Ultimate Guide To Cleaning Your Office Desk Like A Pro

Create a productive and healthy workspace.


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Last updated: September 19th, 2023

how to clean your office desk

Last updated: September 19th, 2023

Reading Time: 4 minutes

Your office desk is where you spend most of the day. Like a home away from home, it’s essential to keep it organised and tidy! Results are in – keeping a clean office desk can help reduce stress, improve focus, plus support your well-being. Follow our below guide to clean your desk like a pro and maintain a clean, healthy and happy work environment.

Whether in the office or at home, we’ll give you tips to revamp your office desk or to de-clutter your current space.

(Related: What Are The Best Standing Desks In Australia?).

Why Clean Your Office Desk?

clean your office desk

An average office desk contains 400 times more germs than a toilet seat.

You read that right.

Think about that next time you’re scoffing down your sandwich while working at your desk. Your office desk is a breeding ground for bacteria such as:

  • Helicobacter pylori.
  • Escherichia coli.
  • Staphylococcus aureus.

And yet, most offices are thoroughly cleaned once per month – or less.

(Related: How To Protect Carpet From Office Chair Damage).

1. Declutter Your Desk.

Bond researcher Libby Sander uncovered that physical environments influence our cognition, behaviour, decision-making and even relationships with others.

She said:

“Cluttered spaces have negative effects on our stress and anxiety levels, as well as our ability to focus, our eating choices, and even our sleep.” 

Before you clean your desk:

  • Remove everything from the desktop and place it in a pile.
  • Sort the items into three categories: things to keep, throw away, and put away.
  • When it comes to throwing away – don’t hold back! Dispose of old papers, pens that don’t work, and other miscellaneous items. 
  • For the items to keep, put them aside for now. You can find a place for them on your office desk after you clean the space.  
  • File any important papers away. 


Hygiene is paramount in shared office spaces. Remember to regularly clean your keyboard, mouse, headset, phone, and other tech items. 

By retaining only the essentials, you’ll be able to clean your office desk more efficiently and create space for the things you need.

(Related: The Ultimate Home Office Setup Guide).

2. Deep Clean Desk Surfaces.

It’s now time for the deep clean. Results from a University of Arizona study uncovered that desks are home to a plethora of germs.

Further studies also confirm that a clean, fresh space can do wonders for your productivity!

To begin, dust the space: 

  • Opt for a soft cloth or duster to wipe down all the surfaces. 
  • Be sure to pay attention to the corners and crevices, as these areas can accumulate more dust than the rest of your desk.
  • If you have any electronics on your office desks, use a microfibre cloth to avoid scratching the screens, and be gentle as you wipe them down.
  • You can also spray a small amount of the cleaning solution onto the microfiber cloth, then gently wipe down the screens. Be sure not to spray the cleaning solution directly onto the screens, as this can cause damage.


  • Use an eco-friendly disinfectant spray to wipe down all surfaces.
  • Rub vigorously, ensuring you reach into crevices to remove germs and accumulated bacteria.

How Often Should You Clean Your Desk?

We recommend scheduling a deep desk clean every quarter to remove accumulated dirt, bugs, dust, and debris. Keep a pack of disinfectant wipes in your drawer to quickly wipe your desktop on a weekly basis.

3. Organise Your Desk Drawers.

Now that the desk surfaces are clean and dust-free, it’s time to tackle the inside of your drawers. It’s daunting, we know – but you’ll wish you had done it sooner!

(Related: What Is The Correct Desk Height?)

It’s best to empty all drawers and start from scratch – ensuring you place back in the items you need in an organised way. 

  • Go from top to bottom to drawer.
  • You have many desk accessories like pens, paper clips, and other small items which quickly become disorganised.  Place them in a top drawer where they are accessible but not cluttering your desk space. 
  • Keep bulkier items or those you use less in lower drawers. 
  • Try dividing each drawer by the theme of what you store there. 


Use organisers like desk trays, containers or a labeller to keep everything in a set place. 

4. Pack Cords Away Safely.

One of the biggest culprits for a cluttered office desk is the plethora of cords from your computer, phone, and other devices. 

Here’s how to tame unruly, messy cables:

  • Pack as many cords as possible behind the monitor or under the desk. 
  • Don’t just shove them away – use cable ties to keep things safely organised.
  • Use a cord management box or cable management sleeves, or ask if your office can provide them.

(Related: Standing Desk Cable Management Tips).

5. Sweep And Mop Under Your Desk.

While you may be great at keeping your office desk clean, neglecting the area underneath is easily missed.

Dust, dirt, and other debris can accumulate under your desk, making it look dirty and unorganised.

To clean the area, regularly sweep and mop. You can habit-stack this onto other cleaning duties (if you have a home office) to ensure it becomes routine. 

(Related: How Do I Ask My Boss To Pay For My Standing Desk?)

6. Keep A Rubbish Bin Nearby.

Having a garbage bin within reach will help you quickly and easily dispose of anything that accumulates on your office desk.

Make sure to empty this regularly to avoid any unpleasant odours!

(Related: How To Set Up A Home Office On A Budget).

7. Harness The Power Of Scent.

On the contrary, adding an aromatic element to a clean office desk, such as a scented candle or essential oil diffuser, can positively affect mood and productivity. 

Scent can also trigger emotion, so it makes sense (pardon the pun) to harness this to ensure a stimulating and positive work environment.

Expert Tip.

Peppermint can promote focus and alertness. You can buy ‘Focus’ essential oil blends and diffuse them throughout the day. 

Bonus Tip: Try Rearranging!

Experts agree that raising your office space every season or biannually will keep you feeling engaged! Like any space, rearranging the items on a desk helps to create a fresh, new look that can inspire creativity and motivation.

Done & Dusted…

By following the steps outlined above, you can quickly and easily clear your office desk to ensure a positive and organised space.

This is an excellent task to find time for heading into a new year to ensure you feel energised and ready to go.

You should feel inspired and productive when you sit down to work each day, not stressed and disorganised. A little effort can go a long way in creating a space that supports your best work self!


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