By Michael S. Julianelle, Staples® Contributing Writer
They say a cluttered desk betrays a cluttered mind. Who knows what a dirty desk betrays.
When you’re constantly on the go at work, it’s not always easy to keep things neat and clean — especially if you don’t have the right cleaning supplies. Thankfully, there’s more than one way to clean up a mess.
Here is a list of seven critical areas to consider, and tips that will make it easier for you to maintain a clean office and get back to getting your job done:
1. Keyboards, Calculators and Telephone Keypads
Ah, keyboards — the couch cushions of the workplace! Who knows what lies in their nooks and crannies? If you have one of those air dusters to spray the various debris loose with, you’re all set. But what if you don’t?
Try that hair dryer you’ve got jammed in your gym bag — just be sure to use the cool setting. For more stubborn debris, grab some cotton swabs to get beneath, between and behind the keys to keep them free from dust and muffin crumbs.
2. Monitors, Screens, Displays and Devices
“It’s important to keep your computer and monitor free of dust. For screen cleaning, turn off the machine and wipe down the screen with a damp microfiber cloth,” says Marie Steigner, consumer health advocate for Maid Brigade and nationally recognized healthy living and green cleaning expert. You can also use wipes specifically made for display screens.
You may think your favorite antibacterial wipe is up to the task, but you’d be wrong. “Avoid using cleaners that contain alcohol or acetone because they take off the screen’s protective coating,” Steigner explains.
Spray a little warm water on a soft paper towel and wipe away the fingerprints, French fry grease and whatever else is smudging up your view.
3. Desks, Work Tables & Counters
Antibacterial or disinfecting wipes are the super heroes of surface cleaning, willing to take on spills and messes with ease. But what if your supply is exhausted?
Technically, baby wipes are for babies. And, if you’ve ever been around a baby, you know that these wipes have some heavy lifting to do to keep that delightful new-baby smell! Keep a packet at your desk and use them to keep your work surface crumb free. Swipe one over your mouse and mouse pad, wipe down your desk phone, and have a packet in your drawer in case there’s a coffee spill. You can even use them to clean your hands before sending a text or typing that document. Nothing’s worse than a sticky keyboard!
4. The Coffeemaker
The caffeine filling station provides an essential respite from the clickety-clackety of your cube farm. If your office manager is a rock star, or a neat freak, you probably have some special supplies for cleaning the coffee maker. Otherwise, you’ll need to find an alternative to avoid disgusting coffee that might lead to revolt.
“Take powdered dishwasher detergent, shake it into the bottom of a cool coffee pot and fill with hot water. Let it sit for an hour and it should be as good as new — no scrubbing, no boiling, no replacement needed,” Meg Roberts, president of Molly Maid, suggests.
Invest in a small vial of lemon or orange essential oil and dilute a few drops in a small spray bottle of water. When the next Vesuvius erupts, spray the entire interior with the scented oil and place a wet sponge in the center. Nuke it for two minutes to dissipate the smell. Let the sponge cool and then use it to clean up the gunk, then place it in the dishwasher to fight another day.
6. Trash cans
In an ideal world, all the gross stuff that goes in the trash wouldn’t be deposited till the end of the day, when you can swan out to your car or the train and let someone else deal with it. However, if you’re the one stuck emptying the trash, there is trick to keep the stink away.
“After emptying the trash can, take it outside and squirt dishwashing detergent inside the can and let the power of your hose provide the elbow grease. Allow the can to air dry before replacing the trash bag. Add a new dryer sheet to the bottom to help limit odors,” Roberts says.
7. Permanent markers
Even though you’ve never done it, someone’s always using a permanent marker on the conference room whiteboard. And there never seems to be any actual cleaner in the little spray bottle next to the board, does there?
Forget the fancy solvents. “Cover the permanent marker mark with dry erase marker and wipe away,” Roberts recommends.
With these tips — and a little bit of elbow grease — you’ll be able to maintain a clean office without having to somehow squeeze a trip to the store in the middle of wall-to-wall meetings.
So when should you use professional printing and when should you do it yourself? Let’s find out.
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