Your Keyboard Can Make You Sick – Here’s What You Should Do

You are probably already aware that your computer keyboard is far from clean. Dust, dirt, and microorganisms gather in most keyboards. There are even reports that say these computer accessories are dirtier than a toilet. There are things you can do, though, to prevent the quick accumulation of dirt. For example, you can use membrane keyboard covers.

How dirty is your keyboard?

The two leading input accessories of computers, the keyboard and mouse, are regarded as prime real estate for germs. Because many hands touch them and they are rarely cleaned, it’s easy for unwanted microbes to thrive on them.

In 2008, a consumer advocacy group in the UK commissioned tests to determine the level of germ infestation in keyboards. What they discovered was an alarming revelation. It turns out; most keyboards are dirtier than a toilet seat (based on samples obtained in UK offices and bathrooms). The tests found large numbers of nasty bacteria. If these are not addressed, they can create health problems especially among those who suffer from weak immunity.

There are at least three reasons behind this: the different hands that use the computers in offices, the gaps between the keys, and infrequent cleaning. Even office-based workers have dirty hands. When they share the same devices, expect the devices to serve as a hub for various microbes. The surface of the keys may be smooth, but there are spaces and crevices around them that become thriving grounds for pathogens. Worse, not many people have the habit of regularly cleaning and disinfecting their keyboards.

What should you do?

The solutions are simple. Obviously, one of the most important things to do is to start cleaning and disinfecting keyboards more frequently. Most keyboards nowadays are already spill-proof, so don’t hesitate to wipe (not drench or soak) it with a liquid cleaning solution. You can even use a piece of cloth with 70% rubbing alcohol on it. For the dirt in the gaps of the keys, use a vacuum cleaner. Don’t wait for your keyboard to look or feel filthy. Make a habit of disinfecting things that are shared with others in the office.

You can also attach a membrane cover on your keyboard to make it splash resistant and easier to clean. Doing this prevents dust and dirt from gathering in your keyboard. It reduces the chances of microbes as well as minute bugs infesting your device. You can also replace your keyboards with inherently splash-proof models or sealed keyboards that are easier to clean.

The number of harmful microorganisms that reside in keyboards and other devices shared by multiple users may not be on a level that should stir panic, but the danger of getting sick because of dirty keyboards is real. It’s better to take preventive measures than to be sorry after contracting a disease. Just imagine the thought that your toilet seat is “cleaner” than the device you frequently lay your fingers on.