Did you know that the average work desk has 20,961 germs per square inch on it? Another 3,300 of those are found on your keyboard – yes, per square inch. According to the research that yielded those numbers, all your input devices – your mouse, presenters, keyboards, etc. – are laden with germs and bacteria, even if they look clean.
Input devices are high-contact surfaces that we use every day and often all day. Yet, after we’re done tidying up our workspace for the day, that refreshing appearance of organization can make it easy for us to forget that our work desks are literal gardens of microbes, sometimes housing specimens capable of causing diseases like pneumonia.
Fortunately, cleaning your input devices and office peripherals isn’t difficult – it just takes a bit of technique. Here’s everything you need to know about cleaning and disinfecting your presenters, mice, trackballs, and keyboards.
How to Clean Your Input Devices Correctly and Effectively
Cleaning your input devices is easy, but there are a few things you can do to make sure you enjoy cleaner devices all around. DO:
- Clean your input devices at least once per week. Organizations that use hotdesking or shared computers should strongly consider cleaning multiple times per week.
- Use diluted alcohol and gentle detergents. It’s not necessary to apply harsh chemicals to your devices – doing so may damage them.
- Remember the area around your devices. Keeping your desk clean and disinfected regularly can also help reduce tracking germs onto your devices.
- Use microfiber cloths meant for cleaning electronics. This ultra-soft fabric won’t scratch any surfaces and will pick up more dirt or moisture than other types of material.
How to Sanitize Presenters and Mice
- Turn the device off. If it’s a wired mouse, unplug it. Or, switch the wireless mouse off with the power switch underneath it.
- Spray a neutral detergent or diluted alcohol on a microfiber cloth. If you choose to use diluted alcohol, choose 75% strength, or mix one cup of water to three cups of alcohol.
- Wipe down the device and immediately dry it. Make sure not to leave any excess moisture on the device, which may find its way into the internal electronic components. We recommend that you never spray the device directly for precisely this reason.
- Examine the sensors. Use a light source to check if any debris or dust has built up in the sensor. If it has, you can use a corner of the microfiber cloth to gently wipe it free. Don’t jab it or force the cloth into the sensor or you may damage it.
- Wipe down your mousepad or remote holder. Following the same steps as above, wipe down where your device normally rests to prevent putting it back into a dirty environment.
Cleaning and Disinfecting Trackballs
Cleaning and disinfecting a trackball device follows much the same steps as above, but the ball itself needs a bit of TLC. Here are a few pro-tips:
- You should be able to just lift the ball out of its socket. No need to unscrew anything!
- Our Pro Fit® Ergo vertical wireless trackball has a ball ejection button. It’s the circular button on the bottom of the device.
- Never spray the trackball directly. Due to the socket, it’s easy to get moisture where you can’t see or remove it and that will ruin the device.
- After you’ve cleaned and reinserted the trackball, roll it around with clean fingers. This will lubricate it again so that it rolls smoothly.
Unlike computer mice or presentation remotes, trackballs more readily indicate that they need to be cleaned. If yours isn’t rolling smoothly or isn’t as responsive, debris may have built up in the socket and is preventing the device from sensing the ball’s movements.
How to Clean a Keyboard
Periodically cleaning your keyboard is one of the best steps you can take to keeping your workspace cleaner all around. To completely clean your keyboard, follow these steps.
- Unplug or turn off the device. It will help you protect the components and prevent you from executing any commands on the computer. Remove the batteries if it’s wireless.
- Spray a mild disinfectant or 75% strength alcohol onto a microfiber cloth. Wipe down your keyboard completely.
- Use an air spray can to get any debris stuck under the keys. You can pick these up at most office supply stores as they’re meant for this purpose. It’s not necessary to remove any keys unless they’re not working. In that case, follow this guide to safely do so.
- Use a damp Q-tip, the edge of your microfiber cloth, or a cleaning gel to get between the keys. Cleaning gel is also usually available at most office supply stores. It’s a putty-like substance that picks up dust and debris.
- Make sure it’s fully dry before turning it on again. Let the keyboard completely dry to ensure no damage occurs.
Cleaning a keyboard can be labor-intensive, especially if you have several in an office where multiple people use them. In that case, we’ve got a secret weapon up our sleeves to help you embrace a new level of office cleanliness.
It’s called the Pro Fit® USB washable keyboard – and yes, you can actually wash it in the sink with soap and water. But that’s not the only reason we love it. You’ll also enjoy:
- Rugged waterproof design that makes it fully immersible – just don’t get the USB wet.
- Antimicrobial ABS reduces spread of bacteria that can cause stains and odors on the product.
- Super-durable parts so it can survive in almost any environment.
- A thin membrane protecting its sensitive inner components.
Like efficiency and cleanliness? Forget Q-tips and cleaning gel. Get a washable keyboard instead.
Keep It Clean with Kensington
Keeping your input devices and peripherals clean is the best way to elevate the overall cleanliness of your workspace. As keyboards, mice, trackballs, and presentation remotes represent high-contact surfaces, they’re bound to harbor all sorts of germs and microbes.
Give your office cleanliness a boost with these easy cleaning procedures for all your input devices. Next cold season, you might notice the difference.
Interested in more ways to promote health in your office? Check out our ergonomic solutions to elevate your work environment.