The Dirtiest Places in Your Office

Do you know the dirtiest place in your office?

Hint: it’s not the bathroom.

According to a study by Kimberly-Clark Professional, the single dirtiest spot in your office is actually the sink faucet handle in the break room.

Makes you want to think twice before filling up that coffee pot, huh?

The Worst Offenders (ATP = 300+)

The Kimberly-Clark study collected swabs of nearly 5,000 surfaces in office buildings employing around 3,000 people from a variety of industries.

The swabs were then analyzed with an ATP meter, a device commonly used for measuring levels of adenosine triphosphate (ATP).

Basically, high levels of ATP = high potential for bacteria and viruses.

In fact, an ATP reading of 300 or higher is considered officially “dirty” and at great risk for spreading illness.

So, to make you even more uncomfortable, here are the office surfaces that the study found to have ATP levels of 300 or more:

  • 75% of break room sink faucet handles
  • 48% of microwave door handles
  • 27% of  keyboards
  • 26% of refrigerator door handles
  • 23% of water fountain buttons
  • 21% of vending machine buttons

The Borderline-Bad (ATP = 100+)

So those are the surfaces you need to watch out for — and probably give a good scrub every day or two.

But there are several other office places that could use some frequent disinfecting, too.

Here are all the dirty office areas with ATP readings of 100 or higher:

  • 91% of break room sink faucet handles
  • 80% of microwave door handles
  • 69% of keyboards
  • 69% of refrigerator door handles
  • 53% of water fountain buttons
  • 51% of all computer mice
  • 51% of all desk phones
  • 48% of all coffee pots and dispensers
  • 43% of vending machine buttons

Other Dirty Places in Your Office

And those aren’t the only dirty surfaces in your office, either.

You’ve heard your cell phone is a breeding grounds for germs, and your office tech is no exception. A microbiologist from the University of Arizona found that “Desktops had almost 21,000 germs per square inch, and phones had more than 25,000 germs per square inch.”


And if you needed another reason to fear making coffee, here’s one: a recent study by Hloom found that the coffee pot had 34 times more germs than a school toilet seat.

So, who can you blame for all this germ-spreading? The men, apparently.

According to research by the University of San Diego, “The surfaces inhabited by men tended to have more bacterial cells and more abundance of cells than those inhabited by women.”

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What to Do about It

Now, we’re not pointing fingers here. Whoever’s to blame for your dirty office, someone had better do something about it!

You can’t just avoid the break room forever, either. (And probably don’t want to — that’s where the donuts are, right?)

Fortunately, there’s something you can do about these high-risk areas in your office: clean! According to Brad Reynolds of The Healthy Workplace Project:

“By washing, wiping and sanitizing, employees can reduce their rates of cold, flu, and stomach illness by up to 80%.”

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Okay, so it’s nice to say we’ll be better about cleaning our offices, but let’s be honest: how often do we really reach for the disinfectant?

To make sure your office stays free of those scary-high ATP levels, schedule regular commercial cleaning in Sioux Falls.

With professional cleaners, not only will you receive a thorough, high-quality clean, you can actually save money by outsourcing janitorial services!

At INTEK, we offer reliable Sioux Falls commercial cleaning at a fair price. We even provide a free carpet cleaning with every one-year contract.

No office is too big or too small for our Sioux Falls janitorial services. Request a free estimate today!