The Naked Scientists

The Naked Scientists Forum

Author Topic: Computer keyboards as a source of bacteria  (Read 7098 times)

Offline dentstudent

  • Neilep Level Member
  • ******
  • Posts: 3146
  • FOGger to the unsuspecting
    • View Profile
Computer keyboards as a source of bacteria
« on: 15/08/2007 10:56:28 »
I've just banged out my keyboard upside down, and you would not believe the stuff that fell out! I'm not the first user of this keyboard, as it's work one, and so there's probably all sorts of other peoples stuff in there. So, this got me thinking that perhaps we're all exposed to some new super-bug that's slowly evolving in our keyboards. Has there been any study into potential infection through exposure to keyboard use?


 

another_someone

  • Guest
Computer keyboards as a source of bacteria
« Reply #1 on: 15/08/2007 12:01:53 »
I think people have looked at the level of bacteria on keyboards, and the usual scare stories.  I don't think there is any risk of a superbug as such, because there superbugs usually develop in environments that are in some way challenging for bacteria, and the keyboard is such an easy environment for bacteria that perfectly ordinary, even rather backward, bug are capable of surviving well there.

Then again, not much different from so many other environments you share with lots of strangers (e.g. the seats or hand rails on public transport and the stations and facilities associated with them).  Living in crowded urban environments has always had risks in terms of the rapid spread of disease, but they are perfectly ordinary every day diseases (e.g. the common cold).
 

Offline Bored chemist

  • Neilep Level Member
  • ******
  • Posts: 8667
  • Thanked: 42 times
    • View Profile
Computer keyboards as a source of bacteria
« Reply #2 on: 15/08/2007 12:02:32 »
I'm not sure it's a problem but it seems we already have the solution.
http://www.inclusive.co.uk/catalogue/acatalog/kid_glove_and_keyboard.html
More seriously in some environments, like operating theatres, the keyboards are sealed or touch screen types.
Anyway you might have given me an excuse to buy one of these.
http://www.iwantoneofthose.com/projector-keyboard/index.html
 

Offline dentstudent

  • Neilep Level Member
  • ******
  • Posts: 3146
  • FOGger to the unsuspecting
    • View Profile
Computer keyboards as a source of bacteria
« Reply #3 on: 15/08/2007 12:22:43 »
perfectly ordinary, even rather backward, bug are capable of surviving well there.
So you do know me!


Thankyou both for your answers! I shall also be dashing out to purchase said nifty keyboard!
 

Offline JimBob

  • Global Moderator
  • Neilep Level Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 6564
  • Thanked: 7 times
  • Moderator
    • View Profile
Computer keyboards as a source of bacteria
« Reply #4 on: 18/08/2007 05:10:39 »
Too much bacteria ???

IT IS TOO MUCH HYPE!

Overprotecting, overcleaning, overmedicating, etc., are all detrimental in the long-run as the population looses immunity to bacteria and vaccines that are natural to out environment.  No wonder the children in the US - and the UK as well too, probably - are sicker than they were 40 years ago. We do not get exposed to nearly as many bacteria, we get antibiotic ointment put on a scratch, we get told our toilets are dirty when there are fewer bacteria in toilet bowl water than on the kitchen sink (fact). Soap makers, pharmaceutical companies and the makers of rubber gloves keep pounding us with advertising that says we are in DANGER!

Hell, I made it to 62, had a lot of disease and still pick up a cookie off the floor and eat it even if it has been there for more than 5 seconds!

Oh, my keyboard is rented out to a nice clan of small roaches. I eat at my desk.

 

paul.fr

  • Guest
Computer keyboards as a source of bacteria
« Reply #5 on: 18/08/2007 07:29:54 »
JimBob, in part i totally agree with you. Kids should be more exposed to dirt and general bacteria, how are they supposed to get their immune system going if they are constantly being cleaned?

What i disagree with is there being more  bacteria in the kitchen, than the toilet. Although, the new fad of anti-bacterial dish washing liquids and soaps is actually making more bacteria, not fewer. So for some kitchens that may be true.

Oh, and the 5 second thing is a myth anyway.

ps, i still love y'
 

Offline Karen W.

  • Moderator
  • Naked Science Forum GOD!
  • *****
  • Posts: 31653
  • Thanked: 5 times
  • "come fly with me"
    • View Profile
Computer keyboards as a source of bacteria
« Reply #6 on: 18/08/2007 12:14:40 »
All of the people I know purchase those fitted rubbery keyboard covers Like your link shows, and you just take it off periodically and clean them..


I do take my keys off regularly and clean out my keyboard as it does fill up with dust and gunk fuss hair etc ..

My husband is a IBM repair man on the side and dismantles the machines cleans repairs and puts them back together..etc. So I have learned about cleaning sticky keyboards and keys! LOL
 

Offline Bored chemist

  • Neilep Level Member
  • ******
  • Posts: 8667
  • Thanked: 42 times
    • View Profile
Computer keyboards as a source of bacteria
« Reply #7 on: 18/08/2007 19:20:04 »
Paul, do you have eny evidence for this? "What i disagree with is there being more  bacteria in the kitchen, than the toilet. Although, the new fad of anti-bacterial dish washing liquids and soaps is actually making more bacteria, not fewer. So for some kitchens that may be true."
The experiment gets repeated from time to time and the result usually comes out the same. The dishcloth usually has one of the highest bug counts in the house. The toilet seat has few- simply because it's dry. The water in the toilet bowl doesn't have as many as would be expected because it's flushed regularly.
 

paul.fr

  • Guest
Computer keyboards as a source of bacteria
« Reply #8 on: 18/08/2007 20:47:16 »
BC, you are right in the fact that the dishcloth usually has one of the highest bug count. But when you say "The toilet seat has few- simply because it's dry", i assume this is when the seat is put down before flushing.

When the seat is left up, this is when the problem starts.
Three links:

http://www.thenakedscientists.com/forum/index.php?topic=7572.0
http://www.thenakedscientists.com/forum/index.php?topic=7106.0
http://www.abc.net.au/science/news/health/HealthRepublish_1056419.htm

 

Offline neilep

  • Withdrawnmist
  • Naked Science Forum GOD!
  • *******
  • Posts: 20602
  • Thanked: 8 times
    • View Profile
Computer keyboards as a source of bacteria
« Reply #9 on: 18/08/2007 22:51:47 »
I've just banged out my keyboard upside down, and you would not believe the stuff that fell out! I'm not the first user of this keyboard, as it's work one, and so there's probably all sorts of other peoples stuff in there. So, this got me thinking that perhaps we're all exposed to some new super-bug that's slowly evolving in our keyboards. Has there been any study into potential infection through exposure to keyboard use?

yes, there has been ample study as will be explained later.

To maintain a sturdy resistance to keyboard infection ...one must derive strength and a form of synergy with your keyboard.

Try Keyboard Calisthenics...or Keyboard Yoga...be at one with your keyboard !!

There have been reports in the past of Keyboard Mites and Keyboard Monsters that dwell between the keys......They usually frequent the letter 'e '...the space bar...and the ' enter ' key ..These being the most used keys. The persistent pounding they receive helps to build up the keyboard monsters muscles making them rather tricky to get rid of. This, in concert with the continuous supply of Keyboard Fodder Food makes them a sturdy force to be reckoned with...it could, if left unresolved, lead to Keyboard Chaos !

Singing them lullabys also helps.....if you put your ear to the keyboard after twenty minutes of Brahms' Lullaby then you may just be able to hear them snoring and gently humming the tune in their sleep !

Deploying the tactic of removing the Keyboard Fodder Food is usually the first line of attack  though and it seems , having done this, that you are well on your way to being at peace and infection free with your keyboard.

 

Offline FuzzyUK

  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 206
    • View Profile
    • http://www.fusniak.co.uk
Computer keyboards as a source of bacteria
« Reply #10 on: 19/08/2007 01:55:00 »
"There have been reports in the past of Keyboard Mites and Keyboard Monsters that dwell between the keys......They usually frequent the letter 'e '...the space bar...and the ' enter ' key ..These being the most used keys."

Just checked my keyboard and the most worn letters on the left hand side are ARSED(T), (and that's without me bumming about on it too much). Seriously, no joke! Coincidence?

On the right hand side, the most faded letters are NLM.
 

Offline neilep

  • Withdrawnmist
  • Naked Science Forum GOD!
  • *******
  • Posts: 20602
  • Thanked: 8 times
    • View Profile
Computer keyboards as a source of bacteria
« Reply #11 on: 19/08/2007 02:01:37 »
Well, my post was a little ...well..no...a lot ....well...completely tongue in cheek !

I surmised 'E' to be the most pressed key as it's the most widely used letter in the English language...the Space bar...well...I press that between each word...and ...hmmmmmmm...perhaps I was a bit too zealous to say the Enter key !! ;) :) :)
 

Offline Karen W.

  • Moderator
  • Naked Science Forum GOD!
  • *****
  • Posts: 31653
  • Thanked: 5 times
  • "come fly with me"
    • View Profile
Computer keyboards as a source of bacteria
« Reply #12 on: 19/08/2007 02:18:26 »
LOL LOL... Bugs Bugs Bugs!
 

Offline Madidus_Scientia

  • Neilep Level Member
  • ******
  • Posts: 1451
    • View Profile
Computer keyboards as a source of bacteria
« Reply #13 on: 24/12/2008 13:15:26 »
I've been slowly catching up on podcasts, anyway I was up to one the other day where they were talking about keyboards designed for hospitals that are perfectly flat so that they can be wiped clean and sterilized easily. And i think there was a question from someone in second life or something as the show was on saying "why not just use an ultraviolet light to sterilise the keyboard?" and Chris replied something like "That might work but wouldn't be good for the staff, would it?"

But I don't think he meant light the whole place permanently with harsh UV light, but just a handheld lamp kind of thing you just wave over the keyboard every so often. That would work wouldn't it?

What if you made one for operating theatres that you flash on to blast all the bacteria in the room before operating? And even just for kitchens to help keep things more hygenic?
 

Offline yor_on

  • Naked Science Forum GOD!
  • *******
  • Posts: 11993
  • Thanked: 4 times
  • (Ah, yes:) *a table is always good to hide under*
    • View Profile
Computer keyboards as a source of bacteria
« Reply #14 on: 31/12/2008 10:33:31 »
I've just banged out my keyboard upside down, and you would not believe the stuff that fell out! I'm not the first user of this keyboard, as it's work one, and so there's probably all sorts of other peoples stuff in there. So, this got me thinking that perhaps we're all exposed to some new super-bug that's slowly evolving in our keyboards. Has there been any study into potential infection through exposure to keyboard use?

Reading you I did the same, nothing came out until I used my hammer.
Then A Lot came out.

Now my laptop sulks?
 

Offline Chemistry4me

  • Neilep Level Member
  • ******
  • Posts: 7709
    • View Profile
Computer keyboards as a source of bacteria
« Reply #15 on: 31/12/2008 10:36:45 »
Get a vacuum cleaner and suck out the stuff the gets stuck between the individual keys. Or just get a really narrow piece of sponge and wipe clean the keyboard, maybe put some cleaning things on the sponge to prevent any super bugs from hatching.... [xx(] [xx(]
 

Offline yor_on

  • Naked Science Forum GOD!
  • *******
  • Posts: 11993
  • Thanked: 4 times
  • (Ah, yes:) *a table is always good to hide under*
    • View Profile
Computer keyboards as a source of bacteria
« Reply #16 on: 31/12/2008 10:47:48 »
Do they all hatch?

One of the things falling out was shiny and looked like some kind of robocop?
And it made a noise too???

I will bury it.
 

Offline Chemistry4me

  • Neilep Level Member
  • ******
  • Posts: 7709
    • View Profile
Computer keyboards as a source of bacteria
« Reply #17 on: 31/12/2008 10:52:27 »
Are you serious? Something actually fell out and made a noise? :o I think burying it won't be enough, the soil is too suitable for its growth. No you must exterminate it [xx(]... permanently... [xx(] pour some petrol on it and let it burn till the crows (or whatever it is) comes home... 
 

Offline yor_on

  • Naked Science Forum GOD!
  • *******
  • Posts: 11993
  • Thanked: 4 times
  • (Ah, yes:) *a table is always good to hide under*
    • View Profile
Computer keyboards as a source of bacteria
« Reply #18 on: 31/12/2008 12:23:37 »
Thanks for the tip.
I followed it immediately, but now I have another problem

Will the insurance cover it.
my house I mean?

Please write to
bugattack'at'exxxplosives.org
With your answer, as I think they are onto this site...
 

Offline Chemistry4me

  • Neilep Level Member
  • ******
  • Posts: 7709
    • View Profile
Computer keyboards as a source of bacteria
« Reply #19 on: 01/01/2009 02:29:17 »
I shall go under the knife and disappear for ever.....
 

The Naked Scientists Forum

Computer keyboards as a source of bacteria
« Reply #19 on: 01/01/2009 02:29:17 »

 

SMF 2.0.10 | SMF © 2015, Simple Machines
SMFAds for Free Forums