How to Disinfect Your Keyboard

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Bacteria or viruses we come in contact with are easily transferred via our hands. That is why hand washing is so important during cold and flu season, and it is why it is important to disinfect computer keyboards. Proper cleaning and disinfecting is especially important in a public setting, where many people use the same keyboard; however, even if you are the only one using your computer you should disinfect the keys once in a while. Doing so will prevent bacterial growth (and potentially prevent illness from exposure to bacteria and other pathogens).

Things You'll Need

  • Compressed (canned) air
  • Disinfectant wipes
  • Isopropyl (rubbing) alcohol
  • Cotton swabs (or keyboard sponge swabs)

How to Disinfect Your Keyboard

Turn the power off to the computer. Tilt the keyboard on its side and spray out between the keys with compressed air. This will remove loose particles that could inhibit proper disinfecting.

Wipe down the top areas of the keyboard, the sides and all the other large, open surfaces with disinfectant wipes. You should turn the wipe over to the clean side when one side gets dirty. In addition, if the keyboard is exceptionally dirty you should change to a clean wipe when it becomes soiled.

Dip a cotton swab or a key board sponge swab in rubbing alcohol. Starting with the largest keys (such as the space bar), rub the alcohol over the tops and sides of the keys.

Disinfect the rest of the keys with the swab/sponge dipped in alcohol. Make sure you get in between all of the keys. Also, switch to a clean swab or sponge whenever it becomes soiled.

Allow the disinfectant to dry on the keyboard--don’t rinse it off. Repeat this cleaning weekly, if you are the only user. If other people use the keyboard, or if there are illnesses going around, you may want to disinfect daily.

Tips & Warnings

  • If you smash the head of a cotton swab, it will better fit between keys. Office supply stores and computer supply stores do, however, sell little sponges that are made to fit between keyboard keys--these may be worth buying to have around.
  • Although there is not an extremely high risk of electrical shock when cleaning the keys, do make sure the computer is off or the keyboard is unplugged before cleaning and disinfecting the keyboard.

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