When most of us think about cleaning out our file cabinets, the task probably involves sorting through paperwork and tossing out things we don't need anymore. Decluttering and organizing help us stay on top of important documents at work. But it's also a good idea to actually scrub away the dirt and grime that's collected down there as part of the process.
About once a year, schedule some time to take everything out of your trusty filing cabinet and give it a good cleaning session. To help you get started, here's a step-by-step guide to getting all the dirt and bacteria off of those metal parts. We'll also recommend a shopping list with everything you need to buy to get your office's file cabinets looking shiny and new again.
There's no good way to clean file cabinet drawers with all your stuff still inside them. But you run the risk of losing all your hard organization work if you take everything out and don't it back in correctly. This is where bankers boxes come in handy. Stock up on a bunch of bankers boxes to organize your files by drawer and in the order they were found in.
Vacuuming your file cabinet drawers gets the bulk of the debris out to make your cleaning job easier. If your office doesn't yet have a handheld vacuum in the storage closet, now is a great time to buy one. Small handheld vacuums that are lightweight and have multiple attachment options are perfect for cleaning file cabinet drawers, desk chairs, and even spilled crumbs from last Friday's delicious office birthday cake. The attachment hose of the vacuum works well for the inside of file cabinet drawers.
If your vacuum doesn't have attachments small enough to reach the drawers' corners, use dust wipes to get in there. It's easier to pick out pieces of debris and hair before getting down to scrubbing with warm soap and water.
Rust tends to form on metal surfaces, like file cabinets, over time. This is totally normal, but it's also unsightly and can present health hazards if inhaled or rubbed into the eyes. A very fine steel wool pad will remove rust spots gently and effectively. Just don't scrub too hard or you may damage the surface of the metal along with the rust.
Soak a damp cloth or sponge in some warm and soapy water to really get down to business. You can use any dish soap from your office's kitchen here, but for filing cabinets, we recommend a degreasing soap that's unscented. It also helps to have a standard bucket next to you so that you aren't dripping water everywhere or running back and forth to the kitchen. A sponge with a mildly abrasive scrubber side is great for getting off caked-on gunk. Once you're done, rinse everything with clean water.
Since file cabinets hold many important documents, it's important that they be allowed to fully dry before transferring everything back from the temporary storage bankers boxes. To avoid soggy or warping paperwork, leave everything in the bankers boxes for as long as you possibly can. To speed up this process, use a dry microfiber cloth on all the surfaces, paying extra-close attention to the wet corners.
With these six cleaning steps in mind, here are our top product picks for getting your metal filing cabinet clean at least once a year. These products are great for getting to the bottom dirt, grime, and bacteria without damaging the metal or taking too much of your time to use.