Have you washed your hands lately? If you’re reading this article on your computer, then you might want to use a hand sanitizer or wash your hands again before you have your lunch. According to a study done by researchers at Kimberly-Clark Professional, your keyboard, your desk, and almost everything in your office may be breeding grounds for germs and bacteria.


Researchers from the company visited law firms, insurance companies, and even health care companies and swabbed nearly 5,000 surfaces for their study. They used an ATP meter to measure each area’s sanitary level. ATP stands for adenosine triphosphate, something commonly found in bacteria, molds, and yeast. An ATP reading over 100 means there is a need to clean the surface; an ATP reading over 300 means that illness could spread because of the area and that immediate sanitation is necessary.

From their reports, researchers revealed the six dirtiest areas or surfaces in the office. They are as follows:

75 percent of break room sink faucet handles

48 percent of microwave door handles

27 percent of keyboards

26 percent of refrigerator door handles

23 percent of water fountain buttons

21 percent of vending machine buttons

While it’s almost impossible to keep your hands clean at all times, there are still ways you can keep yourself protected from germs and other bacteria. Researchers suggest washing your hands often, carrying a hand sanitizer with you at all times, and wiping your desk clean with a disinfectant at least once a day. These strategies probably won’t eliminate the problem completely, but they will at least keep illness at bay.

(Photo by Jeremy Brooks via Flickr Creative Commons)

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