You may not think much of it from day to day, but some seriously gross things happen when you don't clean your computer. Although modern workplaces and homes are generally safer than they have ever been in the past, new technologies bring new pitfalls of course. Personally, I wouldn't trade a nice, computer-based office (even one with an open floor plan) for any other kind really. But that doesn't mean that working around computers is perfect.
Computers, and keyboards in particular, are actually huge dirt traps. Think about it, you touch them all the time, day in and day out, and may even drag them around with you everywhere you go. Cleaning options are limited — it's not like you can scrub the thing — but computer users generally don't even avail themselves of those. Though going nuts with cleaning can be overkill, I can't say I have ever known a single person who cleaned their computer too often.
The computer probably isn't dirtier than many of the other things you touch, but it sure isn't clean, so in light of the following things that happen when you don't clean your computer, you should definitely give your habits a second thought. You will be better off in the long run.
1. Your hands become covered in poop
A small study conducted using 30 keyboards at an office in the UK found that one had 150 times the limit of bacteria considered "safe," making that keyboard five times dirtier than your average toilet. Four of those keyboards harbored the type of germs that could make you sick to your stomach. There's no sugar-coating this finding: it's beginning to look like keyboards are covered in fecal bacteria — as in, from poop. Every person you witness leaving the bathroom without washing his or her hands is probably bound for a keyboard somewhere, and that is the inevitable result. Ick.
2. You ingest germs and can get sick
As if it weren't bad enough to have those computer-borne germs on you, they can also get in you, potentially making you sick. Between eating at the computer, rubbing your computer-weary eyes, wiping your nose while you work, and possibly having small cuts on your hands, there are plenty of routes from those germs straight into you, where your immune system will have to fight all of them off — or else.
3. You get other people sick
Even if you dodge the illness bullet, you could easily pass germs to others by touching a shared computer. After all, who wants to be the person who never lets anyone lay a hand on their precious laptop? Obviously, getting other people sick is not a nice thing to do.
4. Your computer doesn't run as well
Computer components don't work well when they become too hot. But lint and dirt and fuzz can trap air in there, causing the computer's temperature to rise and its performance to degrade. So keeping your computer clean is not just a health and aesthetic issue, it's a productivity one too! Don't let your computer become such a scuzz trap that it can't even run.
5. Your keyboard ends up looking like a food fight
Even if it's not dangerous, a keyboard full of sticky oily whatever just looks horrible. It doesn't feel so good either. Ick.
6. Cleaning the computer becomes a gross job in itself
As you might have learned the hard way from not cleaning your bathroom or kitchen, the less you clean something the harder the job becomes. Your computer is no different — that neglected keyboard can pretty quickly turn from being just a little sticky to maximally gross if you don't exercise caution. And the only thing worse than frantically shaking your year-old debris out of a keyboard is shaking someone else's year-old debris out of a keyboard. Give your computer a quick cleaning at the end of each week, your future self will thank you.
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