a lady typing on her computer and eating potato chips

Dirty Keyboards and Computers Attract Rodents, Create New Health Risk

If you are like the vast majority of people, your computer or laptop keyboard is a germ-ridden catastrophe. In addition, the dirty nature of your keyboard is also nothing less than an attraction to rodents. Yes, you read that correctly. In addition to being a pathogen’s paradise, your computer keyboard is inviting for mice and rats. You need to understand how your computer keyboard may be attractive to rodents enhances the potential health risk it already poses to you.

Facts About an Unkempt Computer Keyboard

A considerable segment of the population spends a significant percentage of time banging away on their computer or laptop. You use your computer for work, to keep in touch with friends and loved ones, to shop, to engage on social media, and for many other purposes. Time and again you likely plop down in front of your computer or laptop and type away on the keyboard, bringing with you whatever bugs and germs you happen to have on your hands as a result of merely going through your day to day activities.

A British researcher conducted a study contrasting the level of harmful bacteria on a computer keyboard versus a toilet seat. The results of this study proved alarming. The researcher swabbed over 30 keyboards to ascertain the level of bacteria on them. In addition, he swabbed a toilet seat as well.

Four of the keyboards had harmful bacteria on them. These bacteria were capable of causing serious illness. In fact, the level of bacteria on one of these keyboards was five-times higher than what was found on the toilet seat.

In addition to unseen bacteria, another issue with your computer keyboard likely is the accumulation of tiny food crumbs. A considerable number of people eat while using their computers. Indeed, this has become a very common practice. As a result, even if you don’t realize it, food particles are falling onto and into your keyboard.

The accumulation of tiny food crumbs can end up being an attraction to hungry rodents. These ostensibly innocuous crumbs in fact are proving to be the underlying cause of a health hazard.

The Royal Society of Chemistry in the United Kingdom has concluded that mice (and perhaps rats) are searching for food crumbs around, on, and in computer keyboards during the night in offices. If you have a mouse issue in your office, the same type of activity may be occurring in your residence.

In the process of seeking food morsels from computer or laptop keyboards, mice are depositing their feces between the keys and around these devices. These droppings can present a serious health hazard for people. For example, mouse feces can contain dangerous viruses and bacteria, like the hantavirus. The hantavirus can survive in rodent feces for an extended period of time, even after the droppings dry.

Dried mouse droppings caught in a computer or laptop keyboard are particularly dangerous. They easily crumble. When that occurs, droppings dust becomes airborne, carrying the hantavirus along with it. If inhaled, a person can become infected by the hantavirus, which can result in an individual becoming very ill, even fatally so.

Tactics to Keep a Keyboard Clean

There are some tactics that you can employ that will keep your computer or laptop keyboard clean and not an attractive point for mice in search of food. One simple strategy is to turn your keyboard upside down once a month and gently shake it. Debris, dirt, and food crumbs will fall out of the device. In fact, you may be surprised about how much comes loose through this simple process. If you have a laptop, you need to turn it off before you undertake the gentle shaking process.

If you feel that more debris remains in the keyboard, purchase a can of compressed air to clean your keyboard further. Follow the directions on the product, which will direct you to align the straw associated with the canister along the crevices across your keyboard. This process will blow out debris and knock more still loose. When this process is completed, shake the keyboard (again) to knock out the debris that has been loosened by the compressed air cleaning.

Once a week, lightly dampen a soft cloth with a disinfectant that kills germs. Gently wipe the surface of your keyboard with the moistened cloth. This will not only keep the surface of your keyboard clean but will kill harmful pathogens as well.

There is a cautionary note to keep in mind. If you discover mouse droppings as part of the cleaning process, you need to take care in cleaning them up. Remember, mice droppings can carry hazardous pathogens like the hantavirus. Before picking up rodent droppings, dampen them to ensure that they do not crumble. In addition, you should wear gloves and a face mask when you are cleaning up a small number of rodent droppings. If you face a situation involving a larger amount of rodent feces, you need to give serious consideration to engaging the services of a rodent dropping cleaning specialist.