Your office is a sacred space. A nook hidden from the chaos of home, where you can close the door and say “I’m working, give me a half-hour” and retreat to solitude and work.
Unless it smells.
The office can turn into a nightmare when unidentified odors float through the air. And even the tidiest spaces are prone to these hidden causes of stench.
In this post, you’ll learn how to find, identify, and eliminate common odor-causing problems in your home office.
Here’s a Hint…You’re Using it Right Now
It’s staring at you, it’s under your fingers, and it’s one of the most commonly forgotten spots in need of desperate cleaning – your computer. If you eat at your desk, you’ll pay a higher price. Apart from sticky keys and crumbs in your keyboard, there may be a foul odor and bacteria, too.
There are different smells associated with computers. Before cleaning, unplug your computer and check for the smell of hot electronics. Is there a cable that overheats and produces a plastic smell? Is the fan on your computer blocked with dust? Check these first. They may cause – or be the result of – problems with your electronics.
Now that your computer is unplugged, use a compressed air spray cleaner for delicate electronics to clean under the keys and around all sensitive parts of the machine. If you aren’t comfortable doing this without help the first time, ask a computer-savvy friend or relative to walk you through the process. It’s easier than you think.
Next up: grime.
Use cotton swabs (Q-tips makes a special line called Precision Tips for this purpose) to clean between the keys on your keyboard, and along the edge of your computer screen. If your monitor or screen came with a cloth for wiping it clean, use it at least once a month. If not, pick up a microfiber cloth designed to be used on electronics for this job.
Do NOT use paper towels or tissues to clean your monitor. They don’t work, but they do leave streaks and fuzz behind.
Coffee makers, cups, and wet coasters can smell when left to sit. Easily forgotten among pressing duties for work, family budgeting, and the like, they can even mold – which is when the real stench starts.
If your office has a lingering coffee odor that smells a little off, clean your coffee maker thoroughly and check around for mugs and coasters that might have been overlooked. Spilled coffee grounds, moisture deposits under a leaky carafe, and dried coffee stains can also cause a bad smell.
If you’ve ever walked into an antique book store, you know that paper has a distinctive smell. If your office is starting to smell like an old book shop, it’s time to say goodbye to your piles of paper. Use a scanner to help remove the clutter. Get rid of all unnecessary papers, and keep electronic copies of vital records. For those of you with dust allergies, your office will soon be a much more inviting space.
Clean your office’s filing cabinet out once a month. Look through the papers you have filed and see what can (and should) be thrown out.
Once you’ve placed your paperwork in electronic format, make sure to back it up on an external hard drive for safe keeping. Look into cloud storage solutions if you have a hefty pile of papers on hand.
Your Office Chair
Office chairs get a lot of love – and not a lot of cleaning. If you’ve searched high and low in your office, but can’t find the source of a rotten smell, check your chair. Dust it, wipe it down, and look for any spills that may have happened without your noticing.
Coffee and food spills on office chairs are fairly common, and often overlooked.
Once you’ve finished wiping up any obvious stains or spills, deep clean the upholstered part of your chair. If the seat is leather or pleather, follow the manufacturer’s instructions carefully. Microfiber can be cleaned with a little powdered oxygen cleaner and water. Gently scrub the mix onto your seat with a brush. Let the mixture work for a few minutes, and then brush with plain water until the brush leaves behind clear fluid when rinsed.
For cloth office chairs, use a vacuum to get out any loose dirt or dust, and then clean the chair with a hand-held rug shampooer. Let the chair fully dry before using it again.
That’s all it takes to get rid of what stinks in the office.
If you’re still having a tough time eradicating odors, let me know. I’ll send them fleeing from your home, one room at a time.
Until next month, happy cleaning!
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