Come flu season, cold season, “the crud” or any epidemic, the workplace can be much like schools, churches, restaurants and, well, any place where people gather — it's an area where disease is transmitted.
It is in those places where the infected and uninfected breathe the same air and touch the same surfaces, surfaces such as handles, doorknobs, faucets and so on.
In the workplace, once such common surface is the office copier or printer with its control panel, buttons, knobs and handles and so many people touching them.
While it’s easy to use disinfectant wipes and sprays on door handles, table tops and such, the office copier is no door handle. It takes special treatment.
If you are thinking about disinfecting your copier or printer, here are five tips for effectively and safely sanitizing it without damaging it.
Gather your cleaning supplies.
Grab a lint-free cloth, some rubbing alcohol, a can of compressed air and whatever other cleaning supplies you want to use. Make sure your cleaning products are free of ammonia or chlorine.
Power down the copier or printer.
Before doing any cleaning, be sure to turn the device off and keep it turned off during cleaning. This prevents electrical accidents damaging to you and to the machine.
Use alcohol or an ammonia and bleach-free cleaner.
We recommend using alcohol as the best method to clean your device as it effectively and instantly kills contagions upon application and does so without damaging your device’s surfaces. If you do decide to use a disinfectant, make sure it is free of ammonia and bleach as both substances are damaging to your device. For example, while it may seem to make sense to use Windex to clean the copier glass, the ammonia in Windex will destroy the special coating on the glass, causing problems and possible glass replacement in the future.
Another thing to consider is that many disinfectants require surfaces to be wet with the cleaner anywhere from 30 seconds to 10 minutes, depending on whatever pathogen you are trying to kill. Alcohol, though, kills and cleans on contact without the risk of damage to your equipment. That’s why we recommend using alcohol.
Wipe, don’t spray to sanitize your copier or printers surfaces.
When applying the cleaner, we suggest you lightly apply it to a lint-free cloth and then wipe the surfaces rather than spraying the surfaces and then wiping. Why? Two reasons. One, wiping provides much better and even surface coverage and, two, water-based cleaners are electrically conductive and thence dangerous to electronics. Any fluid reaching electronic surfaces could cause electrical shorts, causing damage to your device. Wiping prevents this kind damage as no free-floating droplets of solution will contact electronic surfaces. But back to the alcohol point, that’s why we recommend using alcohol as it is nonconductive and is more effective than other cleaners.
Dust the copier or printer device surfaces.
Sometimes as you are cleaning your copier or printer, dust, particles or other debris can become dislodged and find new surfaces to which adhere. This is where that can of compressed air comes into play. Simply give those surfaces a blast of air and any free dust and debris will disappear.
Hopefully, these tips help you in safely sanitizing your copier and keeping your workplace healthy.
But just as an additional tip, the best ways of preventing the spread of disease in the office is to … yep, you guessed it … wash your hands.
Here are some guidelines from the CDC on how to properly do that.
About R.K. Black, Inc.
R.K. Black, Inc. is an Oklahoma City-based, family-owned leading provider of office technology solutions to small and medium-sized businesses in Oklahoma and Kansas. We specialize in everything business technology from copier, fax, printer and scanner technology to document management, onsite paper shredding services, VoIP phone systems and managed IT support to video surveillance solutions.
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