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How Clean Is Your Office Kitchen? A Guide to Proper Sanitation

Keep your office kitchen clean and sanitized with these tips for frequent disinfecting, proper food storage, and hand hygiene. Prevent germs in high-touch kitchen areas for a healthier workspace.

Picture of a dirty office kitchen used in an article about tips to keep an office space clean.

The office kitchen or break room is a hub of activity in many workplaces. Employees gather here to store and heat up meals, grab snacks and drinks, and take short breaks over the course of a workday. But without proper sanitation practices, your office kitchen can quickly become a breeding ground for germs and bacteria.

A recent study found that office kitchen areas and shared microwaves tend to harbor more bacteria than office toilet facilities. Kitchen sponges and dishcloths were also found to be among the germiest items in office environments.

Keeping your office kitchen clean should be a priority for any business. Providing employees with a sanitary area for food preparation and storage will help prevent the spread of illnesses, creating a healthier and more productive workplace.

Here are some tips and best practices for keeping your office kitchen properly sanitized from the experts at Sanbarra Cleaning Services, a commercial cleaning company centrally located in Santa Ana, California serving businesses throughout Orange County.

Frequently Clean High-Touch Surfaces

Refrigerator handles, microwaves, coffee makers, cabinet handles, and kitchen faucets are just some of the high-touch surfaces used by multiple employees every day. These areas should be thoroughly cleaned and disinfected at least once per day. Sanbarra Cleaning Services recommends using EPA-registered disinfectants that are proven effective against COVID-19, E.coli, Salmonella, Staph bacteria, and other germs.

Microwaves harbor all sorts of spills and should be wiped down daily including the handle, control panel, interior walls, turntable, and ventilation areas. Refrigerator handles contain an average of 10X more bacteria than a toilet seat, making daily disinfecting critical.

Any shared small appliances like coffee makers and toasters should also be cleaned daily by wiping down exterior surfaces and removing any food debris buildup.

Disinfect Sponges, Dishcloths and Towels

The warm, moist environment of kitchen sponges and towels makes them a hotbed for germs. These items should be sanitized daily either in the dishwasher or by soaking in a bleach solution. Replace any visibly dirty sponges and dishcloths frequently.

Consider providing disposable paper towels for drying hands and dishes to further prevent cross-contamination. Employees should also have their own labeled dishware and utensils that are not shared.

Take Out the Trash

Empty garbage cans daily or more often if they become full. Use lined trash bins with tight fitting lids to help contain odors and prevent pests. Make sure recyclables and food waste also get emptied out regularly.

Sanitize Surfaces Before and After Food Prep Clean countertops, sinks, prep areas, and appliances before and after use with a disinfecting product registered by the EPA. This helps remove any existing bacteria and prevents spreading germs further.

Be sure to use separate cutting boards and utensils for produce and meats to avoid cross-contamination. Always wash produce thoroughly before prepping or consuming.

Clean Grease Buildup in Ovens and Microwaves

Burnt-on food and grease deposits provide more opportunities for bacteria growth. Give microwaves and ovens a deep clean regularly using degreasing products to dissolve built-up messes. You can also place a microwave-safe bowl of water with lemon slices inside and cook it for 2-3 minutes to loosen splatters.

Empty and Clean the Fridge Regularly

Wipe up spills immediately and toss out expired or spoiled foods every week to keep refrigerators fresh. Give shelves, bins, and drawers a deep clean as needed using disinfectant. Allowing mold or food debris to linger provides a pathway for pathogens to multiply.

Be diligent about avoiding cross-contamination when prepping or storing foods. Use separate cutting boards, knives, plates, and prep areas for produce and meats. Never place cooked or ready-to-eat foods on surfaces where raw meats were prepped. Always wash hands thoroughly before and after handling different types of food.

Cold foods like dairy, eggs, lunches, etc. should be kept refrigerated at 40°F or below. While hot prepared foods should be kept at 140°F or above until consumed to prevent bacterial growth. Make sure refrigerators and microwaves are operating at the proper temperatures.

Promote Hand Hygiene Among Employees

Place signs reminding employees to wash hands before and after using the office kitchen. Stock sinks with antibacterial hand soap and paper towels. Provide hand sanitizer near kitchen exits for easy access on the way out.

By following these tips and best practices, businesses can help provide their employees with a cleaner, safer office kitchen environment. Partnering with a professional cleaning company like Sanbarra Cleaning Services can also give you peace of mind knowing your office kitchen receives regular expert sanitization. Contact us today to learn more about our daily and weekly disinfecting services for office kitchen areas and other common workspaces.

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