I work in a 'business casual' office in IT where the microwave is not cleaned by the cleaning staff and the adults do not clean up after themselves. I cleaned the microwave thoroughly after finding a hair in it and it being caked with food.

We have plastic splatter covers that go unused and when those get soiled they are left dirty. A fellow co-worker sent an email out last time I cleaned the microwave asking that people keep it up, but that has not happened.

Should I put a sign up over the microwave asking people to clean up after themselves? What would be the appropriate action? This is not answered in "How can we keep a shared common area (kitchen) clean? " Show me where this has been specifically addressed and resolved elsewhere and I will delete.

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    I'd be surprised if a similar question has not been asked on here before.
    – user34587
    Commented May 2, 2017 at 15:33
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    While you may not be their maid service, you are also not their parent, no matter how childish this behavior is. Because that is what it is, childish. Put up a sign if you like but it probably won't help.
    – Andieisme
    Commented May 2, 2017 at 15:36
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    I did exactly so and it helped!
    – Nras
    Commented May 2, 2017 at 15:59
  • @JoeStrazzere Our cleaning crew does not clean the microwave or do the dishes. They do however clean the precious coffee pots. :-)
    – Neo
    Commented May 2, 2017 at 16:23
  • no cleaning staff does not clean the micro
    – Ray Koren
    Commented May 2, 2017 at 16:28

3 Answers 3


Should I Put a sign up over the Microwave asking people to clean up after themselves?

I don't see anything wrong with putting up such a sign on the microwave, and I have seen it work many times.

You may even wish to put up an overall sign in the break area that states "You're an adult, clean up after yourself." In my company's break area there is a sign that states "Your mother does not work here, clean up your own mess!!" ( our cleaning service does not do dishes or clean up the microwave )

The only thing you need to do first is clear it with management. I might even ask that you have management put up any signs. This way the message doesn't come from just a person, but the management team.


If you want to then there's no inherent issue with this, providing that you ask management first and they're ok with it. However, signs like this are often ignored so don't just expect it'll be a magic bullet approach!

Instead, you may need a stronger warning that can only come from management - an email to the tune of

Hi all,

Despite repeated attempts to clean the microwave it keeps lapsing to a dirty and unhygienic state in an unacceptably short timeframe. I'm afraid this presents a H&S risk, so if the situation continues we will be forced to remove this facility.

People may react better to the possibility of not having this facility than just a generic sign telling them to clean up after themselves.

  • That is a really great solution
    – Ray Koren
    Commented May 2, 2017 at 17:07

Should I Put a sign up over the Microwave asking people to clean up after themselves?

It's a waste of time.

Those that tend to clean up after themselves will do so. Those that don't tend to clean up after themselves will see the sign, perhaps clean up once, then resume their habits. Eventually, the sign will get dirty and people won't even notice that it's there.

Consider having people in the office take turns on "cleanup duty" where once per week they clean the kitchen. Eventually, the people who don't clean up after themselves will have their turn cleaning up the mess of others. It still won't likely change many habits, but at least the kitchen gets cleaned weekly.

  • The kitchen clean up duty is an interesting idea. I haven't worked in a place where this idea would fly, but an interesting idea none the less.
    – Neo
    Commented May 2, 2017 at 16:19
  • Hmmm - If I'm paid hourly and you're paying me my normal hourly rate while I'm cleaning the kitchen - probably ok as long as its infrequent. But if I'm USA-style salaried and you add cleaning the kitchen onto my normal duties I'll probably start looking for a different job where I get to do the engineering I'm qualified for.
    – brhans
    Commented May 2, 2017 at 17:18
  • @brhans ah, better than the rest of us, eh? Commented May 2, 2017 at 17:23
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    @RichardU - no. I just clean up my own messes and don't enjoy cleaning up others'. While I agree with Joe that putting up that sort of sign would probably be a waste of time I don't see a realistic way for company management to cheap their way out of allowing some employees to be messy.
    – brhans
    Commented May 2, 2017 at 17:26
  • @brhans we used something called "shame" Commented May 2, 2017 at 18:19

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