Work Wellness

How to Clean and Sanitize Your Keyboard and Other Input Devices Correctly

Avatar of  | Dec 7, 2020
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From time to time, our devices get so covered in dirt and grime that we must clean them or risk exposing ourselves to harmful germs and bacteria. Fortunately, there are many ways you can clean them, and if you know the correct way, you can work in peace and comfort knowing your devices are sanitary.

The average office desk setup has 20,961 germs per square inch. This is besides 3,295 germs on the keyboard, 1,676 on the mouse, and a staggering 25,127 on the phone. The same research reports that all your input devices, including your mouse, keyboards, and presenters, are covered with germs and bacteria, even though they look clean.

Input devices are high contact devices we use regularly every day. Yet, after you’re done cleaning up your workspace for the day, the refreshing look can make you forget that your office desk is the literal garden of microbes, sometimes housing disease-causing specimens, such as Helicobacter pylori, Staphylococcus aureus, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, and E-coli.

Luckily cleaning your input devices and office peripherals is an effortless task; you only need a bit of technique. Here’s a guide for cleaning and disinfecting your keyboards, mice, trackballs, and presenters.

How to Clean Your Input Devices Correctly

Clean your devices

Cleaning your input devices isn’t hard, however, there a few things you need to do regularly to enjoy cleaner devices. These include:

  •    Clean your input devices once a week. Companies that use shared computers or hot-desking must clean their input devices multiple times a week.
  •    Clean the area around your devices, too. Cleaning and disinfecting your desk regularly can reduce tracking germs and bacteria into your devices
  •    Clean and disinfect your devices with gentle detergents and diluted alcohol. Avoid using harsh chemicals when cleaning your input devices; doing this will only damage your devices.
  •    Clean your input devices with microfiber cloths meant for cleaning electronics. These ultra-soft fabrics won’t scratch your devices, and they pick more dirt or moisture than other fabrics.

How to Clean Your Keyboard

Clean your keyboard

Unwashed hands, glued fingers, dust, hair, crumbs, and other leftover food; are many reasons germs can harbor on and under the keys of your keyboard. Thus, cleaning your keyboard frequently is one of the best ways to keep your workspace cleaner. Follow these steps to clean your keyboard correctly and effectively:

  • First, unplug or turn off your computer. This will protect your devices and prevent you from executing unwanted commands on the computer. Remove the batteries if your keyboard is wireless.
  • Spray a 75% strong alcohol or a mild disinfectant onto a microfiber cloth. Wipe your keyboard gently. Never pour disinfectant or diluted alcohol directly onto your keyboard, even when cleaning or disinfecting it. This can damage the internal electronic components on the keyboard.
  • Use an air spray to remove any debris or dust that’s stuck under the keys. You can buy air spray from most office supply stores. Don’t remove any keys unless they aren’t working. In that case, follow this guide to remove the keyboard keys safely.
  • Use the edge of your microfiber cloth, a damp Q-tip, or a cleaning gel to clean between the keys. You can buy cleaning gel from most office supply stores. It’s a putty-like substance that removes dust and debris that’s stuck between the keys.
  • Wait for your keyboard to dry fully before turning it on again. Waiting for your keyboard to dry completely before turning it on will make sure no damage occurs.

Further, you can cover your keyboard with a silicone cover to protect it from dust and debris. Also, this can protect your keyboard from liquid spills.

How to Clean and Sanitize Your Mice and Presentation Remotes

Clean your computer mice

It’s easy to clean your presentation remotes and computer mice, but be careful not to damage their finish with harsh chemicals. To clean your presenters and mice, follow these five simple steps:

  • Turn off the device or unplug it. If you’re using a wired mouse, first unplug it from your computer. For the wireless mouse, switch it off with a power switch underneath it.
  • Spray diluted alcohol or a mild detergent on a microfiber cloth. If you decide to use diluted alcohol, use one that’s 75% strong, or you can mix three cups of alcohol with one cup of water.
  • Wipe your mice or presenter gently and dry them off immediately. Don’t leave any excess moisture on the devices, as this may find its way into the internal electronic components and cause damage. For this reason, don’t spray your mice or presenters directly.
  • Check the sensors. Using a light source, check if any dust or debris has accumulated in the sensor. If it has, use the edge of the microfiber cloth to wipe it gently. Don’t force the cloth into the sensor as you may damage it.
  • Wipe your mouse pad and remote holder gently. Following the steps above, wipe the areas where your devices rest to avoid putting them back into a dirty environment.

How to Clean and Disinfect Your Trackballs

Disinfect your trackballs

To clean and disinfect your trackballs follow the steps above, however, the ball itself may require some TLC. Here are some pro-tips you should follow to clean and disinfect the ball:

  • Lift the ball out of its socket. Don’t unscrew it! Some trackballs have a ball ejection button. It’s the circular button underneath the device, which you can use to lift the ball.
  • Don’t spray the ball directly. Because of the socket, it’s easy for moisture to get where you can’t see or remove it, which may ruin your device.
  • After cleaning and disinfecting the trackball, roll it around with clean fingers. This will lubricate it, so it rolls smoothly.

Unlike other input devices, trackballs readily show that they need to be cleaned. If your trackball isn’t rolling smoothly or if it’s unresponsive, dust and debris may have accumulated in the socket, preventing it from sensing the ball’s movements. This is a sign you should clean your trackball to continue working smoothly.

Final Thoughts

Cleaning and disinfecting your input devices and office peripherals is the best way to boost the overall cleanliness of your office. Because keyboards, mice, presentation remotes, and trackballs are high-contact surfaces, they’re likely to house many germs and microbes. So, cleaning input devices frequently is crucial, especially now in times of the coronavirus. With the simple cleaning procedures for the input devices mentioned above, you can give your office the cleanliness boost it requires.

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