Containing The Coronavirus: How To Clean Your Mouse And Keyboard

Short version: Dust them off with a dry cloth. Wipe them down with washcloth dampened with a one part bleach to ten parts water solution. Wipe them down again with just water then dry it off immediately. Wear gloves when doing this and don’t soak anything in the bleach solution. Also, this method will disinfect anything that isn’t made of wood or fabric. Of course, this method does require measuring and the aforementioned wearing of gloves which may prove too tall a hurdle for some so here are some quick fixes to make sure that everyone can have a clean gaming setup.

How to Clean Your Mouse

Gamers tend to own fancy mice with ergonomic rubberized surfaces and lots of extra buttons. This makes cleaning them more challenging than a standard mouse which can get away with more common cleaning products like the bleach solution mentioned above. This is because bleach can harm rubber and can corrode metal if it is left on the surface of these materials for too long. So if it’s unclear whether the textured grip on a mouse is rubber or not, its best to go with a non-bleach based disinfectant like vinegar or isopropyl alcohol diluted with water. This is also a good place to use disinfectant wipes if there are any left in the local stores because they can help ensure too much cleaner isn’t applied to the mouse and potentially getting the internal springs and circuitry wet. If wipes are used it’s important to check the active ingredient as some antibacterial wipes will not contain bleach or alcohol and will not be effective at killing viruses. Again it is important to dust or vacuum anything before it is disinfected otherwise dirt and other contaminants may keep parts of the item being cleaned from being fully disinfected. In the case of mice specifically, it is a good idea to run a toothpick or other soft-pointed object through the seams to remove any ground-in dust.

How to clean your keyboard

There is just as much variety in keyboard design as with mouse design. Older all-plastic designs used to be dishwasher safe but this is very rare for any modern design. As with mice though, a keyboard needs to be dusted off or vacuumed before any disinfectant solution is applied. Sometimes a dust cloth or vacuum attachment will leave behind dust under the keys. If there is canned air handy, this can be used to blow any stubborn dust particles that get missed. Once all the dust is gone any of the previously mentioned disinfectants can be used. If a keyboard lights up or has a built-in trackpad be extra careful to not soak it as the LEDs and circuits are not waterproof. If a keyboard has mechanical switches it is important to make sure it gets completely dried out using canned air as even a little moisture on the springs can cause corrosion.

Tips & Tricks to keep them clean

Okay, the gaming setup is clean now how does it stay clean?First, wash your hands often. Presumably, you only touch your keyboard and mouse with your hands so if your hands stay clean, so will your keyboard and mouse.Second, separate the acts of gaming and eating. It does no good to wash your hands if you then use them to shovel Doritos into your face between Overwatch matches. Yes, your hands are still dirty if you use a napkin.Third, engage in good personal grooming. Regular showers ensure that dead skin runs down the drain and doesn’t end up trapped under your WASD.Finally, regularly dust off your setup. Disinfecting is only required once per month or so but it is much easier to perform if there isn’t a month’s worth of dust layered on top of your gear.

One final note on disinfecting in general, it’s important that when making a disinfectant solution to not mix multiple disinfectants. Pick one and dilute it in water so that the item being cleaned is not damaged by the pure bleach, vinegar, or alcohol. Mixing disinfectants can cause toxic gasses to build-up in the area being cleaned. Some of these gasses can be fatal even in small amounts so even something like dipping wipes with bleach on them into something else can have adverse consequences.

source: ABC Cincinnati

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