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7 shocking facts about office kitchen hygiene

January 28, 2020

We all know that there can be more politics in the office than in Westminster – and we all know that the office kitchen, and in particular, office kitchen hygiene, can be a contentious matter. 

The communality of the office kitchen means that people often dip out of taking responsibility and when one of the most utilised spaces in the workplace is neglected, office kitchen hygiene diminishes and passive aggressive ‘Send to all’ emails increase – stacking up in inboxes quicker than the mugs in the sink. 

It’s important to create guidelines and a cleaning routine, and if your office is large enough establish a cleaning routine with an office cleaning company that covers daily, weekly, monthly and even quarterly tasks.

Why? It’s not just about the mess you can see. The office kitchen is a hot spot for germs and bacteria – affecting the health and productivity of employees and costing your business.

Need convincing that you need to do something about your office kitchen cleaning or contract a daily office cleaning company?

7 shocking facts you didn’t know about office kitchen hygiene

1. The office kitchen is the number 1 hot-spot for germs in the workplace

A study found that the area where staff prepare and eat their food was at the very top of the list for germ hot spots in the office. It’s not a luxury – organisations and employers need to think seriously about regular office cleaning to protect employees and improve office kitchen hygiene.

2. Office kitchen surfaces can have more bacteria than a sanitary bin

A swab test from a sample of a communal office kitchen showed that 75% of the surfaces were home to more bacteria than an average sanitary bin. Employees in your office are going to be preparing their lunches on these very surfaces – and are at risk of some serious illnesses. 

3. Office kitchen surfaces can have high levels of coliforms

In the same study, half of these kitchen surfaces were also home to high levels of coliforms (a bacteria present in faeces). This hazardous germ results in gastrointestinal upsets – and an outbreak can take out your staff in one fell swoop.

4. 1 in 5 mugs in the office kitchen have fecal matter

A study at the University of Arizona found around 90% of mugs in the kitchen carry hazardous germs and 20% carry fecal matter. When you use the same old sponges day in day out, you push germs backwards and forwards among employees.

5. Office fridges are at serious risk of listeria – and that’s serious

A recent study showed that 44% of office fridges get cleaned out once a month and 22% are only being addressed once or twice a year. Despite the cold temperatures, germs like listeria can grow and spread in the office fridge. Once listeria-contaminated food enters the fridge, it’s able to multiply and infect the other foods in there. 

Those most at risk of contracting listeriosis are pregnant women (it can cause miscarriages, stillbirths and serious illness in newborns), older adults and people with compromised immune systems and certain chronic medical conditions (such as HIV/AIDS, cancer, diabetes, kidney disease and transplant patients). 

It’s vital that the fridge is regularly (and systematically) checked, cleaned and maintained to protect staff and your business from a costly violation of health and safety. 

If you have other demands, it’s likely to slip from your list of priorities – but working with a professional office cleaning company can save your bacon (literally). We provide regular office kitchen cleaning as part of our daily office cleaning services and work with our clients to create a schedule, which could include a daily clean and a weekly check to remove expired foods. 

6. A kettle handle is 12 x more contaminated than a toilet seat

According to an article published by the University of Arizona, handles in an office kitchen are another hot spot for dangerously high levels of contamination. Did you know that 48% of microwave door handles and 26% fridge door handles carry harmful bacteria?

Perhaps more shockingly, a kettle handle holds 12 times as much bacteria as a toilet seat according to a recent study conducted by Initial Washroom Hygiene – whilst a fridge handle holds eight times as much and a kitchen surface holds five times as much.

Office workers are potentially being exposed to illness-causing bacteria in their own lunchrooms. A study discovered that when someone comes into work sick, about half of the commonly touched surfaces such as the office fridge will become infected with the virus by lunchtime 

7. Most people don’t know who’s in charge of cleaning the office kitchen

64% of staff surveyed didn’t know if there was a specific person in charge of the kitchen area or who it was. If no-one knows, no-one cares – leading sloppy levels of office kitchen hygiene, and by now you know what that means! 

We’ve found the broken-windows theory to be true. If you contract regular office cleaning services, your staff will know who is cleaning their office kitchen (more often than not by name) and that the office kitchen is clean, hygienic and looked after – which leads to a greater respect for their space, rather than anger at Tim or Sue for leaving their cups in the sink, again. 

Daily Office Cleaning in London from Swift Office Cleaning Services

We don’t think you need any more convincing that office kitchen hygiene is important – and that the best way to achieve it is with a regular schedule of office cleaning. 

We work with organisations across London and Essex – and clean and maintain their office kitchens as part of our daily office cleaning services. We’ll work with you to define a daily, weekly, monthly and quarterly schedule to your needs, resources and budget – which could include anything from a daily disinfection of the surfaces to clearing out the toasters and descaling the kettle.

Find out more about our daily office kitchen cleaning services here. 

We’re ISO certified (ISO 9001:2015, ISO 14001:2015 and ISO 45001:2015) and all our staff are trained to use the correct methods and products safely and efficiently. We also provide regular on-the-job training so should you want to amend your schedule, all our office cleaning operatives will know exactly what to do, when and how. 

Find out more about our daily office cleaning services (including office kitchen cleaning) 

Feel confident and reduce hassle by working with Swift Office Cleaning Services and our team of reliable, trained cleaning operatives. We’ve been providing commercial office cleaning services for well-known brands and leading organisations for nearly 40 years in London, Essex and Hertfordshire with great reviews. 

Get in touch to book a site visit and get a free quotation from one of our team on 0203 405 8442 (London) or 01279 413 641 (Essex and Hertfordshire) – or fill out the form on our website.