Bacteria on Your Keyboard Is Like a Fingerprint

Flickr: Photo by Jakob Montrasio

The idea of bacteria on the keyboard makes my skin crawl, but the news that scientists actually swabbed down the computer peripherals and came up with enough DNA to figure out just WHO had touched it made me lunge for the bleach.


As a writer who works primarily online, I spend a lot of time with my fingers on both my mouse and keyboard. But the truth is, I rarely if ever clean it.

Not because I'm a dirty bird, but because I don't think about it until something drastic happens -- like a diet Pepsi spill or my daughter steals my wireless mouse to become a Play-Doh mold.

But a study back in 2002 found the typical worker's desk has hundreds of times more bacteria per square inch than an office toilet seat. Not only do we constantly touch our computer accessories; we sneeze on them. We shed our hair on them. We lay the mail on them, and eat around them, dropping crumbs down into the space below the keys -- where we can't see it develop mold.

A keyboard cleaning regimen is pretty easy to start -- all you need is a can of compressed air and an antibacterial cleaner.

  • Unplug the keyboard
  • Take the compressed air and let 'er rip. If there are spaces between the keys to insert the can's straw-like adaptor, get it in there to really blow out the gunk
  • Hold the keyboard upside down and shake out all that loosened dirt. You might want to try the air again after a good shake, then flip it once again.
  • Wipe the top down with an antibacterial wipe or a rag lightly soaked in antibacterial spray. Do NOT spray the keyboard itself, and do not try to submerge it in water.

Do you clean your keyboard often or is this news to you too?

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