My day job as “Ms. IT” keeps me busy. With dozens of staff members to support, and 8 offices in 2 states, I have seen a lot of stuff happen. I got into a conversation the other day with one of our staff members concerning the cleanliness of keyboards, and I thought you all might benefit from this information. The conversation began when I was approached by an employee who let me know in no uncertain terms that her keyboard had quit working. She had no idea why it quit working, but it was at a very inconvenient time, as she was on a deadline for a project and had to get it done right away. Being understanding of deadlines, I dropped everything I was doing and walked over to her workstation, wearing my Sherlock Holmes hat (would have puffed the Sherlock Holmes pipe, but smoking is, well, you know. . . . illegal in public places. . . .not to mention deadly and gross). I began my investigation with a visual inspection of her keyboard. I have to tell you, I have never seen anything so disgusting in my life. The keyboard was so dirty, I wouldn’t even touch it (made me wonder what her home looked like). I immediately donned latex gloves and began cleaning the keyboard with a disinfectant wipe (who am I kidding, it took several disinfectant wipes). With the keyboard surface now as clean as it was going to get, I then took it outside, turned it upside down and shook it. The mound of crumbs that accumulated on the sidewalk would make Mr. Hood seem small (OK, I exaggerate, but you get the picture.) I then got out the can of compressed air and cleaned between the keys as much as I possibly could. Another swipe of the keyboard with the disinfectant wipe, and I was ready to hook this puppy back up to her computer. Hmmmmmm. . . . .imagine her surprise when the keyboard started working. I made her swear to never eat over her keyboard again. I then started to observer her department in general. Out of 5 people, 4 of them were sniffling, hacking and coughing. Two of them were deep in collaboration on a project at one computer, sharing the keyboard. I am positive that those 4 people caught their colds from touching someone else’s dirty keyboard. What is my point, you ask after suffering through this long story? Keyboards can be very dirty surfaces, and in my observation, most people rarely or never clean them. If you are in a position where more than one person uses your computer, make sure you wipe the surface of the keyboard off with a disinfectant wipe on a regular basis. If your keyboard has gotten so dirty that it seems easier to replace it, remember to be a good consumer and recycle the old keyboard.
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