Office surfaces that see a lot of contact throughout the day quickly build up dirt and bacteria if not regularly cleaned. Messy, unclean surfaces are prime spots for dangerous bugs to breed. But careful planning goes a long way in helping workers safeguard their health.

Slate recently reported on a study which found that doorknobs are a key touchpoint for spreading illness among office inhabitants. An experiment with a non-hazardous bacterial infection showed that doorknobs contaminated the office within four hours after an infected individual touched one.

However, any shared item is a possible risk, especially once bacteria has been introduced. Today recently quoted University of Arizona scientist Charles Gerba on the way noroviruses (viruses that are transmitted through hand to mouth) are spread. Aside from doorknobs, some other prime locations for germs include coffee pots and desks.

“Every time you are touching these surfaces, you are picking up 30 to 50 percent of the organisms that are on those surfaces,” he said. “Then you touch your face, and the viruses can either get into the eyes nose or mouth, or get back onto your fingers.”

To counter this, the standard advice is to use alcohol-based wipes and hand sanitizer on all dirty items. Regularly cleaning these items kills germs and reduces the chance of infection. Gerba also says that desks should be wiped down once a day with disinfectant cloths. He and his researchers found that even if only 50 percent of an office population uses hand sanitizers, infection rates can drop by 60 percent.

Businesses should choose office furniture that is easy to wipe down in order to promote cleanliness.