The communal office pantry is where employees can take a break from their daily tasks and de-stress, which is why maintaining its condition is an essential part of overall office cleaning. The break room is also where people take their lunch and snacks, so food is everywhere, and can cause problems with pests if not properly cleaned.
Keeping the office pantry clean is a joint responsibility between all coworkers and managers using the facilities. Each member of the team is responsible for cleaning up after themselves while in the pantry, as well as ensuring that the kitchen stays clean for the next use.
How to Clean Pantry Area
A clean break room makes for happy employees. Whether it is a joint venture, or you took it upon yourself to do some cleaning, you will need to know how to properly clean each area to maximize your efforts.
Sweep and Mop the Floors
Sweeping and mopping the floors is pretty straightforward. Crumbs, dirt, and grime fall onto the floors, making them difficult to clean. Pick up any visible pieces and manually throw them away, then sweep the floors as usual. Use a mild cleaner, like castile soap, diluted with water to mop the floors clean, and remove oil and grease.
Wipe Down Surfaces
Use a damp cloth to wipe down surfaces like chairs, tables, countertops, and the like to keep them clear of food remains, spills, and splatters. Use a drop of dish soap on a damp cloth as a safe cleaning solution around areas where food is prepared and eaten.
Besides surfaces, appliances must also be cleaned as these come into contact with food. Make sure all appliances are turned off and not hot before you start cleaning. Use a damp, not wet, cloth to wipe down the outer surfaces of the microwave, the toaster, and the coffee maker. Clean the interior as per instructions for each appliance.
Check our blog on how to clean your office appliances, including the office coffee maker. In these guides, we’ll show you how to thoroughly clean the internal mechanisms of your office kitchen appliances to keep them in tip top condition.
Clean Out Refrigerator
It’s a tough cleaning task, but somebody’s gotta do it. The fridge needs to be cleaned at least once a week, and thoroughly cleaned out at least once a month to organize its contents, remove spoiled food, and prevent lingering odors of mixed viands.
For weekly cleaning, simply take a damp cloth with a drop of dishwashing liquid, and wipe down the interior and exterior surfaces of the refrigerator. Make sure to get rid of any rotting food, and wipe away spills as well. To clean out your fridge, take out all the contents, and wipe the fridge down with a food-safe disinfectant. Get into every nook and cranny to keep smells away.
How to Sanitize and Disinfect
Since we all share one communal eating area, we need to learn to sanitize and disinfect our areas to be ready for use by the next person. Proper etiquette dictates that we should leave an area cleaner than when we got there, and this is true in keeping good relations among coworkers.
Use a damp cloth to wipe down any spilled food or dirt from tables, chairs, and other surfaces. Spray some food-safe disinfectant such as rubbing alcohol or hand sanitizer, and use a clean cloth to distribute the sanitizer. You may also use disinfectant wipes for convenience.
How to Clean the Sink
Cleaning the sink means more than just washing the dishes. While dishwashing is a large part of it, the sink itself should be cleaned regularly of grime, soap scrum, and food remains. Use a wired catch basket over your drain to catch food remains before they enter the sink, especially if your office sink doesn’t have a garbage disposal.
Take a sponge separate from the dishwashing sponge and scrub down any spilled sauces, food bits, and tarnishing from mineral deposits. Dump out the contents of the catch basket before it fills up, and maintain upkeep of the sink.
Office Kitchen Etiquette
Set some rules in writing about proper office kitchen etiquette. These procedures mainly work to prevent food spillage, smells, and other factors that would lead to unnecessary cleaning. Proper office kitchen etiquette would also help to be mindful of others, and keep morale going with group collaboration towards a common goal to create a better work environment for everyone.
Microwave upkeep is a little tricky, and most people do not know how to properly use a microwave. However, preventing accidents in the microwave is simpler than you’d think, provided that everyone is aware of a few rules.
- Foods Must Be Covered When in the Microwave - The number one practice that causes food spillage in the microwave is not covering the container before you heat up your food. Though a covered airtight container is a big no-no in microwave safety, a loose cover on top of your food while heating reduces food splatters, and heats up food more evenly.
- Wipe Up Splatters Immediately - Don’t wait until the food splatters crust up, wipe splatters immediately as soon as the microwave cools down enough for you to safely take a damp cloth to wipe clean any splatters or spillage that may have occurred during heating.
The office fridge is the holy grail of the communal pantry. It is both helpful in keeping our food fresh until lunch, frustrating when coworkers do not follow proper fridge rules, and especially frustrating when someone else takes your food.
To avoid any misunderstandings and incidents, maintain a thorough fridge organization that ensures everyone has a place to put their food. Don’t just shove your containers into the fridge, but be mindful of anyone who might need to place theirs in as well. Do not take up more space than appropriate with large containers for personal food like pizza boxes and soup pots.
Dishes in the Sink
Clean your own dishes and utensils after eating, and rinse off any food remains that stick to the sink afterwards. Empty the catch basket off your crumbs, or run the disposal if necessary. As a courtesy, leave some space for the next person to place their utensils on the drying rack and in the cupboard.
Ensure all utensils going back into the cupboard are clean and dry, as moisture can host bacteria, mold, and dirt that can make people sick. Personal plates, mugs, and cutlery should be labelled with the user’s name to avoid mixups. Only use utensils designated for you, and place your items back where they belong after using.
Tips to Keep the Office Pantry Clean
To keep the office kitchen clean, you will need to have everyone on board with proper communal pantry maintenance. Have notices in writing, inform each member of the rules and etiquette in using shared facilities, and keep a cleaning checklist that can help determine when the area has been last cleaned and how thoroughly.
The checklist contains the different areas within the pantry, as well as the appliances, and when they were last cleaned. This list serves as a guide for you to know how well you and your team have maintained the pantry, and to ensure that no task is forgotten. Here are a few items that should be on your checklist:
- Clean Refrigerator from Spoiled and Expired Items
- Clean Sink
- Clean Interior and Exterior of Appliances:
- Coffee Maker
- Sweep and Mop Floor
- Take out Trash and Recycling
Do not forget to check out our office cleaning checklist which you can easily download and post on your office wall to maintain a tidy working space for all.
Hiring a Professional Cleaning Service
When all else fails, let the professionals handle the job! Hiring a professional office cleaning service is perfect for all office sizes, as it allows you to focus on your productivity, while the experienced cleaners keep your office spotless. Our cleaners here at Luce Office are trained professionals who know the proper way of maintaining office cleanliness, including in your communal pantry.
Contact us today and let’s discuss a schedule that works for you!
Read more cleaning stuff: 5 Ways to Reduce Dust in Your Office Workspace