Who’s keeping the office kitchen clean?

A clean break room helps prevent the spread of bacteria and viruses.

Did you have lunch at the office today? Did you eat at your desk? Or is there a lunch room in the office?  Whether you are at your desk or in the lunch room, remember to wash your hands before eating; if you don’t have time or a place to wash your hands, at least use a hand sanitizer.

The office lunch area needs cleaning on a regular basis! If you do not have a cleaning service, arrange a time when everyone can work together to clean. Start with the countertops in the kitchen. When was the last time they were cleaned and sanitized? Remove any crumbs, food scraps and other loose debris from the counters. Wash with hot, soapy water remembering to move items stored on the counter top such as coffee makers, toasters, can openers, etc. Rinse the soap away. Then apply a sanitizing solution. What’s that you might ask? Chlorine bleach and water combined at the proper concentration are easy to use. With regular strength bleach, use one teaspoon of bleach to one quart of water (check your bleach bottle to see if it is concentrated – if so, you will need less). Do the same routine with other flat surfaces in the kitchen such as the table where you eat your lunch.

Maybe chlorine bleach isn’t the preferred sanitizer because if it splashes on your clothing, it can remove the color. Other sanitizers are available in the form of sprays or wipes. Just be sure to check the directions on the label and follow them.

How about the refrigerator? When was the last time someone removed the containers growing mold on the back shelves? Empty the fridge of expired dressings, mustard, mayo, etc. Put any items that are still usable into a cooler. Then wash the empty refrigerator with hot, soapy water rinse. Let it air dry, and then close the door, allowing it to cool. When the refrigerator’s temperature is 40 degrees Fahrenheit or below, return the food in the cooler to the refrigerator. How do you know if the temperature in the refrigerator is 40 degrees or below? Always keep a refrigerator thermometer in the fridge.

Michigan State University Extension recommends that coffee pots, coffee mugs and other drink cups, dishes, and silverware should be washed after every time they are used. Make it an office rule that everyone cleans up after themselves on a daily basis, sharing the responsibility of cleaning shared items such as the coffee pot.

All around, a clean office kitchen/lunch room is a much more sanitary environment for everyone, and reduces the risk of spreading bacteria and viruses, as well as being less inviting to insects and rodents as a new place to live.

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