle on more delicate surfaces, and ensure you’re covering every corner of your desk. Wipe under laptops, computers and on drawer handles, and give your cloth a good wash when you’re finished.
While you’re at it, you could even give your phone a clean. Phones, particularly those with touch screens, can harbour all sorts of germs. Our guide on cleaning your phone has all the information you need, whether you’re worried about cross-contamination or just curious.
How often should you clean your desk?
It depends on how often you use it. If you're now working from home, cleaning your desk twice a day is a good habit to get into. Naturally, cleaning your desk every time you sit down is impractical. But if you can keep a clean workspace before and after your day, you’ll be reducing your chances of contamination.
It’s best to use your common sense. If you or someone near you sneezes or coughs around your desk, be aware that airborne germs could easily land on your work area and fester there. It's why eating here is considered unhygienic. According to research, the average office desk is dirtier than the average toilet seat by 400 times3. With that in mind, you can see why it’s important to keep a clean working space – not just to protect yourself from COVID-19 but to maintain a good level of concentration too.