Have you ever stopped to consider what the most unclean objects around your office might be? It might be something we push to the back of our mind, but the fact remains that germs can spread very quickly around the office environment. A study by researchers at the University of Arizona looked into the ways in which germs and viruses spread, largely due to the multiple contact of items by lots of workers. Many hands make light work, but they may also make for some fairly unhygienic conditions.

TIME Magazine reported on the findings of a private research company that took swabs from over 5000 surfaces in a range of different offices to identify the biggest problem areas. Are you ready?

The Kitchen Sink

Coffee cup in an office kitchen

If you are lucky enough to have a kitchen office or break room, be extra careful when it comes to keeping it spotless as this can be home to some of the dirtiest office items. Tap handles in the office kitchen are likely to be a haven for germs and can be a catalyst for spreading viruses. Keep some kitchen disinfectant spray and a clean cloth on hand at all times.

The Microwave

Again, the kitchen area is ranking up high on the dirtiest areas in the office. The microwave is fantastic when you need to reheat the pumpkin soup you made last night, but the door handles get a lot of contact from hands and may be forgotten in the daily clean up. Target the microwave handles on your next cleaning blitz to reduce the risk of getting sick.

Keyboards and computer mice

We can now turn our attention toward your very own workstation. There is no doubt your computer gets a lot of attention throughout the day but are you giving it a little TLC? (Tender Loving Cleaning). Best to keep some hand sanitizer nearby and incorporate a keyboard clean as part of your regular work routine.

The Refrigerator

Door handles on the fridge are another danger zone to look out for. Often the flat surfaces of an appliance may get cleaned, but people often overlook the nooks and crannies, such as the concave of a fridge door handle. Wipe over regularly and make sure these areas are added to the staff cleaning list for attention.

The Water Fountain

The source of all the best office gossip is also a pretty reliable source of germs. The buttons or handles on the water fountain are a risk because they are generally off the cleaning radar. You may think of the bathroom as the most likely place for germs and bacteria, but these high-risk areas tend to receive a healthy dose of cleaning products regularly. Meanwhile, the poor old water fountain gets a lot of hands-on activity and not a lot of cleaning attention.