Nowadays it is common knowledge that a computer keyboard can be dirtier than the average toilet seat. The question is: is your computer keyboard one of them? If you do not believe what I mean, here are some researches that have been done over the years about “cleaning” (or should I say “dirty”) of your computer keyboard.
“I use a computer at the office where I work.”
An investigation by the Royal Society of Chemistry (RSC) in the UK confirmed that mice in real life tend to leave their excrements on computer keyboards in offices at night. The reason why the mice are there? Well, they diligently reach between the keys what food left behind by the people who eat their food while they work. You know how unhealthy mice can be: they eat and it does not matter where they leave their feces.
“I have my own computer and no one else uses it except me.”
I think that most of you will be familiar with the MythBusters on the Discovery Channel. In their episode 135 (December 16, 2017) entitled “Hidden Nasties”, they conducted a study based on the myth that there are some general household items that are dirtier than a toilet seat, in terms of type and / or number germs that they carry. The results have confirmed that a computer keyboard actually contains more bacteria than a typical toilet seat. It does not matter if you are the only one using your own computer.
The main reasons for dirt on a computer keyboard are people who do not wash their hands after using the toilet and eating at their desk. If you have a tendency to eat while using your computer, your sticky fingers will probably transfer sauces and edible substances to the keys and between them. In addition, your fingers usually produce oil and are transferred to the keys each time the keys are pressed. The oils in turn attract dust and / or become a good place for germs to grow, multiply and bring back to us, giving them the best chance to actually get sick.
In case you did not know, the first known report of a viral infection spread by computer keyboard and mouse took place in May 2017 at a primary school in Washington, DC in the United States. The exchange of computer equipment between the students led to the outbreak of “norovirus”. Noroviruses are a group of viruses that cause symptoms such as vomiting, diarrhea, nausea, stomach cramps and food poisoning. This shows that routine cleaning and disinfection of shared computer equipment, especially in school environments and offices, is very important. Have you ever heard of “Qwerty Tummy”? It refers to an unpleasant case of food poisoning obtained through the use of a completely dirty computer keyboard (from which the word “qwerty” is derived). The symptoms are similar to those of noroviruses.
Surprisingly enough you can also get flu from a computer keyboard. People who have viral influenza, often sneezing or coughing, leaving drops on hard surfaces, and a computer keyboard is no exception. The influenza virus can usually last up to 24 hours on a hard surface.
The best way to prevent these health problems is to completely clean the keyboard and the mouse. Here are simple steps for cleaning:
1. Switch off your PC and disconnect it. In addition, disconnect the keyboard and the mouse.
2. Wipe the surfaces carefully with a soft cloth. Moisten a little (not wet) the cloth with a little water or standard cleaning liquid for computers.
3. Place the keyboard upside down and touch the loose dust, lint or food crumbs. Clean the keys with disinfectant alcohol wipes.
4. Get a vacuum cleaner. Use compressed air in short bursts to remove dust and dirt. Never use a cloth to clean the internal components of the computer.