Of course, it’s news to nobody that offices, desks, and computers tend to be focal points of many of our lives. Statista reports that, as of September 2023, the average working week in the United States was 34.4 hours long. For many of those hours, a lot of those people were typing away on a computer. For the keyboard, this can mean an awful lot of germs.
We’re often told that surfaces such as desks, keyboards, smartphone screens, and any others we touch frequently can harbor lots of germs. How many? In a 2014 Initial Hygiene video, Dr. Lisa Ackerley of the Royal Society of Public Health stated, “3,000 organisms can be found per square inch on a keyboard,” and they’re not particularly friendly guests.
In October 2018, the study “Degree of Bacterial Contamination of Mobile Phone and Computer Keyboard Surfaces and Efficacy of Disinfection with Chlorhexidine Digluconate and Triclosan to Its Reduction,” by Jana Koscova et al (Int J Environ Res Public Health via the National Library of Medicine), stated that, after 25 keyboards were swabbed for the study, 96% of them were found to be contaminated. Staphylococci and bacilli were the most frequently found, though the likes of the gram-negative Escherichia coli were too.
Such bacteria won’t necessarily cause illness or harm, but there are easy ways for bacteria to appear. Such as, those who are sick and share keyboards can potentially share something like the flu.