You have probably seen the headline before, "Study shows your keyboard has more germs than your toilet seat." Shocking, right? With Coronavirus heavily featured in the news today, we are all looking for ways to remove germs from our lives beyond just washing our hands. I bet you're looking at your keyboard right now and taking note of how grimy it is. If you think about it, you probably touch it as much as you do your phone. What good is it to wash your hands in the public restroom and use the paper towel to open the door if you come right back to your desk and start typing on your dirty keyboard? You immediately reclaim all of the germs from every doorknob, coffee pot, and copy machine you touched along the way. Then you might check the messages on your phone and bring all of those germs straight to your face when your friend calls. Do you eat at your desk too? If so, all of those germs go from your keyboard to your bag of chips and into your mouth. Yummy! But it's a fair trade for the keyboard, as it gets all of your delicious crumbs.
You may not realize it, but IT jobs, which include regularly working on other people's computers, consistently make top ten lists of dirtiest jobs. Sorry, Mike Rowe. If you're in IT or a CAD-Manager, you already know this. Having to use someone else's keyboard is a lot like using their toothbrush. And moving from one person's computer to another in succession while installing AutoCAD or the latest updates is one of the quickest ways to pick up and spread germs.
What can you do?
Wash your hands. Of course, this is the most obvious. After I use your keyboard, it's the first thing that I do. Don't forget the soap!
Clean your keyboard. How? First, flip it over and give it a good tap to clear out all of the crumbs and dust. You can also help facilitate this with a can of compressed air. Next, clean the surface of the keyboard with a lightly dampened cloth using your favorite anti-bacterial cleaner. Yes, the blue glass stuff works fine too. Alcohol pads and wet wipes are also great for this. You can also lightly spray it with a can of disinfectant.
Clean your mouse. Oh yeah, you hang on to that thing all day, don't you? Give it a good disinfecting wipe as well.
Not everyone is a chronic hand washer -- and that is fine. But keeping a bottle of anti-bacterial hand gel at your desk and maintaining a clean keyboard and workspace will go a long way towards staying healthy and preventing the spread of common workplace germs to others. Now start cleaning that keyboard. I guarantee you'll feel better after you do.