Avoid Swine Flu – Clean Your Keyboard / Mouse
*NOTE* There are some that think Swine Flu comes from contact with pigs. The virus – H1N1 – has nothing to do with animals. It is a form of influenza that is circulating. Other variants in the past: Russian Flu (H2N2) Spanish Flu and bird Flu (H5N1).
It’s a fact – you have more germs on your computer keyboard and mouse than on your household toilet. We’re talking thousands of germs as oppose to only a few from a toilet. So when it comes to Swine Flu, do we have to worry about cleaning these items?
It is spring cleaning for me anyway – I reorganize and take care of items that I don’t normally touch on a weekly basis. Of course, with planning on moving, that also adds to the fun.
I keep my keyboard pretty clean. A can of air to blast out any dust, food or other items that get in between the keys. A handi-wipe to take care of the surface of the items – especially when I see dirt buildup on the devices.
Of course, the scare of swine flu made everyone raise a brow. While most don’t rush out buying disinfectant products, we are watching the news and discussing the issue a lot more. It is the issue of the moment.
So going back to your computer – how far do you go to clean these germs?
You can get a washable keyboard. There are some companies out there that have keyboards that do allow you to throw in the dishwasher. Some people have documented using the dishwasher for other keyboards, too.
If you decide to do this, here is some tips:
**By the way – DON’T PUT A LAPTOP IN THE DISHWASHER. Just thought I would mention that. **
1. Use the lightest cycle and the shortest time. You don’t want all the keys to fall off. Especially if your washer is a high pressure machine that works at 140 degrees Fahrenheit. Melted keys don’t work that great.
2. Soap – It is recommended not to use any. If you use it, do so very sparsely (only a drop). Residue might get in-between and you could come out with a working keyboard, but within time that residue can come back into play.
3. TURN OFF THE HEAT – don’t heat dry the keyboard. Otherwise you may get a Salvator Dali – type device.
4. Clean out your traps – if you have food in the filters, that might just get loose and fly into the keyboard. Speaking of which:
5. If you washer leaves a film on your glasses, don’t wash the keyboard. eHow shows how you can clean out a dishwasher with Bleach and Vinegar.
6. Hard water might also be an issue. If you have hard water, you might want to not wash the keyboard in it.
7. When the cycle is done – leave it unplugged and in a dry, warm and open area for 24 – 48 hours. All condensation should have dried out. If you need to dry it out faster, put it under an air conditioner. AC’s push out dry air as opposed to heat – which can make more condensation.
If you don’t want to do the dishwasher approach or if you have a laptop then here is what I do.
**If you have a laptop, you should first turn off the computer and disconnect the battery. **
1. Can of air under the keys – small bursts so you don’t get blasts of frozen cold liquid. That can really dislodge the junk underneath. Make sure you tip over the keyboard and shake out any extra particles.
2. Disinfectant wipe for the keys. I have even gotten those Swabs to get in-between the keys. *NOTE – Rubbing Alcohol could take the print off the keys.*
3. Soft bristled toothbrush lightly on heavy gunk – keys.
If you have a shared keyboard, then you might want to think about a keyboard cover. These are disposable plastic covers that allow you to type and keeps the keyboard clean. If it gets dirty, you can wash it, or just throw it away and get a new one.
Monitors and touchable monitors – eHow gives you some instruction on how to clean one
. One thing I will add is to use a very light cleaner. Stronger chemical cleaners can cause adverse effects, like the screen not working anymore. Water is your best bet.
Cleaning or replacing the keyboard and mouse can help – not only with avoiding Swine Flu, but also with avoiding other virus issues. Of course you cannot replace the keyboard every month, but if your keyboard is more than 3 years old, maybe it’s time to make a switch.
We have been aware that germs have been out living on household items – even before this outbreak. Cleaning your work area is always important – for you and others. Knowing how to clean is just as important as cleaning itself.
With this information at hand – Will you be cleaning your keyboard?