There is really no such thing as completely germ-free, but with flu season under way and all the news about Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV), now is a good time to make sure your work-space is clean and free of as many contagions as possible. You already know that you should wash your hands, cover your mouth when coughing or sneezing, and not touch your eyes or nose. But even if you are being careful, others might not be as diligent and could spread germs through items that are routinely shared in an office or work setting.
First, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends knowing the difference between cleaning, disinfecting and sanitizing:
Cleaning removes germs, dirt, and impurities from surfaces or objects. Cleaning works by using soap (or detergent) and water to physically remove germs from surfaces. This process does not necessarily kill germs, but by removing them, it lowers their numbers and the risk of spreading infection.
Disinfecting kills germs on surfaces or objects. Disinfecting works by using chemicals to kill germs on surfaces or objects. This process does not necessarily clean dirty surfaces or remove germs, but by killing germs on a surface after cleaning, it can further lower the risk of spreading infection.