When the COVID-19 pandemic lockdown happened back in March, we hastily left our offices and went home. One day, we were all working together in office spaces and meeting rooms, and the next we were frantically throwing together slap-up home offices on kitchen tables and in unused corners of our homes.
Although many are still working from home, not everybody is. Some people have already returned to the office and many others are planning for their eventual, inevitable return. And while the office environment you return to may be drastically different to the one you left—with social distancing guidelines, one-way systems, and Perspex screens—your desk is likely to remain exactly as you left it. Mess and all.
According to research carried out by the University of Arizona in the United States, our desks are made up of some of the grimiest and germ-ridden surfaces you’ll find anywhere and house some pretty disgusting bugs and pathogens. Now, and for as long as we’re living with coronavirus and around the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, keeping a clean, tidy, and sanitary workspace is a matter of high importance.
To help you get your desk and general workspace back to a clean and tidy state, we’re going to look over some of the ways you can keep your office desk clean during COVID-19, as well as some other important tips and bits of information.
There’s more to cleaning your desk than just giving it a quick once-over with a disinfectant wipe. Ideally, you should spend a good few minutes going over everything thoroughly to ensure that you get the best results.
Before you start cleaning, make sure that you unplug everything. Electronics that have been powered down may still carry a small standby current that may become dangerous or damaging if cleaning fluid or water comes into contact with them. It’s also easier to move things around and achieve a deeper clean if they’re not plugged in, so take the extra precaution of properly unplugging monitors, keyboards, mice, desk fans, and other electronics before proceeding.
Once you’ve done this, clear your desk’s surface the best you can. You want to move everything like monitors, laptops, keyboards, and over accessories away so that you’ve got a clear surface.
First, wipe down your desk’s surface with a dry cloth. This will remove accumulated dirt like dust, crumbs, and paper scraps. Once you’ve done this, use a disinfectant wipe to give the desk an initial ‘clean’. Then use a disinfecting/cleaning spray and a clean, damp cloth to thoroughly wipe down your desk and kill any pathogens. Pay particular attention to the areas of your desk you touch most often, such as where your arms rest and the areas surrounding your mouse. Let the surface dry out for roughly five minutes before proceeding.
It’s not enough to just clean your desk; you need to clean everything that forms part of your workspace. There’s little point in sanitizing your desk if you’re then going to place unsanitary items back on it.
Over time, oily smudges, splashback from drinks, droplets from coughing, dust, dirt, and all manner of other things can build up on your monitor. This is especially true if you’ve got a habit of touching the display.
Unlike other items on your desk, cleaning your computer monitor requires a little more delicacy and care, so here are some tips for how to clean it without causing damage.
Avoid applying cleaning products directly to the display. Liquids could permeate the thin outer layer of your computer monitor and seep inside, causing damage, dead pixels, and clouding. Instead, wet a clean microfiber cloth with cold water and wring it out. Then use this to give your monitor an initial quick wipe. Then apply some cleaning solution to the cloth and wipe side-to-side in long strokes from one edge of the screen to the other.
Make sure you use the right type of cleaner, too. Harsh chemical-based products like glass cleaners could cause damage over time. Instead, use something that’s pH neutral or that has been manufactured specifically for computer monitors. You could also use a 50/50 solution of white vinegar and distilled water.
Let the screen air dry; don’t use paper towels or rough cloths as this could cause scratching and dulling.
Your keyboard takes a battering—quite literally. In addition, all those lunch breaks spent working at your desk can take their toll, too. The average keyboard is said to harbour up to 20,000 times more bacteria than the average toilet seat, so there really is a strong case for keeping it clean.
Also, despite your best intentions, crumbs and other bits of detritus quite easily work their way into the keyboard and get lodged in the tight crevices between keys. Not only that but hairs, drink spillage, and other nasties get in there, too. Don’t believe us? Give your keyboard a shake upside down (ideally above a bin) and see what falls out!
To clean your keyboard, start by doing this to get rid of any loose crumbs and detritus. If you’ve got a can of compressed air handy, shoot some short bursts to blast away any remaining loose bits and pieces.
Once you’ve got rid of the larger particles, give your keyboard a clean with disinfectant wipes or an alcohol-based cleaning agent. Use this in combination with cloths, cotton buds (‘q-tips’), and a thin, sharp pin to slowly but surely clear away all the muck and grime. Take your time and give each key a thorough clean for best results. Allow your keyboard to air dry for at least 10 minutes after cleaning as any excess liquid may have seeped between the keys and into the circuitry.
While it’s true that modern optical mice are less prone to collecting dirt and grime than their mechanical ball-based predecessors, they can still collect some grime on their underside. Also, your hand spends a lot of time resting on your mouse and so it collects a lot of bacteria.
To clean your mouse, start by taking a long, thin, and sharp object like a pin or toothpick and run this in between the gaps found between the mouse’s body and buttons. Compressed air can also be used.
Then use a disinfectant wipe or cloth with an alcohol-based cleaning spray to gently clean and sanitise
the surface of the mouse, paying particular attention to the left and right mouse buttons where your fingers spend most of their time.
The best method for cleaning your chair depends on the type of upholstery it has. Office chairs will typically have a laundry tag attached to their underside which contains cleaning instructions and information on which products you can and can’t use.
Generally speaking, most fabric-based office chairs can be cleaned using a vacuum cleaner and a water-based cleaning agent. The vacuum can be used to remove any loose dirt and debris found on the seat and between cracks and crevices. Once you’ve done this, use a water-based cleaning agent or soapy water to wipe down the fabric. Obviously, you don’t want to get the seat too wet, so don’t go overboard.
As for the non-fabric parts like armrests, you can use a regular water-based or gentle chemical antibacterial cleaner or wipe to give these a thorough cleanse.
No matter how much you clean your desk, it’s never going to be completely free of germs and pathogens. That’s just the way it is and why it’s important to regularly sanitise your hands, ideally every time you come away from your desk.
Our automatic touch-free desktop hand sanitiser dispensers and Sanitiser Dispenser have been designed to be non-obtrusive. They sit discreetly out of the way and can be used conveniently at a moment’s notice to eliminate any risk of contamination between your desk and the wider workplace. They’re the ideal desktop accessory for any office returning to work during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
To find out more, visit our website or contact us.