Germs are hiding all around a busy office


by Pat Dooris, KGW Staff

Posted on November 13, 2013 at 12:48 PM

Updated Wednesday, Nov 13 at 12:51 PM

PORTLAND -- When it comes to offices, germs are waiting to attack in places many people would not normally think about.

They're invisible and they're all around us, hiding in plain sight.

They are under our fingertips as we type.  They wait for our fingers as we depress the cold water dispenser in the break room or perhaps pull open the fridge or microwave.

“You want to take a look at any contact point that you think people are touching. That's where germs are coming into play,” said Mark Chapin, President of N&C Service.

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His cleaning company sanitizes offices and picks up trash in 300 businesses around the greater Portland area.

He said germs hide where ever people put them. “Could be light switches, door handles, the vending machine or other things," he said.

And don’t forget about that desk phone that people put it right up to their mouths.

“Every time I pick up the phone, that's something that I think about it. Yeah,” said Sharolyn Kinneman, N&C receptionist.

Turns out they're a bit preoccupied with germs at Chapin's cleaning company.

The company's janitors kill germs in obvious spots but it’s the equipment in plain sight that might surprise you.

Have you considered how dirty the start button is on the copier machine?

And don’t forget the touch screen on the computer printer.

Or your cell phone.

The receptionist wipes her equipment down at least once a week.

“So then the phone is a very high use area,” said Karen Olson as she wiped it with sanitizing cloths at Providence Hospital.

If you think you worry about germs, imagine Olson’s life. She’s a nurse who is part of a team fighting infectious diseases.

“I dream about bugs," she said.

Her regular wipe down is one way she knows to kill them.  Because if you don’t, they can live a long time.

“It depends on what it is, but it could last up to weeks to months,” Olson said.

She suggests washing your hands as soon as you arrive at work.

“Your hands are the number one problem of where you get bugs, germs to spread," she said.