What are the dirtiest areas in the office?

Over the last couple of years, we’ve all been cleaner; hand hygiene has never been better, and incidences of food poisoning plummeted because there were far less germs spreading from hand to mouth. More of us took care if we coughed or sneezed, making sure we sanitised our hands after an episode. We all took better care when cleaning at home, making sure we used anti-bacterial cleaning products and stopping as much cross infection as we could. But is that where our care stopped?

After restrictions had lifted and we were allowed to return to our workplaces, how many of us thought about cleanliness in the office? It is not perhaps something we gave much thought to outside of our own personal workspaces. After all, you would assume that if you are following cleanliness protocols, then everyone else would be too.

On the whole, we are living in a cleaner, more sterile environment, both at home and at work but as more of the population become infected with Covid (and some re-infected) sometimes cleanliness standards can slip, as many people are under the misapprehension that they are now immune from the virus. If Covid has taught us anything, it is that viruses spread quickly and that they can infect anyone, particularly the vulnerable. So, whether we are worried about Covid or not, the fact is that germs and bacteria and non-Covid viruses are present everywhere even if we think we’ve been stringent in our cleaning and disinfection processes.

But it’s at work that we are more susceptible to the exposure of viruses, colds and flu, due to the number of people we come into contact with on a daily basis. Busy workplaces with a high number of employees can be hotbeds for germs, and unless stringent and regular cleaning and disinfection is carried out, employers can find half the workforce wiped out with the outbreak of just one illness.

Over the years, there have been many studies carried out to find out where the hotspots are regarding germs and bacteria. In essence people want to know what the dirtiest areas in the office are. We could all jump to the conclusion that the toilets would be number 1 on the dirty list, and although they do feature very heavily, they aren’t necessarily the dirtiest. Perhaps we should take a closer look at the people that use them! Those that don’t wash their hands after a visit are transferring germs onto surfaces and equipment, which then breed and spread through contact with other people.

So, what are the dirtiest areas in the office? We’ve put together a list of potential hotspots for you to look out for:


Be they vending machine buttons, elevator buttons or buttons on phones, IT equipment, photocopiers, and water coolers, some of the dirtiest and germ infested places you’ll find in the office are the buttons. To put it into perspective, the average toilet seat has around 3,000 colony forming germs per square inch. Constant touching by several users can see buttons of all descriptions house over a billion! We’re almost certain this statistic will have you reaching for the hand sanitiser!

Regular sanitisation of all frequently used touch points could see this number diminish, but it would require several cleanings throughout the day to be completely effective.

Pens and Pencils

How many of your pens actually stay on your desk or in your own personal workspace? They can be ‘borrowed’ and passed around person to person with little regard for hygiene. Yet when you think about how many people could transfer germs from other office hotspots onto your own personal stationery, we’re certain that you’ll be reaching for that sanitiser again…

The Kettle

Who doesn’t love a mid-morning cuppa? But the kettle, and in particular the handle, can harbour all manner of germs. Of course, there can be a more visible sign of the amount of usage, as dirt can build up too. But it’s always best to be on the clean side and give a regular wipe down before the visible dirt can be seen.

The Kitchen Sink

An accumulation of all kinds of bacteria, germs and general dirtiness builds up really quickly in the kitchen sink. The amount of washing up generated in even the most modest of offices can be staggering. If it’s not dealt with promptly, the tea and coffee slops in the bottom of mugs and food dried on to plates and cutlery can breed mould spores in a matter of days. Because of all the germs on unwashed hands, the tap can be a hotbed for infections too! Get a system in place whereby staff wash their utensils in a timely manner to avoid any nasty bacteria making the workforce poorly.

Of course, we must give a special mention washing up sponges – bacteria love warm and damp conditions. It doesn’t take a scientist to work out that there will be millions of germs festering within those, especially when you consider all the food and drink particles that aren’t rinsed off.


We all know that our computer keyboards and mouse are rife with germs, but less thought is given to the surfaces of our desks. Our hands and wrists rest on our desks frequently and can contain millions of different bacteria. Couple that with airborne germs (coughs and sneezes) that land there and you won’t be surprised to know that the average desk houses over 400 times the number of bacteria than the office toilet seats.

Hand Sanitiser

Yes, you have read that correctly. Although many of us have used hand sanitiser for a long time, the pandemic has seen it become a permanent fixture in all workplaces.

Of course, the hand sanitising gel itself kills off bacteria and viruses, but it’s the germ laden hands that touch the bottles containing the gel that are the problem. How many of us would think to sanitise the sanitiser?


The best way to make sure your workplace is clean as well as sanitary, is to engage the services of a professional cleaning contractor. They’ll provide you with a schedule of cleaning tailored to your premises and requirements. Here at Brightr, our cleaners are conscientious, well-mannered and can work around the public without creating a disturbance, allowing them to clean your site during the day. Therefore, you don’t have to worry about trusting us with keys to your premises if you don’t wish to. But if you’d prefer your office, commercial building, factory, or medical centre was cleaned in the evening then we can accommodate that too. Our team can provide cleaning services at your site day or night. So, if you are looking for a trusted cleaning company who offer a consistent high quality service, contact us for a free no obligation quotation.

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