Is Your Work Desk Toxic to Your Health?

If you’re at your office desk reading this right now, you may want to sit up and pay attention: Research shows that your desk is teeming with 400 times more microbes and pathogenic bacteria than a toilet seat. Mobile phones aren’t as bad, but they still are 10 times worse than a toilet, the Independent reports. Your computer keyboard and mouse also contribute to the problem — and, like it or not, microbiologists found that men’s desk have three to four times the number of bacteria as women’s.

Once you get beyond the “yuck” factor of this article, the good news is there are things you can do to protect yourself from disease-causing bacteria no matter what kind of public setting you’re in, as well as at home. The first step, as you probably already know, begins with good hand-washing practices. The key is to just do it, and do it correctly using proper products and techniques.

That includes using plain soap and warm water, and using a paper towel to dry your hands, as air dryers have been shown to spread more germs than towels. Note: You do NOT need antibacterial soap, which actually promotes the development of drug-resistant bacteria. Work up a good lather, make sure you cover all surfaces of your hands, fingers and below your fingernails and rinse thoroughly under running water. Then thoroughly dry your hands.

Keeping your desk free of clutter can help reduce microbe surfaces and regularly wiping down your keyboard and mouse will help, too. Likewise, at home, decluttering can help keep pathogens at bay. While you’re at home, besides being mindful of good hand-washing practices, it’s important to follow other disease-fighting strategies. For example, since kitchen towels are sources of bacterial pathogens, it’s important to change them often — preferably daily.

When it comes to cleaning, whether you’re at the office or home, always remember to use nontoxic cleaners. If you are partial to the scents that many commercial cleaners contain, many essential oils can offer the same scents, without the toxic chemicals.