If you haven’t taken a close look at your keyboard and mouse lately, you probably should. These two main components of your PC get grimy pretty quickly. This comes as no surprise since they are continually used and touched by human hands each day.
In fact, you’re probably touching one or both at this very moment. The truth is, your keyboard may contain more bacteria than any public bathroom or door knob — and a study from U of A indicates that there may be up to 400 times more. Yeah. Let that sink in.
But no need to panic. There’s nothing a good cleaning and disinfecting couldn’t cure. So, here are 4 simple steps to rid your mouse and keyboard of any germ build up:
1. Disconnect your mouse and keyboard
If it’s plugged into the computer, unplug it. If it’s wireless, switch it off. For keyboards that are part of a laptop, shut the device down and disconnect the power chord. If the battery is accessible and easy to remove, do that as well.
Same goes for your mouse. Disconnect it from your computer and take out the batteries. If it’s wireless, simply flip it over, turn it off and take out the batteries. It’s important to have all power sources either shut off or disconnected while you clean your components. This will prevent electrical shorts and other potentially damaging results.
2. Start spraying and swabbing
Grime build-up and loose dust particles go deeper than just the top of the keys or the scroll wheel. You need something that can easily fit into those tight corners and small crevices.
This is where a can of compressed air comes in. Try Dust-Off, which is a keyboard cleaning kit. Blowing compressed air into the keyboard will help remove crumbs, dust and anything else that may have nestled itself between or under the keys.
After getting under the keys, it’s time to go topside. Lightly wipe the tops of the keys and the palm rest with a microfiber cloth or a disinfectant wipe. Avoid wipes that may contain a high bleach content, as they can permanently damage the finish on your keyboard.
Similarly, your mouse can contain hidden particles of dust and grime under its scrolling wheel. You can turn the mouse upside down and continuously roll the wheel to loosen anything that may be stuck inside. Same drill — wipe it down with disinfect or a microfiber cloth for the best results.
3. Make sure everything is dry
Before you plug everything back in again, be sure all components are dry. A little dampness can cause big problems and permanently ruin electronic devices once power is flowing through them.
It should only take about a minute for your mouse and keyboard to dry after cleaning, but if it seems to be taking a little longer, it’s worth the wait. Never power up any device until it is completely dry.
4. How to keep them clean
The simplest way to keep things clean is to refrain from eating next to or on top of your keyboard. This will keep crumbs from falling between the keys. If you had chicken wings, nachos or any other finger food, remember to wash up before putting greasy fingers on either the mouse or the keyboard.
Aside from not eating or drinking around the devices on your desk, its just as important to wipe them down on a regular basis. If you find yourself using your computer every day for long periods of time, consider wiping the computer and desk area at least once a week with a dust cloth. This will keep any germs or bacteria at bay.
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