Your keyboard has more bacteria than a toilet seat
A keyboard — whether on a laptop or desktop — is full of bacteria. Some researchers have found your keyboard has more bacteria than a toilet seat! Basically, anything your hands touch is going to have a lot of bacteria, since our hands transfer bacteria from other surfaces, including those we share with others. According to one article, “University of Arizona researchers also found that the average desktop has 400 times more bacteria than the average toilet seat.” Woah! That’s why it’s important to clean your computer. And not just the keyboard — the whole thing.
It’s not just your keyboard
When you carry your laptop, you’re getting your hands all over the back, bottom, and other areas. You can sometimes see a little grease from your hands on the lower part of the lid. Even if you wash your hands thoroughly and regularly — as you should — there’s always going to be bacteria on your computer.
Even your screen can get dirty! Many people like to snack at their computers. Ever had potato chips near your laptop and found some crumbs on your keyboard? Even worse, when we talk facing our computer screens, over time you’ll notice little specks of saliva on the screen. Pretty gross.
It’s about dust, too. The world is a dusty place, and computers are especially vulnerable to dust buildup because it can clog fans and vents, shortening its lifespan. Dust can get into your keyboard, fans, vents, and on your screen. Keeping it clean reduces heat, noise, and gives you a clearer picture if your screen is dusty.
How to clean your computer
A little regular maintenance and care can keep your computer looking like new for years. Here’s how Lotus recommends cleaning your computer:
- Blow out the dust — take compressed air (whether in a can of compressed air or an air compressor) and carefully blow air where there are any fans. Be careful not to let the fans spin up too fast or you’ll damage them. It’s best to hold the fan in place while you blow the air to get the dust out.
- Clean the crumbs — if you enjoy snacking at your computer, you probably have crumbs inside your keyboard. This harbor bacteria, creates odors, and is just generally kind of gross. Cleaning underneath the keyboard can be tricky. You might have to remove the keyboard (if it’s a laptop) or turn it upside down and give it a good shake. Compressed air should do the job, or at least take care of most of the crumbs.
- Wipe it down — Use a soft, lint-free cloth to wipe down your computer. Always use a mild cleaning agent that disinfects, and never harsh chemicals like ammonia or bleach. You may be tempted to go thermonuclear on germs, but computers are sensitive and need to be cleaned with a mild chemical. We recommend rubbing alcohol. It works great on cleaning fingerprints from aluminum and is of course made for killing germs. It’s also safe to clean LCD screens on laptops and desktops with alcohol.
Clean your computer often for best performance
Lotus recommends to physically clean your computer at regular intervals. If you’re a germophobe, you can wipe it down as often as you’d like. For dust buildup, around once every month or two should be fine, though it depends on how dusty your environment is. Dust buildup will cause your computer to get too hot, slow down, and eventually fail early. Wiping your computer and disinfecting it will be healthier for you and those around you, too!
Remember, a clean computer is a happy computer!