Your computer’s keyboard is bound to get dirty at some point. Whether it’s a sticky key from the juice you spilled, food crumbs that didn’t make it to your mouth or your keys are extra shiny from the oils on your fingers, you should be cleaning it often. Not only does cleaning make it physically more appealing, but it can help remove bacteria and germs that have found their way onto the surface. Best yet, it can help keep crud from working its way underneath a key and making it stick or stop working as intended.
You may have a keyboard with keys that are low, a flush keyboard attached to your laptop or a keyboard with bouncy keys that rise from the surface. Whatever the case, the methods below will help you disinfect and clean up the keys and surrounding surfaces. In a perfect world, to further prevent your keyboard from becoming gross, it’s best to wash your hands before and after using it. However, we understand you may be at your computer for eight hours a day (and probably snacking) so this may not be as practical.
Before you get started, make sure your laptop or keyboard is unplugged from the power cord and completely powered off to avoid damaging any electrical components. It also helps keep you from accidentally deleting something important on your computer as you clean the individual keys. Here’s how to get your laptop clean and bacteria-free.
- Blow out the gunk with compressed air
- Carefully use a disinfectant wipe or rubbing alcohol
- Pop the keys off, if possible
- Vacuum up anything you’ve missed
Be weary of doing the following:
- Never spray liquid onto your keyboard — it can cause water damage.
- Don’t submerge your keyboard in water (unless specifically made for surgical centers and other uses).
- Don’t yank the keys off the keyboard — it could crack, break or otherwise damage them.
- Don’t use any cleaning products that contain bleach.
SkyPort IT recommends that companies purchase users their own keyboard/mouse (BYOKBM) and mice that they maintain and clean, especially in a shared computer environment (shift work).
For shared computers within the same shifts (nurse stations), we recommend keyboards with membrane covers for easy cleaning and hand sanitizer nearby. We recommend washable keyboards (often used in surgery areas) that can actually go in a dish washer.