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Keyboards Are Disgusting 526

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the my-spacebar-has-spawned-sentient-beings dept.
fredr1k writes " A test carried out by Pegasus Lab on account for Swedish magazine PC För alla showed that a normal PC keyboard was infected by more bacteria than a normal toilet seat. More specific it contained 33000 bacteria per square centimeter, compared to 130 on a ordinary toilet seat. The tests also showed occurrence of up to 3100 fungi per square centimeter." Also note that unless you read Swedish, you still have plausible deniability when asked to windex yours.
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Keyboards Are Disgusting

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  • by eldavojohn (898314) * <eldavojohn.gmail@com> on Wednesday January 18, 2006 @10:19AM (#14498996) Journal
    More specific it contained 33,000 bacteria per square centimeter ...
    *licks his keyboard*

    That's funny, it doesn't taste like McDonalds ...
    • You're right, it doesn't taste like McDonald's... more like Taco Bell... I think their beef has about as much bacteria and fungi per square centimetre.
    • Anyone got any good tips for cleaning a keyboard?

      Even better, a laptop keyboard? There must be a better way than holding the whole laptop upside-down to get the crumbs out.

      __
      My Disgusting Adult Video Clips [laughdaily.com]
      • by ConceptJunkie (24823) on Wednesday January 18, 2006 @10:43AM (#14499217) Homepage Journal
        Anyone got any good tips for cleaning a keyboard?

        Air compressors are very helpful, but ultimately you have to get into the nooks and crannies with a Q-tip or something and that is a time-consuming chore. Of course on laptop keyboards, it's way to easy to knock keys loose and depending on how the little plastic apparatus disconnects from the key cap, you can have all kinds of fun attaching the thing again.

        I got one of those silicone roll-up keyboards a few years ago. I actually liked using it. Ergonomically, it worked well for me in terms of layout and feel of the keys. The downside is that it stopped working after a couple of months. I haven't tried another, but a keyboard you can simply wash with soap and water is a great thing.

        • by kiatoa (66945) on Wednesday January 18, 2006 @10:54AM (#14499325) Homepage
          Careful with the air compressor. Gentle puffs blow out dust, a blast can wedge dust, crumbs, boogers etc. deep into contacts and other places where they might do more damage than if just left alone. Just speaking from experience here :(
      • by ev0l (87708)
        Dish washer with the drying cycle turned off.

        Put your keyboard in the dish washer. Make sure the drying cycle is turned off (the heat can damage your keyboard). Allow the keyboard to dry completely.

        Workes for me.
      • by alicenextdoor (910558) on Wednesday January 18, 2006 @11:22AM (#14499619)
        That's what your immune system is for! Seriously, have you ever heard of anyone getting sick from a keyboard? There's a really scary tendancy these days to think that all bacteria are evil, and if one ever comes near you you'll die horribly. In fact, there are more baacterial cells in and on the human body than there are human ones. Everything you touch is covered in bacteria. Most of them are harmless, some are beneficial (you couldn't live without your gut flora), and a few are pathogenic, but even pathogenic ones are unlikely to exist on a keyboard in sufficient numbers to harm a healthy adult.

        Over-use of anyibacterials encourages the spread of resistance [who.int], and may even lead to conditions such as asthma [parenthood.com].

      • This is why I bought the Microsoft Self-Sterilizing Keyboard, which contains depleted uranium. Owww. My fingers feel numb. WTF?
  • toilet (Score:5, Funny)

    by genbitter (928451) on Wednesday January 18, 2006 @10:20AM (#14499002)
    so who's been wiping their ass with my keyboard?!
  • by SunPin (596554) <slashspam@@@cyberista...com> on Wednesday January 18, 2006 @10:20AM (#14499004) Homepage
    Just wait until everyone puts spittle everywhere from talking to computers.
  • by skurk (78980) * on Wednesday January 18, 2006 @10:20AM (#14499008) Homepage Journal
    Quick'n'dirty translation:

    ###

    Recent research shows your keyboard is more dirty than a toilet seat

    (2006-01-18 09:20) Do you have some dirt between the keys on your keyboard? Spending a few bucks on a new keyboard might be a good idea. The latest issue of Pc för Alla shows that a keyboard can be a major source for contamination.

    By Fredrik Agren

    A keyboard holds about 33.000 bacteria per square centimeter - 265 times more than a toilet seat.

    The computer magazine PC För Alla has examined what exactly is hiding on a keyboard. The task was assigned to Pegasus Lab, which discovered that every square centimeter contained 3.100 fungees.

    Not surprisingly, Enter and Space Bar are the most filthy, as they are the keys we use more frequently.

    There are many ways to keep your keyboard clean, but those afraid of catching the flu can follow a simple advice from Smittskyddinstitutets Kerstin Mannerquist:

    - Wash your hands when you're done with the computer, she says to PC För Alla.

    ###

    Anyway, remember the findings of Mythbusters [discovery.com]?
    In the episode Chinese Invasion Alarm [kwc.org] episode, while busting the 5 second rule myth, they discovered that the toilet seat is one of the cleanest spots in your house.
    • Anyway, remember the findings of Mythbusters?
      In the episode Chinese Invasion Alarm episode, while busting the 5 second rule myth, they discovered that the toilet seat is one of the cleanest spots in your house.


      Exactly, comparisons to a average countertop would be much more appropriate.
      Sadly a quick google doesn't reveal these numbers? Any one know?
    • This is really... (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Stachybotris (936861) on Wednesday January 18, 2006 @10:32AM (#14499120)
      not surprising. Fungal spores are nearly omni-present in the environment, and bacteria thrive on your skin at all times. Now, given that the keyboard is open to the surrounding air and has plenty of shielded space, yes, spores will accumulate there. But there's a difference between 3,100 fungal spores/sq. cm and having fungus actually growing there. Also, I have to question that number - 3,100 spores is a lot of spores.

      Did the article bother listing precisely what bacteria and fungi they found? I wouldn't be surprised if they mostly found bacterial species from the genera of Bacillus and Staphylococcus with a few gram-negative rods thrown in for good measure. Oh, Propionibacterium acnes is probably pretty common as well. With the fungi it's more of a mixed bag, although most would probably fall into the general category of Ascomycetes.

      As for catching the flu from your keyboard... Viruses such as Influenza don't survive on dry, non-porous surfaces for very long. Once the viral envelope has dried out, the virus is pretty much inactivated. You stand a better chance of catching the flu from talking to the person in the next cubicle or on the elevator.
    • Coming to think of a few people I know .. I would be more worried about Touching there R,O,P and N keys.
      Not worried about my keyboard though .. The amount of alcohol and coffee that have been spilled on it must make it fairly sterile
    • (2006-01-18 09:20) Do you have some dirt between the keys on your keyboard? Spending a few bucks on a new keyboard might be a good idea. The latest issue of Pc för Alla shows that a keyboard can be a major source for contamination.

      ... And for those of us with laptops with integral keyboards, that's possibly the best excuse for getting a MacBook Pro ever - health and safety!

      (Yes, Mr. Big Important Boss Person. My old laptop could have killed me at any time, so to preserve my health and the hygiene of t
    • by Rob the Bold (788862) on Wednesday January 18, 2006 @12:16PM (#14500127)
      A keyboard holds about 33.000 bacteria per square centimeter

      Cool. Now I can tell people I have pets.

  • by eurleif (613257) on Wednesday January 18, 2006 @10:20AM (#14499009)
  • by soboroff (91667) on Wednesday January 18, 2006 @10:21AM (#14499015)
    So that's why I always feel better after I get a new computer!
  • Now I'm reading this on slashdot for the third time. New record, perhaps? Or is someone's brain starting to grow fungus as well? :)

    Anyway, It's still damn funny. First time I read it it was like a picturebook example of what ROTFL looks like.
  • Makes sense (Score:5, Insightful)

    by wombatmobile (623057) on Wednesday January 18, 2006 @10:22AM (#14499021)

    The parts that touch the toilet seat are mostly shielded from bacteria by two layers of cloth.

    Fingers, on the other hand, frequently stray to the places where bacteria flourish.

    • Two layers?!? *scratches head*
      • > Two layers?!?

        Consider the butt cheeks. In many cultures these are often covered by an inner layer of

        1. underpants or
        2. boxer shorts

        and an outer layer of

        1. trousers or jeans
        2. skirt or dress
        3. kaftan or burka

        In addition, some people also routinely cover their butt cheeks and their upper thighs with an extra layer of

        1. panty hose or
        2. tights or stockings
        3. petticoat or slip

        In colder climates, a fourth layer of cloth is also provided by
        1. coat or
        2. blanket

        >

      • Re:Makes sense (Score:3, Informative)

        by Total_Wimp (564548)
        It took me a minute to catch on as well. He wasn't saying that the your ass is covered _while_ you're using the toilet. He meant that the ass is routinely covered during the day thus does not have much of a chance to pick up bacteria before you use the toilet. Therefore, since your ass (think cheeks, not hole) is relatively bacteria free when it touches the toilet seat, the toilet seat doesn't have much of an opportunity to pick up germs.

        I would think much of this would be negated if:

        a) people pee and mi
        • Re:Makes sense (Score:5, Informative)

          by Dun Malg (230075) on Wednesday January 18, 2006 @11:31AM (#14499714) Homepage
          a) people pee and miss b) the toilet flush mechanism is powerful enough to kick up spray onto the seat.

          Except in the unusual case of some urinary tract infections, urine does not contain any bacteria. Urine is a sterile liquid. It is antiseptic. It may not smell good, but you cannot catch anything from it.

    • by Anonymous Coward
      The parts that touch the toilet seat are mostly shielded from bacteria by two layers of cloth.

      But doesn't leaving your pants up when using the toilet seat sort of defeat the purpose going to the toilet in the first place?
    • Re:Makes sense (Score:4, Interesting)

      by Greyfox (87712) on Wednesday January 18, 2006 @11:03AM (#14499419) Homepage Journal
      You take a dump with your pants still up, son?
  • It's a hand-me-down from someone who didn't have good eating habits... Either that or he felt obligated to feed his keyboard. I'm no saint, either. I bet we could've beat the keyboards in the study. I'm hoping it works out like the old Simpsons episode, where Mr. Burns can't get sick because all the diseases are trying to get at him at the same time.
  • assistants (Score:5, Funny)

    by dlc3007 (570880) on Wednesday January 18, 2006 @10:22AM (#14499023)
    I've been carefully cultivating the bacteria on my keyboard for years! They've just started on communication. I'm hoping to have them up to written language in the next year. Then, we'll start on logic. With any luck, I should have my own civilization of microscopic coding assistants by 2011!
  • I guess it would make sense to wipe one's keyboard off, just like people wipe their toilet seats off now and then.
  • by riflemann (190895) <riflemannNO@SPAMbb.cactii.net> on Wednesday January 18, 2006 @10:24AM (#14499032)
    People often make this comparison: "XXX is dirtier than a toilet seat!"

    Very bad comparison. Toilet seats are generally disinfected quite often, so should in fact be pretty clean. Keyboards are not disinfected.

    Many things are dirtier than a toilet seat. Especially things that get fingers on them all day long. Engage brain and it all becomes quite obvious.
    • You obviously haven't used my toliet.
    • True.

      An average toiletseat is apparently more hygienic than an average kitchencounter.
      • by jc42 (318812)
        An average toiletseat is apparently more hygienic than an average kitchencounter.

        Generally. But maybe it's time to mention again the research reports [ucdavis.edu] starting in the mid 90s saying that wooden cutting boards are the most sterile surfaces.

        These studies have now been repeated by a number of labs. You can find them by googling for "cutting-board bacteria", which right now gets 88,400 hits.

        Some of the reports describe smearing a board with bacterial cultures, culturing them overnight in a warm, moist incubato
        • What I wonder is why I haven't read any comparisons between wooden cutting boards and toilet seats.
          Hey that would be cool.

          As you chop the vegetables they drop straight into the water !
          (Some of the places I've eaten, it would have been a)[slightly]quicker and b)preferable.)

  • by Travoltus (110240) on Wednesday January 18, 2006 @10:24AM (#14499036) Journal
    in the long term.

    A recent study showed that kids who lived on the farm in Germany (or some other European country) grew up with stronger immune systems than those who lived in the cities.

    That means the study suggests that they're more resistant to viruses and bacteria than the city folk.
  • ...so damn hard to clean... take every key cap off, clean it on five sides... for 104 keycaps that's a lot of work.

    But I don't know how a lot of people can use their keyboards, especially for hours a day. Whenever I'm in any office I see all these keyboards where the keys have turned various shades of brown and feel rough to the touch. Eeeew.

    • And while I've run across plenty of used keyboards that look exactly like that, *NONE* of my keyboards have developed that gunk-on-keys layer. (In fact, the most visible think resembling gunk is dust in the grooves that is easily wiped out.) I seriously wonder where it comes from.

      My older logitech mouse does sometimes develop something from finger oils, but at least it is easily rubbed off. But whatever those random second-hand keyboards have, it probably requires industrial-strength solvent to clean.
  • See:

    http://transcripts.cnn.com/TRANSCRIPTS/0507/04/acd .01.html [cnn.com]

    From June of last year...

    ttyl
              Farrell
  • Myth Busters agrees? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by RingDev (879105) on Wednesday January 18, 2006 @10:24AM (#14499049) Homepage Journal
    There was a Myth Busters episode testing the '5 second rule'. They found the same oddity, the toilet seat was the cleanest place (according to bacteria counts) in the whole shop.

    -Rick
    • Yeah - the 'five second rule'...

      "Hey, Staphy, that dude's just dropped his sandwish on the floor - I'm on it..."

      "Woah, hold on there Campy, remember the rule...hang one...ONE...TWO...THREE...FOUR...FIVE....OK...ALL TOGETHER NOW....JUMP!!!"

      Like that's realistic!
  • Bacteria Hysteria (Score:4, Interesting)

    by binaryDigit (557647) on Wednesday January 18, 2006 @10:25AM (#14499050)
    It seems to me that this just points out the way overblown hype against bacteria. Hundreds of thousands (millions?) of people use keyboards every single day, and anecdotally, it doesn't seem like people are getting infections or having other issues (other than things like carpal) at a higher rate in the computer age due to the amount of bacteria found on keyboards (and believe me, it isn't because of increased personal hygene). Now if they further extrapolate and say that while most of the current bacteria is harmless, that keyboards represent excellent carriers in the future for more harmful bacteria, well, that's a more interesting story. But then again, doesn't that just say that you should keep your kb as grundgy as possible to keep those "good" bacteria in and the "bad" bacteria out?
    • Well, actually quite a lot of people who use keyboards get sick all the time. There is a ton of evidence that when you get a cold or whatever, then you touch something, and then somebody else touches it, that that is the most common way for colds to spread. The thing is, most people probably don't touch other people's keyboards all that often. But I guess they can start a new commercial campaign about how we should always wash our hands before and after using the computer...
    • by phorm (591458)
      I work in a school systems. Toilets get cleaned regularly, but children with all sort of nasty germs tend to pick their noses, touch their various bits-and-pieces, and then tappity-tap-tap away at the keyboard.

      Least to say, my laptop bag contains a portable container of antiseptic, and it's used regularly through the day. I've heard various stories of staph infections and others picked up from handling germy computer equipment. Employees of school districts and hospitals tend to get a decent amount of sic
  • Starting a new job, when they bring you to your cubicle and lo and behold, the machine you are to use is the usual drab beige color but the keyboard is brownish and stained on all the critical buttons. Always bring a package of anti-bacterial wipes with you on the first day and keep them in your desk.

    As an aside, I remember back in college, we had the old VT100 terminals with the clear plastic membranes over the keyboard. I always peeled it off and used the keys, figuring I didn't want to catch anything f

  • by ptr2004 (695756) on Wednesday January 18, 2006 @10:25AM (#14499052)
    I use my laptop on my toilet. What does this mean for me ?
  • You know, despite opinion to the contrary, modern toilets are probably one of the cleanest surfaces in the average house.

    Though used daily, surfaces are usually cleaned regularly by flushing, and potentially by individual users. Powerful disinfectants are also standard far in nearly every bathroom, whereas less toxic, but weaker disinfectants may be used in the kitchen and elsewhere.

    To those disgusted by the potential health hazard present on their toilet seat's, my advice is do not google dust mites befor
  • by beforewisdom (729725) on Wednesday January 18, 2006 @10:27AM (#14499073)
    Maybe bacteria laden keyboards are a blessing in disguise.

    A few weeks ago I was at a party listening in on some cocktail talk between some doctors and health researchers. They were commenting about how some water borne bacteria was being (they think successfully ) experimented with to boost human immunity. This bacteria is cleaned out water by public sanitation systems.

    A few weeks before that my local news had a piece about a girl with a peanut allergy who died after kissing her boyfriend who had eaten a peanut butter sandwich earlier in the day.

    The after story commentary mentioned how the number of allergies among teens is on the rise and how some ( only some ) experts were looking at the theory that middle class US life is too clean. Antibacterial this and antibacterial that do not allow young immune systems to get stimulated/strengthened.

    I'm not an expert and these things are saw are not hard science.

    Just introducing a thought, that as with everything else in life you can have too much of a good thing....even cleanliness.
    • by NFNNMIDATA (449069) on Wednesday January 18, 2006 @10:41AM (#14499197) Journal
      obligatory George Carlin:

      "in my neighborhood no one ever got polio, no one, ever. you know why? cause we swam in the east river. we swam in raw sewage! it strengthened our immune systems, the polio never had a prayer, we were tempered in raw shit."
      • by Rude Turnip (49495) <valuation@[ ]il.com ['gma' in gap]> on Wednesday January 18, 2006 @11:01AM (#14499398)
        Not only that, but it turns out that when little kids eat their boogers, it helps to strengthen their immune systems. They're effectively giving themselves small-dose vaccinations every time they do it. Heh, no wonder I hardly ever missed a day of school as a child :)
        • by WidescreenFreak (830043) on Wednesday January 18, 2006 @11:43AM (#14499817) Homepage Journal
          Actually, what you state has some scientific backing.

          I heard it on the news last year that some German (?) scientist recommended eating nose mucous. As he stated, the nose is the only organ of the body that for the most part does not have a self-cleaning mechanism. The purpose of the mucous is believed to be (among other things) the entrapment of bacteria and other undesirables that would otherwise have entered the body.

          By picking, we provide the nasal passages with a method of cleaning to provide new mucous and by -- ugh -- eating we introduce the bacteria into our systems that were otherwise trapped, thus allowing our immune systems to learn about it and, more importantly, learn to defeat it.

          I actually discussed this a few days later with a friend of mine who's an Emergency Medical Technician and was a medic in the Army Reserves. After hearing the doctor's explanation, he agreed that it all makes sense. The immune system can't practice its self-defense if it doesn't have any targets to destroy.

          Personally, I'll take my chances with the keyboard instead. :)
  • Germs vs Risk (Score:5, Interesting)

    by gvc (167165) on Wednesday January 18, 2006 @10:27AM (#14499077)
    There should be enough epidemiologic data that we don't have to rely on bogus measures like "number of germs" to try to estimate the risk of catching something from a keyboard. I suspect it is minimal.

    I have a bottle of cleaning fluid that that purports to kill 99.something% of bacteria. Does that make me safer? Probably not; instead I'm helping the natural selection process to breed super-bugs that are resistant to antiseptic.

    The specious "germ" argument is exactly the same as the one used to compute risk of intrusion by the number of reported exposures in a software system. What matters is infection/intrusion, not exposure. And it *can* be measured, so why bother to measure the bogus quantities?
    • How can it be measured when you don't know the actual species of bacteria? The bacterial count would be related to the probability of illness, since it increases the overall probability that, over time, some of the bacteria will be dangerous.
    • Re:Germs vs Risk (Score:3, Interesting)

      by smooth wombat (796938)
      Use two cups of plain water with a cap of bleach in it to clean your keyboard. No known bug can survive bleach, even at that low level. Ice cream shops generally do this for the water they use for their scoops.

      Bleach is the ultimate bug killer. It can even kill the virus which causes AIDS (though the side effects to the patient aren't good).
      • Re:Germs vs Risk (Score:3, Interesting)

        by pclminion (145572)
        Use two cups of plain water with a cap of bleach in it to clean your keyboard. No known bug can survive bleach, even at that low level. Ice cream shops generally do this for the water they use for their scoops.

        I very much doubt that they are using bleach. Most states mandate a licensed sanitizing agent for food uses. Bleach does not fall in that category, although it is a useful sanitizer, because it is slow-acting -- it can take up to 20 minutes to have a full sanitizing effect. A quick dip in bleach is

  • I cleaned my (work) keyboard a couple of weeks ago. I got a baby-wipe tissue and ran it over the keys. It was still incredibly dirty.

    Step two. Get another tissue, scrub away at those keys for all I'm worth, including the gaps between them. Result? Keycaps more or less fine, keyboard as a whole still filthy - I could see stuff at the bottom of the keys.

    Step three - the whole hog. To the astonishment of everyone around me at work, I got a screwdriver, unscrewed the keyboard and dissassembled it. More baby

    • Sure, keyboards are dirty.
      Now, we don't want to go nuts and spray lysol all over it because you're just giving the more hardy bacteria hiding under the keycaps a chance to take over and make your incessant spraying worthless.

      Instead, you should put it in the dishwasher. The heat will kill everything uniformly and it will come out clean and unstickified.

      1) Disassemble your keyboard. This means unscrewing the back. Be careful when seperating the front and back halves to not have keys fly all over the place or
  • After all, I'd prefer to get into contact with a million normal bacteria than with a few thousand plague bacteria.
    No, I'm not claiming there are plague bacteria on the toilet seat :-)
  • IIRC, they actually did do a test to find fecal coliforms in the house and one of the places where there were less microbes was exactly on the toilet seat. They even found some in the kitchen, even tough it was far away.
  • Who cares? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by TomorrowPlusX (571956) on Wednesday January 18, 2006 @10:34AM (#14499135)
    As far as I'm concerned, the *world* is filthy, and millions of years of evolution have allowed us to live healthily ( mostly ) in it. It's part of being alive. And the more we're exposed, the stronger we are for it.

    I'm not surprised that keyboards are filthy, but frankly, when I was a kid wandering around in creeks hunting crawfish, climbing trees, etc etc I never got sick, and I (almost) never get sick as an adult.

    We *need* this exposure. I'm worried for children growing up in sterilized environments today.
  • UK News [lse.co.uk] did a story on this last year.

    After reading it, I just shook out my keyboard over a garbage can. I think that took care of all the germs ;)
  • A keyboard is a real bacteria core. On the keys there are 33 000 bacteria per cm^2 - 265 times more than on a toilet seat.

    It is the computer paper PC för Alla which has had examined what really hides in our keyboards. The labratory Pegasus Lab got the assignment todo the study, which also showed that every cm^2 contained 3100 fungis.

    Not unexpectedly is the return and space keys the dirties, the keys we use most often.

    There are plenty of ways to keep the keyboard clean, but for the one afraid of catchi
  • Uh,compare the frequency of keyboard to toilet cleanings. Add disenfectent to toilet cleanings. The compare the frequency of someone looking at porn on a computer and the duration (and side activity) to the frequency and duration and side activity (reading) on the toilet.

    Sounds like a recipe for 33000 bacteria / sq cm to me!

  • think how terribly disgusting cheese is. That stuff is MADE OF bacteria. And sometimes purposedly covered with fungi.
  • That's a little unfair of a comparison. A toilet seat is actually one of the cleanest places in the average house, in regards to bacteria. It gets cleaned regularly and it's only in use for a very small amount of time each day. So it doesn't surprise me in the least bit that keyboards have more bacteria per square inch than a toilet seat.
  • Old news, and it should be noted that this magazine is of the type that loves to hype Microsoft products and have articles like "Become a computer pro - master the hidden features of Word!"

    A more Linux/open source friendly publication, which also doesn't dumb it down quite as much (though they have fallen in quality the last couple of years) is Datormagazin [datormagazin.se].
  • Seriously, I put mine in the dish washer every couple months and have a backup to use while I give it plenty of time to dry out.

    It works, although the numbers and letters fade after about 3 times. But then again, I'm not a peeker anyway.

    Haven't tried it with a mouse yet.
  • I had a friend/coworker that sat in the cubicle next to me for about three years. She was also a hypochondriac, even to the point where she slipped and fell on the stairs one day at work because she always refused to hold the railings.

    I always came in half an hour before her. Occasionally, when she got in, I would say to her, "I sneezed on your phone this morning," or "I licked your keyboard when I came in."

    Good times, good times.
  • I work in a level 2 lab here, and sometimes I bring in my Powerbook for taking down notes during a long day of experiments. While it's not necessary to have it sterile (as it stays out on a desk away from the sterile areas), I do clean it superficially with antiseptic to minimise risks of infecting my cells.

    A spray bottle with 70% or 90% alcohol and a bit of tissue paper will kill most germs, and also do a lovely job of removing oils and grime. And if you turn your computer off before starting, there should
  • My keyboard may be dirty, yet---- I rarely get sick.

    I'm a nerd. I sit here all day. Other than the 'yuck' factor, what's the problem? We live in a bacteria infested world, they outnumber us millions to one.

    For those who _insist_ on a clean keyboard, stop fussing around with your damn "pry the keys off the keyboard". Either buy a plastic membrane that you can soak in disinfectant, or get a keyboard you can soak.

    Like this one: http://www.grandtec.com/vik.htm [grandtec.com]

    It's $40.00. I can't stand people whinning. Either s
  • by redelm (54142) on Wednesday January 18, 2006 @11:01AM (#14499397) Homepage
    If you like crappy kbds, replacements are easy. I'm partial to IBM model "M" from the 1980s -- 1989 was a very good year :) So I clean mine when the mood strikes me. Tape between the keys to extract hair, spray foam cleaner and soak upside down for keytops/sides. Some people say they can go into the dishwasher top rack. I'd be worried about water drainage

    Otherwise, I don't worry: These are _my_ germs, mostly things on my hands that I've already built up an immunity to or have no way of avoiding even if my kbd was sterile. I won't let others use my kbd, and I really try to avoid using others kbds. A much bigger problem is money and door handles. Lots of people touch them and I could get some new virus/bacterium.

    BTW: toilet set tops are often very clean. But less so the undersides where women want men to put their fingers to raise and lower toilet seats! Default=up might be more sanitary.

  • by sammy baby (14909) on Wednesday January 18, 2006 @11:02AM (#14499405) Journal
    In my last job, I put in about a year as an intern, then worked for an additional eight years at the same place. By my last year there, I was sysadmin, web guy, dba, and first line tech support dude. Usually, I'd wind up dispatching an intern to deal with tech support calls whenever possible.

    One call had me responding to a guy whose keyboard was, bar none, the most disgusting I've ever seen. He had left for the day, and I picked up the keyboard because he'd left a USB device plugged into it. Something like a metric ton of dander, hair, and bread/cracker/cookie crumbs fell out of it.

    A few weeks later, the building administrator (read: not my boss) sent me a note explaining to me why I needed (read: ordering me) to go to everyone's keyboard, blow out the keys with compressed air, wipe them down, check every key for motility, and wipe down the monitors. After a brief consultation with my boss, I replied that I trusted our employees to be able to handle those maintenance tasks themselves, although I'd be happy to help if there was a specific problem.

    All this is by way of saying: some people just don't think about it, and some people just want it to be someone else's problem. But it's your mess, so clean it up, for chrissake.
  • Duh. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by danpsmith (922127) on Wednesday January 18, 2006 @11:31AM (#14499707)
    a normal PC keyboard was infected by more bacteria than a normal toilet seat.

    Why are people surprised by findings such as this one?

    Obviously the toilet seat has less germs. Everyone associates "grossness" with germs in their head. Going to the bathroom is gross, and fecal matter is gross, therefore it must be full of germs and bacteria. Not the case, in fact, quite the opposite.

    There are more bacteria on your face, more bacteria on your hands and more bacteria in your mouth than your buttocks in most cases.

    Just put in the context of contact with the germ filled world you can see by common sense why this would be true:

    Your rear end gets washed and then has very little exposure to germs. Your hands and face are out there all day making contact with all types of bacteria.

    So I guess my point is that you can't say keyboards are dirty just because they are more bacteria filled than a toilet seat, because I don't even think a door knob holds up to that standard.

    Now common sense would also side with keyboards being rather bacteria filled, but I hardly would consider that comparison to be an indicator.

  • Dishwasher! (Score:3, Informative)

    by Benanov (583592) <brian,kemp&member,fsf,org> on Wednesday January 18, 2006 @12:01PM (#14499977) Journal
    There's always a way to clean your keyboard--the dishwasher.

    Take the electronics and screws out and set them aside. The keys, the base, and the rubber pad are dishwasher washable.

    Use 1/4 to 1/3 of the amount of liquid/power for a full load, and put it on the shortest cycle you can manage and even then keep accelerating the cycle a bit. You want the keyboard clean but not baked.

    Don't put anything ELSE in the dishwasher--you're shortening the cycle so you won't have the power to wash too much. The plastic may be dishwasher safe (seems to be) but you don't want to take any chances with the rubber.

    If you have a white or ivory keyboard, note that it may yellow a bit, so don't do this on a keyboard you don't own unless the person fully trusts you.

    Note: This doesn't work with IBM Model M keyboards (the clicky clicky clack kind) for obvious reasons, but you could probably take the keycovers off and wash those. ;)

    I'm not responsible if you damage your keyboard.

You know that feeling when you're leaning back on a stool and it starts to tip over? Well, that's how I feel all the time. -- Steven Wright

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