Office Refrigerator Etiquette


The office fridge: it’s less a modern marvel and more a mythological world. With both hope and fear, you and your employees gaze into the chilly, glowing compartments. Inside, you see a festering pile of long-forgotten lunches, sticky lagoons of spilled drinks, and passive-aggressive notes like X’s marking the spot on a mysterious treasure map.

You might be tempted to run away from the scene screaming for your life. And you wouldn’t be alone. The office fridge’s insurmountable mess has humbled many brave people.

But this should scare you more than the mess: a dirty fridge is a bacteria playground, which can make you and your employees sick. With winter’s full fury in full swing, you need all the defenses you can get. (Related reading: “3 Reasons Why Your Columbus Office Needs Cleaning TLC This Winter.”)

So let’s get going. Read on for ideas to get your whole staff committed to the idea of keeping your Columbus office’s fridge clean and easy tips for making the cleaning process as painless as possible.

Taming the Office Fridge: How to Get the Staff Involved

Perhaps the most important element of cleaning the office fridge is to get everyone on the same page. And how do you do that? You’ve got to give your employees a little incentive:

  • Emphasize the drawbacks of a dirty fridge. As you may know, in marketing, you need to highlight a person’s pain points to warm them up for a sale. It’s an underlying principle that guides most choices – people are simply more motivated to offset the negative. Explain that most office germs reside on the fridge door handles and that foodborne illnesses accompany smelly, rotten food.
  • Emphasize the benefits of everyone chipping in. If everyone helps out, the fridge will be regularly cleaned without any single person having to sacrifice their lunch break. If your staff still seems reluctant, make an event of the cleaning. Allot 30 minutes each Friday so your staff can help clean the fridge and mingle. Come up with a team-building chant to encourage courageous volunteers when they throw out the spoiled food. If you build enough festivity into an activity, people will get into it.

Now that you have the support of your staff to ferry you along, it’s time to make a plan of action for keeping your Columbus office’s fridge neat and clean.

Weekly Tips for Cleaning the Office Fridge

Each week, be sure you and your staff…

  • Wipe down the exterior doors. Use a green cleaning solution or some mild dishwashing liquid and water.
  • Use an antibacterial cleaner for the handles. They are a hotspot for germs and contamination. For more on that, read, “The Secret Dirtiest Spots of Your Office.”
  • Designate a day to sort through the food. That means that everyone should remove their storage containers and uneaten lunches. Throw out perishable food so it doesn’t sour over the weekend. Remember that cooked food should only be kept for a maximum of four days.

Monthly Tips for Cleaning the Office Fridge

This is where having a professional cleaning company could be a big time saver for you and your team. But if you want to get your hands dirty, these are the fridge maintenance tasks you should do on a monthly basis:

  • Clean the door seals. As you know, these collect crumbs and spills. Clean them with hot water and mild dishwashing liquid to cut through the stickiness and grime.
  • Wash down all the shelves and drawers. Take out all of the food and drinks. Use warm, soapy water to wash the drawers and wipe the shelves.
  • Wipe out the interior walls. You can use baking soda and water to scrub these.
  • Defrost the freezer. First, place all the freezer’s frozen contents in a cooler. Turn the freezer off, and after it thaws, wipe it down with baking soda and water. Dry it off, turn the freezer back on, and replace the items in the freezer.
  • Replace the box of baking soda in the fridge and freezer. Baking soda helps absorb and reduce odors.
  • Keep the fridge at a safe temperature. Setting the temperature to 40° Fahrenheit or lower slows bacterial growth.
  • Make sure your fridge’s thermometer is working properly. You can find replacements at the local hardware store.
  • Avoid using solvent cleaning agents inside the fridge. These types of cleansers may leave a chemical taste to food or ice cubes. Abrasives may cause damage to the interior finish of the refrigerator.
  • Wipe up spills immediately. Unattended spills can turn into a bigger cleaning project later on.
  • Keep the fridge organized. Encourage your employees to keep bottled drinks on the bottom shelf, condiments in the fridge’s door compartments, and perishable items like fruit in the crisper. You may even use a label generator to designate what items go where. It will make sorting through the fridge’s contents much easier.

General Guidelines for a Clean and Safe Office Fridge

For more cleaning tips, read, “How Often Does Your Columbus Office Need to Be Cleaned?

Don’t Fear the Office Fridge – Let Us Tackle It

Granted, cleaning out the office fridge isn’t a walk in the park. It’s time consuming, and it can be hard to get your staff to stay on top of it without driving them to insanity.

So you might need a little help. Luckily, we provide professional office cleaning for Columbus businesses. Schedule a free consultation with us today, and we’ll make a plan for keeping your office in clean and presentable shape ­– the fridge, too.