Keeping it clean

Half done, the dirty end looks embarrassing.
Half done, the dirty end looks embarrassing.

I know that it is not yet Spring, but the closure of MacUser has driven me to tidy up. First there were folders full of old, current, and future writing work to collect into a single archive. There were also hundreds of emails to trash: questions and solutions, invitations to review products, and the general overhead of writing to deadlines.

Then I looked down at my keyboard. Or rather I looked at what was covering the keyboard – a thickening greasy crust, making it look more like a neglected stockpot.

A few years ago, when trying to ensure that measures to prevent infection of patients were up to scratch, I took some bacterial swabs from the keyboards used by our staff. Our bacteriology lab grew some pretty unpleasant bugs from those keyboards, good ammunition for a campaign to regularly clean keyboards, mice, and phones using proper clinical wipes.

I used Fellowes Virashield, just a few pence more expensive than regular cleaning wipes. They contain an array of bug killers, and are superior to alcohol or isopropanol, which tend not to kill the bugs as effectively. I took the batteries out of my Apple wireless keyboard first, so that it did not drive my Mac insane with a barrage of random keypresses. I also cleaned my trackpad, and the desk mat on which they both sit.

We are all human, and do some pretty vile things whilst we are sat at the keyboard; picking our nose is probably the least unmentionable. Whilst I do not believe in trying to live in a sterile environment – most bugs are actually part of our normal, healthy human ecosystem – it is so good to be pressing the plastic again rather than the grim grey grime that had been there.