If You Only Knew What Was Living On Your Gadgets...

If You Only Knew What Was Living On Your Gadgets...

Gregory Han
Jan 5, 2011

Take a moment and look at your fingers. Now look at your mouse and keyboard, your cell phone, your remote control, your digital camera and just about any handheld device you handle regularly. Now consider this: according to microbiologist Charles Gerba (aka Dr. Germ), on average a toilet seat harbors less bacteria than your computer keyboard. Your keyboard might have a germ occupancy rate 60x greater than your toilet seat! Sobering thought, huh? But cleaning your gear isn't really all that difficult and there are plenty of ways, some high-tech, others quite old fashioned, that will get your tech devices spic 'n span, not only leaving them a lot nicer looking, but likely reducing your chances of catching the achoos…

University of Arizona microbiologist Charles Gerba's obsession with all things microbial has earned him the nickname Dr. Germ, and when he isn't measuring how many fecal bacteria reside on your kitchen cutting board (FYI: 200x more than your toilet seat; your keyboard seems pristine now in comparison), he has researched and listed the following as the most germ-ridden items common to a home office: phone handsets (cell phones too), desk surface, computer keyboards and the computer mouse.

We've gotten into the habit of just dabbing a little hand sanitizer or rubbing alcohol onto a paper towel and wiping down our keyboard (we recommend you pop out the batteries beforehand, unless you want to IM your friends a bunch of gibberish), mouse and the top of our desk every other day or so, sometimes more, since we're in the bad habit of eating from our desk. Keep a small travel sized bottle of hand sanitizer and paper towels or a reusable soft cloth in your drawers for easy maintenance and make sure you do it any time you've touched door nobs, have had guests use your computer, or when you've eaten around your desk [pausing]. I actually took a break while typing this post to wipe down my own setup, the thought of a bacterial Cancun Spring Break on my keyboard and the photo above enough of a motivator to give it a quick cleaning, it not just for peace of mind.

Just remember not to apply alcohol or disinfectant onto the screens of your device; we like and recommend iKlear for our monitors and screen devices without worry about ruining displays. And of course, preventive and regular cleaning habits around the desk can keep that germ count down inbetween cleanings.

Worst comes to worst, pop that keyboard into the dishwasher (though we'd be hesitant to do so, despite the a-ok).

Here are several other options to keep your space tech clean:

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