Found this great & informative read from HP site.
We all know about the viruses and bugs that lurk inside our computers… but what about the pests living ON them? As people spend more and more time in front of their PCs, and as electronic devices are increasingly carried from place to place, it stands to reason that they’re going to get pretty dirty.
The main cause of dirty keyboards is employees who don’t wash their hands after using the toilet, and eating at the desk. The food crumbs left behind encourage the growth of millions of bacteria. Even simple dust can contribute to the problem, since dust traps moisture and creates an environment suitable for bacteria growth.
How much bacteria are we talking about? The British magazine Which? Computing asked a microbiologist to come to their offices and conduct swab tests of their keyboards. As it turned out, the keyboards were dirtier than the office toilet seat – and one of the keyboards was actually five times as dirty as the toilet seat. In fact, the keyboards were so bacteria-laden that they could cause symptoms of food poisoning and other illnesses.
We’re not trying to put you off your lunch – which we hope you aren’t eating at your desk, by the way – but it is important to realise just how many germs you could be exposing yourself to and how to protect yourself.
Here are some tips for keeping your PC from making you sick.
Be vigilant about handwashing
Always wash hands when returning from the bathroom, and several other times throughout the day too – especially if someone in the office is ill. According to microbiologist Dr Charles Gerba of the University of Arizona, "When someone is infected with a cold or flu bug the surfaces they touch during the day become germ transfer points because some cold and flu viruses can survive on surfaces for up to 72 hours.”
Don’t eat at your desk
Keep those sandwich crumbs out of your keyboard! Use lunchtime as an opportunity to get away from your PC for a while, and take your lunches out of the office or in a designated break room.
Use antibacterial wipes to clean your entire desk and telephone area
According to Dr Gerba’s research, a desk is capable of supporting 10 million microbes and the average office contains 20,961 microbes per square inch, while the average toilet seat contains 49 microbes per square inch. You can reduce 99 percent of the nasty things growing in your working area by regularly wiping everything down with disinfectant alcohol wipes. Clean the whole desk, the phone, and anything else you touch regularly.
Regularly clean your keyboard, mouse and monitor screen
Here’s the process you should follow when giving your PC or notebook a cleaning (which you should be doing weekly, if possible). Before you get started, be sure to turn the computer off and unplug the keyboard if you’re using a PC.
Keyboard: first, turn the keyboard upside down and gently knock the crumbs out of it. Then set it upright again and use a compressed air can, a small vacuum or small paint brush to sweep out any remaining debris. Finish by wiping with an alcohol wipe to remove bacteria. But don’t use any harsh cleaning agents, as they can remove the paint from the keys.
Monitor: whether you have a glass or LCD screen, use a lightly dampened cloth to remove dust. You can also use pre-moistened monitor wipes, available at any computer store, but don’t use any commercial glass cleaning products as these can damage the screen.
Mouse: again, take out your alcohol wipes and clean the entire surface of the mouse. You can use a damp cotton-tipped swab to clean around the ball or the optical sensor.
With just a bit of vigilance and proper PC hygiene, you can help prevent your computer from becoming a breeding ground for bacteria – and stay healthier at work!