Believe it or not, the average office desk contains more germs than the common bathroom toilet. Scientific research has shown that thanks to a combination of eating at our desks, sneezing, coughing and other illness and a lack of hand-washing hygiene, the number of germs breeding on your desk is rather disturbing. PC keyboards have been shown to have between 150 and 400 times the levels of bacteria found on the average toilet seat! So it goes without saying that keeping your keyboard clean is an important part of staying healthy!
It Gets Worse
If you need further convincing, consider this – another research panel recently tested the hands of a number of people going about their average daily lives. The study showed that 25% of those people (a fair representation of the UK populace) were walking around with faecal matter (poo to the layman) on their hands.
A poor hand-washing routine is the root cause of this problem and mostly this is due to a lack of education when it comes to the proper methodology behind the hand washing in the first place. This is why a great deal of hospitals have step-by-step instructions on effective hand washing located at most sinks.
You can imagine that some of that faecal matter transfers to PC keyboards and with hot desking and using other people’s computers those germs (and worse) transfer from hand-to-hand and hand-to-mouth.
It’s all thoroughly disgusting when you think about it. So we’ve decided to help you cut down on the obvious risk to your own personal hygiene with a few simple steps.
Keeping Your Keyboard Clean and Germ Free
Follow these simple steps to reduce the germs in the first place:
- Whenever possible eat away from your desk and wash your hands thoroughly before and after eating and before you start using your keyboard again. The Health Protection Agency has a guide to proper hand washing to prevent the spread of germs and infection.
- Wash your hands thoroughly after you’ve been to the toilet and before you return to your desk.
- Keep anti-bacterial gel nearby and regularly apply. Just because you wash your hands properly doesn’t mean that others do and door handles are another source of potential infection.
- Regularly wipe and wash door handles, locks and light switches with antibacterial cleaner and a quality cleaning cloth
- Compressed air is an excellent way to blow dust, crumbs and other debris out from between the keys and keep your keyboard generally clean.
Cleaning Your Keyboard
Try the following technique for cleaning your keyboard and getting rid of the hundreds of germs that might already be present.
- Firstly it’s important to remember that keyboards are electronic. So unplug them before you get started and never use too much cleaning solution or you risk breaking your keyboard and costing yourself much more than you intended.
- Upend the keyboard and give it a bash on the back to remove any loose debris, crumbs and dust.
- To get the best results on a particularly dirty keyboard, get a flat head screwdriver and pop each of the keys off (taking care to remember where they came from).
- Once the keys are off, take a soft microfiber cloth or cleaning cloth and a small amount of anti-bacterial cleaning spray/solution and wipe each key individually.
- Use cotton wool buds or the corner of the cloth to get into the recesses of the keyboard and the back of the keys, but the main area to concentrate on is the key surface itself as that’s where the main germ build up will be.
- Pop the keys back on (in the right order) and wipe the surface again. Remember to turn the cleaning cloth regularly so you are always using a clean surface and not just spreading the germs around.
Once you’ve finished with your keyboard, don’t forget to clean your mouse and probably your phone as well! In fact the whole desk might be a good idea. If you follow the above tips for keeping your hands and desk clean you should be able to keep the majority of the germs at bay in future, but regular cleaning is still pretty important.