Essential tips to keep your keyboard clean.
Your family computer’s keyboard is used by many different people. Sticky fingers, spilled drinks… It´s not hard to see the need to keep keyboards clean.
Keyboards also act as safe havens for all sorts of household germs. Even if you avoid the dirt you can see, there’ll still be the issue of the bacteria you can’t. In fact, one study has that revealed “out of 33 keyboards swabbed, four were regarded as a potential health hazard and one harboured five times more germs than one of the office’s toilet seats.” (source: BBC News)
As a vital part of the computer, it’s very important that you allow your keyboard to live a long life through care and frequent cleaning. But this is an electrical device – you can’t simply wipe it down with a wet cloth. The dirt that reaches your keyboard can get into tiny gaps and spaces, which you don’t even know exist, so you need to take care to clean it safely and thoroughly.
Of course, it isn’t just your keyboard’s lifespan that is important when considering the bacteria on this gadget. Computer users, as a general rule, do not automatically go to wash their hands every time they use the keyboard, as they would when using the toilet. All it takes is to type something and then touch your face and you’ll have transferred bacteria straight onto your own body, which can they enter your system through your eyes or mouth. Taking into consideration a study which “found two or more microorganisms on all of the computer keyboards” (source: WebMD), it becomes clear that this is something to avoid.
Keeping your keyboard clean doesn’t need to be difficult or daunting. With the following tips, you can get and keep it clean.
Get your cleaning supplies.
There’s a great range of gadget-related cleaning supplies out there. We recommend trying a variety until you find the one that works best for you and your device.
The main supplies you’ll come across will be:
- Cloths. Dishcloths, dusters, cotton swabs, specially-designed device-cleaning cloths. So long as it’s completely clean (you don’t want to end up putting more dust on than you take off), any cloth will do.
- Compressed air. It’s clean, effective and doesn’t involve exposing your device to any potentially damaging liquids. Compressed air is your new best friend when it comes to keyboard maintenance.
- Wipes. Alcohol wipes and other sanitary wipes are a godsend when it comes to quick cleans. There are also a number of companies that produce disinfectant wipes designed specifically for electronics.
- Cleaners. There are plenty of disinfectants on the market which will do the job here, but even just water with some washing-up liquid will work. Just remember not to let ANY liquid soak into any of the crevices in your keyboard.
Clean your keyboard effectively and systematically.
Like washing your hands, the best way to clean your keyboard is to do it carefully and systematically. This means you won’t forget to clean a certain part of the device, and reduces the number of mistakes you’re likely to make while doing this. Follow eight simple steps:
- Power: Turn your computer off.
- Connection: If possible, disconnect the keyboard from your device.
- Shake: Turn your keyboard upside-down and give it a gentle shake.
- Air: Blow dirt and dust from between the keys using compressed air. Shake again.
- Wet: Apply a small amount of cleaner to a damp cloth. Make sure the cloth is only slightly damp, though!
- Clean: Clean the keys very gently with the cloth, taking care not to remove their labels.
- Wipe: Use disinfectant wipes to kill any remaining bacteria on your keyboard.
- Dry: Make sure your keyboard is completely dry before using it again
Be *extremely* careful.
Keyboards are electrical devices, and need to be treated with great care.
- NEVER submerge your keyboard under water.
- If compressed air isn’t working, try using a vacuum cleaner rather than intrusive tools.
- Some keyboards come with removable keys, but not all. Read the instructions that came with your device before trying to remove keys.
- If you own a dishwasher, consider investing in a dishwasher-safe keyboard.
- If sticky liquids and spillages refuse to come out of your keyboard, consider buying a new one rather than risking damaging your devices or your person.
- When using damp cloths, ALWAYS make sure you wring them out as much as possible.
Cover that keyboard.
When your children are simply watching things on the computer and do not need constant access to the keyboard, it can be helpful to cover the keyboard while it’s not in use. There is a wide variety of products on the market that have been specially designed to block your keyboard while not in use.
If your kids do need to use the keyboard to do their work, but can’t be trusted not to get sticky fingers all over the keys, try using a silicone cover. A thin layer over the keyboard will allow your children to see which keys they’re hitting without risking getting crumbs and dirt all over the device!
Make the rules.
The simplest and most obvious way of protecting your computer from sticky fingers and spilled drinks is to enforce rules and not allow these objects anywhere near. Make it clear to your children that they are not to eat or drink near the computer, or use any devices without washing their hands first.
Remember the importance of leading by example: If you don’t eat or drink by the computer, your children will be less tempted to break the rules.
Have you uncovered any surprising ways of keeping your keyboards clean? Get in touch and tell us all about it!