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How clean is your office? Facts you may want to know

How clean is your office

Offices and other workspaces are usually tidy and orderly. Customer impressions are highly important and the neatness of a business premises can reflect on their ability to provide a service. Companies often employ their own cleaning staff to ensure that their offices are clean and tidy for any customers or visitors. However, this does not mean that an office is actually hygienic or free from dirt and bacteria.

A professional contract cleaning company can take office cleanliness to the next level through disinfection, hygiene and sanitisation services. Our highly-trained team of dedicated cleaners use various equipment and environmentally-friendly cleaning chemicals to ensure that your office is absolutely clean and safe for employees and customers. Here are some facts that you may want to know about workplace cleanliness.

Filthy facts about office cleanliness

1. Office equipment is dirtier than the toilet

The average office desk and work equipment can be up to 400 times dirtier than a toilet seat. Cleaning staff focus on cleaning the toilets and floors, but often neglect computers, keyboards, printers and office stationery. The dirtiest parts of an office, in terms of germs and microbes, are desks and the equipment. The average office telephone has over 25 000 microbes per square inch, a computer keyboard can contain over 3000 microbes per square inch and a computer mouse can hold up to 1600 microbes per square inch. The average office toilet seat has around 50 microbes in the same surface area.

This means that there are around 16-million microbes on the average office computer keyboard. But how does the keyboard get so dirty? The simple answer is unwashed hands. An office worker’s hands can come into contact with 10-million bacteria every day. Washing hands regularly can reduce keyboard contamination significantly. 30 percent of workers admit to using only water, no soap, when washing their hands after using the toilet.

2. Office desks are a haven for bacteria

The average office desk is 100 times less hygienic than a kitchen countertop. Two out of three employees say that they eat at their office desks during lunch. This results in crumbs, spills and stains on the surface of their work station. Food remnants are a major source of food for bacteria and one in five office workers do not clean their desks before eating lunch.

When it comes to desk sanitisation, 75 percent of employees say that they wipe down the surface of their desks occasionally. 11 percent admit that they never clean their keyboards and 20 percent say that they never wipe down their mouse. Less than half of all workers say that they sanitise their keyboards on a monthly basis. This is alarming as 80 percent of infections and illnesses are spread by touching contaminated surfaces, not by coughing or sneezing.

3. Microbes can survive for longer than expected

Microbes for common colds can survive up to 50 hours on a surface, however, this is one of the shortest periods of time for a microbe. Influenza can live up to 60 hours, Hepatitis lives up to 160 hours and norovirus can exist for up to 350 hours. E.coli is able to survive for up to 500 days on an unclean surface! That’s almost one-and-a-half years.

Desk sanitisation and cleanliness is paramount in an office space. The problem is that they may appear to be clean. A tidy desk is not necessarily a clean desk. Every employee should wipe down their workspace on a daily basis. Keyboards, computers, telephones and office stationery should be cleaned with a disinfectant once a week. This will kill any harmful microbes that may have landed on the equipment and surfaces.

While many of these workplace microbes are not harmful, there is a risk of spreading illness if a desk and its equipment are not disinfected regularly. One employee carrying a virus can infect half of all office equipment and employees within their immediate vicinity in just four hours. Common colds and influenza are regularly spread at work, which results in employee downtime and reduced productivity.

A dedicated contract cleaning company is able to use specialised equipment and cleaning solutions to perform a ‘deep-clean’ of all work environments. These companies can be employed on a regular basis, or as a once-off service to ensure office hygiene and complete sanitisation. For an obligation-free assessment or to get a quote, contact IWESCO today for your professional contact cleaning needs.


IWESCO offers specialised cleaning and waste control services to industrial and commercial customers in South Africa. These services are aimed at minimising our customers’ impact on the environment. Our services also include pest control, garden maintenance, fogging and disinfecting. Our staff are highly trained to offer the most professional services. IWESCO is a Level 2 B-BBEE supplier with ISO 14001 certification for environmental management.

We are a one-stop shop for all your contract cleaning and waste control needs and have a national footprint. Our head office is located in Tshwane but we can provide services to any industrial and commercial client in the major metropolitan areas around South Africa, including Johannesburg, Cape Town, Durban, Port Elizabeth, Mbombela and more.

For more information on our offerings and insights into the latest industry news, follow us on Facebook and LinkedIn.


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