The breakroom microwave is arguably the most used appliance in most offices. From reheating cups of coffee to ensuring everyone has a warm lunch, the breakroom microwave works hard. All that use creates lots of opportunities for food explosions, which leave the microwave in a, well, gross mess.
The struggle of maintaining a clean breakroom microwave has caused many to throw in the towel and surrender. The battle to have a clean microwave in breakrooms can seem insurmountable with so much use and so many different users. But the situation isn’t hopeless.
In this article we share five tried and true ways to end the struggle for a clean, sanitary breakroom microwave. Even better, these tips are easy and can be implemented right away. Let’s get you on the way to a cleaner, healthier microwave breakroom that everyone will want to use.
Use a Splatter Shield with a Magnet
The first line of defense to keeping breakroom microwaves clean is to prevent food explosions. We’ve all seen the aftermath of a reheated spaghetti explosion in the microwave.
Just one incident of food splatter can leave the inside of the microwave a gross mess for all other users until the next time it is cleaned. That’s why providing a way for staff to cover their food will go a long way to keeping the microwave clean for everyone.
In most cases, a paper towel will not sufficiently contain messes that can be created when reheating food. And then there is the challenge of getting staff to consistently cover their food. So, we recommend installing a Splatter Shield with a magnet.
These types of splatter shields do not require any effort from the user. They simply attach to the top of the microwave directly above the heating plate. When food is reheated, it is automatically covered with the shield.
Besides keeping the inside of the microwave from getting covered with food, it makes cleaning up the microwave very easy. Most times cleaning can be accomplished by washing the splatter shield with warm water and dish detergent. Then follow up with a quick wipe down of the interior.
Include Interior Microwave Cleaning in Your Janitorial Service Scope of Work
Here’s the truth. It’s going to be hard if not impossible to get people to volunteer to clean the breakroom microwave. That’s not an office task many people are going to be eager to sign up for on a regular basis.
Without regular cleaning, microwaves can quickly become covered in baked-on food, harbor bacteria and be unsanitary. So, it can’t be left undone.
By including interior microwave cleaning in your janitorial service scope of work, you’ll ensure that the microwave is cleaned and sanitized on a regular basis. While daily is ideal, most janitorial services will charge an extra fee for this task.
The number of microwaves that your breakroom has and how the microwave etiquette followed by staff will impact how often you want the janitorial service to clean the microwaves. However, we recommend a minimum of once per week to maintain a clean and hygienic microwave.
Assign Staff to Clean the Microwave
While cleaning the breakroom microwave may not be a popular task, it is a necessary one. If including interior microwave cleaning in your janitorial service isn’t an option, consider assigning this task to staff.
There are many ways to have everyone in the office share in this task. Some ideas include:
The above suggestions will help staff share in the responsibility in keeping the breakroom microwave clean and not leave one employee solely responsible for that task.
An added benefit of sharing in this cleaning task is that everyone will be more conscious of how they use the microwave. Employees will have an incentive to clean up after themselves if they create a spill in the microwave to avoid having a huge mess to tackle when it is their turn for cleaning.
Institute a Microwave Etiquette Guidelines
Setting expectations can go a long way in how staff use breakroom appliances including the microwave. One way to set expectations for use of the microwave is by instituting microwave etiquette guidelines.
By clearly defining what is appropriate conduct for microwave use, you can encourage employees to be considerate of others in their microwave use.
Some things to include in microwave etiquette guidelines include:
These four simple expectations are the pillars of keeping the breakrooms microwave clean. If followed, the task of maintaining a breakroom microwave that everyone will want to use will be much easier.
To keep your microwave etiquette guidelines, top of mind for staff, it can be helpful to display them on the front of the microwave. Doing so will provide an immediate reminder to do their part to maintain clean amenities for all employees to use.
Keep Cleaning Supplies Near By
The best way to encourage employees to clean up after using the microwave is to have cleaning supplies nearby.
Convenient items to have within easy reach are:
When employees have easy access to cleaning products, they are more likely to use them. Cleaning products also serve as a gentle reminder of the expectation to clean up after themselves after using the breakroom microwave and other breakroom amenities.
Achieving the goal of a breakroom microwave that stays clean throughout the day can be challenging but not impossible. By following a few simple steps, you can motivate and encourage employees to all participate in using the microwave in a responsible and considerate manner.
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