Do you clean the water cooler in your office or facility regularly? If the answer is no, you may be placing your staff’s health at risk. A study conducted by Northwestern University demonstrated that water dispensed from coolers had on average more than four times the amount of contaminants allowed by law. Waterborne pathogens are responsible for millions of illnesses each year in the United States. Fortunately, it only takes a little time to clean up the office cooler and make it safe for use.
Why Cleaning the Water Cooler is Necessary
Municipal water sources contain trace amounts of chlorine, which controls bacteria growth naturally in tap water. Bottled water does not contain chlorine. Consequently, bacteria grows in bottled water much more quickly. To make matters worse, the large bottles used with dispensers are handled by multiple people, then they sit around until needed. The neck of the bottle goes directly into the cooler’s reservoir, spreading that bacteria throughout the dispenser. Bacteria inside the dispenser continues to multiply unabated, potentially increasing with every bottle change.
Steps for Cleaning Water Dispensers
Begin by mixing a tablespoon of unscented bleach in one gallon of water. Unplug the unit, remove the bottle and drain the reservoir into a bucket. Remove the baffle and spill guard as well, if applicable. Fill the reservoir with bleach solution and allow it to sit for five minutes. Use a sponge to clean inside the reservoir as well as the baffle, spill guard and all exterior surfaces. Drain the bleach solution through the tap(s). Refill the reservoir with clean water several times, draining it through the tap each time. Dry everything well and reassemble the unit.
Keeping Your Water Cooler Clean
Experts disagree on how often your water cooler needs to be sanitized, but the minimum is once every two or three months. Some experts even suggest that this should be done each time the bottle is switched out. Store extra bottles in a cool, dark location away from chemicals. Experts also advise not using any bottles that are more than 30 days old, even if they are still sealed. Before changing the bottle, wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water. Using a food-safe kitchen cleaning wipe, thoroughly clean the portion of the bottle’s neck that goes into the cooler before placing it on the base. You might also consider switching to a self-cleaning cooler unit. Some countries have begun to require their use to ensure public safety.
Town and Country Office Cleaning provides a full range of commercial cleaning services to businesses of all types. For both the safety and appearance of your business, it’s as important to have a clean office as it is a clean water cooler.