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[ZDNET]Dirty little secrets of the keyboard revealed

4033 Views 56 Replies 48 Participants Last post by  gonX

Next time you are eating at your desk, try not to think of multitude of germs lurking on your keyboard â€" along with some other unpleasant debris.
Nail clippings, chips, pastry crumbs, chewing gum and beard hair are some of the disagreeable detritus that accumulates inside the average office keyboard, according to Claire Burke, director of Keep IT Clean, an IT hardware cleaning company with clients including hotels and the NHS.

Burke told silicon.com, that IT chiefs call her company in so tech staff don't have to negotiate a minefield of grime when they are called on to fix a broken PC.

"If you get IT having to work on other people's computers, it's not fair if you have to scrape something off the keyboard," she said.

Last year researchers for Which Computing tested more than 30 keyboards from a typical London office and found some harbored levels of bacteria that could put their user at high risk of becoming ill. In one case a microbiologist suggested the removal of a keyboard as it had 150 times the recommended limit of bacteria â€" five times filthier than a toilet seat that was swabbed in the same test.

The main cause of a bug-infested keyboard is users eating lunch at their desk, as the crumbs encourage the growth of millions of bacteria.

And with IT equipment shared with colleagues in call centres or 'hot desk' environments the problem isn't just one for the IT helpdesk workers, either.

The credit crunch is also having an impact on attitudes towards cleaning and replacing kit, Burke said: "The attitude is they would throw the keyboard away and get a new one but you can't do that now."

So what are the least pleasant things that Burke's team has come across?

"Smelly laptops," she said. "When people spend so much on IT equipment why do they let it get so bad?"

"You can always tell if they eat salt and vinegar chips because you can smell it," she added.

Burke's other least favorites include the scum on the bottom of the mouse, the fluff in the keyboard "that comes from nowhere" and the various crumbs that IT equipment attracts, as well as grime wiped on the side of keyboards by users.

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I love this at work (military), when I go to a desk and the keys are sticking, I turn the keyboard upside down and bang on it, and there is more crap in the keyboard then you can think of.
I've taken my keyboard apart a few times (a week ago recently) and cleaned the ever loving stupidity out of it. Every time... DAMN. I regularly wipe down the surface of it with some bleach (once every other week) to get it clean.
Oh no germs. I'll put my food all over keyboard and eat it off that and still wouldn't care.
Yes, because I definitely just spill the stuff all over my keyboard.

It's called don't shave your beard/clip your nails/eat stuff over your keyboard.
what's the use of our immune system anyway. i'm sure they'll be able to handle such mild stuff. unless you place your food ontop of the keyboard, next to a roach. but you can still survive from that anyway
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I'm not saying that stuff never gets in my keyboard, but generally I'd have to try.

My sidewinder has a built in wrist rest and whatever plate/bowl I am using usually is no closer than that, so I would have to fling crap like 4-5 inches in the direction opposite of my mouth from the food to get it into the keyboard. Who is that messy? Like freaking cookie monster or something?
We need wireless keyboards powered by the things that fall into them.
Office keyboards are cheap. Just buy new ones.
Pfft, I eat my keyboard for breakfast, that's how I get my nutrients.
LOL, this reminds me of a guy's computer I worked on that was infested with roaches. Not only that, but it smelt like cats and 100 cigarettes burned at the same time. And yes, it did have cat hair in the fans because they have over ten cats. Too bad I couldn't use that old joke, "Your computer has a bug."

I guess giving the human body an army of WBC's to fight them was for no reason, eh?

I demand the right to use my immune system!
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I've had this keyboard for over 5 years. and yes I took it apart for almost a month ago and what do you know it's still CLEAN.

This bullock talking is so bad it's almost as dated as the "you'll get square eye if you watch to much TV".
The dirt transfers onto your fingers tips, and then you begin to touch... anything else.
Lol my reason for replacing my G15 will be because its become a biological health hazard
Lol, at least I know, i will have a job as an immunologist when i finish uni.

I'll be studying the immune system of OCN users and the effects of the germs from the use of keyboards haha.
now i m gonna have to wash my hands after using a keyboard
Not surprised. Keyboards are one of the filthiest places at home and in the office. Bathrooms are cleaned and maintained everyday of the hour, but keyboards rarely get any cleaning action.

Sweaty fingers causes crud build up on my WASD keys and mouse overtime as with any controller I use.

Tasty huh?

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