Professional janitorial services tips and hacks for cleaning out your office refrigerator.
Janitorial Services Hacks for Cleaning your Office Refrigerator
Office kitchens and break rooms, often the heart of employee communal interaction, have been shown to contain more germs than a toilet seat.
Refrigerator door handles are among the first and most common areas of contamination.
The issue is compounded by the laissez-faire attitude of ‘not my mess, not my problem’ results in a veritable petri dish of germs and bacteria.
All of this results in the inevitable, and unnecessary, passing of germs from one employee to another, culminating in reduced work engagement and increased paid sick leave.
Office Refrigerators and OSHA
Viral and bacterial infections most commonly enter the human body through our mouths.
The germs are transferred via unwashed hands or contaminated surfaces.
The danger is increased for businesses that use toxic materials.
According to OSHA:
When employees are allowed to consume food or beverages on the premises, the employer must comply with OSHA’s sanitation standard, 29 CFR § 1910.141(g).
Section 1910.141(g)(2) provides:
No employee shall be allowed to consume food or beverages in a toilet room or in any area exposed to a toxic material.
Section 1910.141(g)(4) provides:
No food or beverages shall be stored in toilet rooms or in an area exposed to a toxic material.
Refrigerator Cleaning Tips
- Create an ’empty day’, when all items, with the exception of medication, is removed from the refrigerator and disposed of.
- Clean up all spills immediately.
- Ensure all food items are stored in sealed containers.
- Schedule a quarterly, professional deep clean.
Refrigerator temperatures are an important and, often overlooked, factor in food safety, especially in offices trying to reduce energy costs and consumption.
According to the United States Department of Agriculture Food Safety and Inspection Service:
Bacteria grow most rapidly in the range of temperatures between 40 and 140 °F, the “Danger Zone,” some doubling in number in as little as 20 minutes.
A refrigerator set at 40 °F or below will protect most foods.
Do it Yourself Hacks to Green Clean your Office Refrigerator
It doesn’t matter how often you clean your refrigerator, it’s going to get dirty, spills are going to go uncleaned, and food will be allowed to spoil.
Anyone with children can tell you that.
For the best results, in between professional cleanings:
- Use a microfiber cloth to clean up all spills.
- To remove odors, place a tablet of Alka-Seltzer in a glass of water and place in the back of the refrigerator, or;
- Place a plate containing three cotton balls dipped in vanilla extract in the back of the refrigerator to absorb smells.
- Make sure to change out the Alka-Seltzer or cotton balls daily.
- If the refrigerator still smells after a day, clean it out.
- To combat freezer smells, use activated charcoal purchased from the pet store.
- To clean the refrigerator and freezer, inside and out, mix the following in a spray bottle:
- 1 part hot water.
- 1 part white vinegar.
- 1 Tbsp baking soda.
Don’t forget to clean under and around the refrigerator as well.
Moving the refrigerator can be dangerous, and result in unnecessary workers compensation claims.
An easy, DIY hack is to attach a cotton sock to the bottom of a yard stick.
- One Good Thing by Jillee – Coming Out Of The Medicine Cabinet…17 Alternative Uses for Alka-Seltzer!
- Lifehacker – Banish Fridge Funk with a Cotton Ball and Vanilla Extract
The most important tip of all is to make certain that all employees are aware of their shared responsibility towards the cleanliness of communal spaces, and that participation is obligatory.
- Create and post a Breakroom Cleaning Policy.
- Send out ‘refrigerator dump-day’ email reminders twice a month.
- Perform routine inspections of refrigerators, and request your janitorial services provider to report on neglected areas or bad smells.
If you would like to learn more about the benefits of professional janitorial services for your business, contact us today for a free quote!
In Bakersfield CA, call (661) 395-3009
In Fresno CA, call (559) 473-1790