How to Properly Clean Your Workstation – 4 Expert Tips



Female office worker disinfecting her workstation

It’s not hard to imagine that your workstation is harbouring more than a few germs. You spend hours every week working, eating, drinking, coughing, and scratching at your desk. And that’s before you consider your colleagues’ germs landing there.

One University of Arizona study found that the average workstation harbours 400 times more bacteria than the average toilet seat. If that’s not enough to encourage you to clean your workstation, nothing will.

If 2020 taught us anything, it was the importance of cleaning. The emergence of COVID-19 means we now have a better understanding of how germs transfer from high touch surfaces and enter the human body. We know that washing our hands regularly with soap and water can kill a range of bacteria and viruses that can make us sick. But no amount of hand washing is going to work if we keep returning to a filthy workstation. 

Here are our four expert tips to help you keep your workstation clean.  

#1 Clean Your Keyboard

Your keyboard is quite likely the grubbiest item on your desk. One UK study found the average keyboard has 3.5 million bacteria per square inch, double that of phones with 1.6 million. The computer mouse came in third, followed by a trackpad which has 162 times more bacteria than money.  

Cleaning your keyboard on a regular basis may save you from illness, disease and days off work. You should be particularly vigilant about cleaning the keyboard before you use it, especially if you share your computer with colleagues. Their germs can easily transfer to your fingers then your face.  

To clean your keyboard, use a soft, lint-free cloth to remove dust and dirt and a disinfectant wipe with a 70% isopropyl alcohol solution to disinfect the surface. Be careful when using a disposable wet wipe on your keyboard, as the moisture can get in under the keys and then the key no longer works.  

#2 Clean the Desk Surface

Your desk surface gathers dust, dirt, and food crumbs if you eat at your desk. Viruses and bacteria can land on your desk and enter your body by touching the contaminated surface and then touching your face. Most germs and bacteria are removed from a surface through a simple wipe with a clean cloth containing water and detergent. If you prefer your surface to be disinfected, clean with detergent and let dry, then use a disinfectant wipe or spray and follow the instructions.    

Cleaning and disinfecting minimises the number of germs that survive on a hard surface and reduces the risk of transmission.

#3 Clean the Monitor

Use a dry, soft, lint-free cloth to pick up dust particles and germs from the screen. If you need to remove fingerprints, spray 70% isopropyl alcohol on to a cloth then wipe the screen or use a disposable alcohol wipe.  

LCD screens can be easily damaged by cleaning products, particularly glass cleaners. When cleaning your screen, look for products that are alcohol, ammonia and acetone-free. Most Mac computer screens are glass-coated, so they're more robust than LCD screens and can cope with a cloth sprayed with a glass cleaner or rubbing alcohol.  

Some new matte nano-textured glass screens require a special polishing cloth available from the manufacturer.

It’s best to always read the manufacturer’s instructions before you use any cleaning product besides a soft dry cloth. One product can be fine on one piece of equipment, but can cause damage to another.  

#4 Prevent Cross-Infection

Cross infection occurs when harmful microorganisms such as bacteria and viruses occur between people, equipment or within the body. When you’re cleaning your workstation, you may use the same cloth to wipe over the desk, computer, chair back, drawers and monitor. If you aren’t careful you can transfer a virus from one surface to another that you touch frequently.

To avoid cross-infection, follow these tips:

  • Clean the cleanest surface first then move on to dirtier ones

  • Wash or replace your cloth regularly

  • Wipe a surface in an S shaped pattern so you don’t re-contaminate

  • Ensure the surface is well-covered with detergent then dried before a disinfectant

Whether you choose to wear gloves when you’re cleaning or you use your bare hands, always wash your hands for 20 seconds with soap and water when you’ve finished.

Isn’t it the Cleaners’ Job?

You might think it’s not up to you to worry about cleaning in the office. If your office is cleaned by professionals, it’s most likely that they don’t clean your workstation more than once per week. And time constraints may mean it’s not a thorough clean. If you’re at work for eight hours a day five days a week, it’s worth spending a few minutes cleaning your workstation to ensure you’re working in a clean environment and not home sick.   

How Often Should You Clean Your Workstation? 

Ideally you should clean your workstation on a weekly basis to stop the build-up of dust and dirt however if one or more of your colleagues came to work unwell, it’s best to step up your cleaning regime and do it daily to avoid falling ill. If you share a workstation, it’s best to wipe over the keyboard, phone and desk every time you return to work.  

If you’re looking for ergonomic equipment to assist with working from home, call Ergolink on (08) 9240 7066 or contact us online.