Creeping qwertyosis

I admit that there are times when you might not want to eat off my kitchen floor. Then again, it’s probably no worse than your damn desk:

Dirty office desks are harbouring germs which can quickly spread among staff as firms are braced for an outbreak of sickness absence through colds and flu, a new report said.

A study of desks by office supplies firm Viking in hundreds of offices across the country found poor levels of hygiene.

Germs were found in almost two-thirds of computer keyboards, while some even had mould growing underneath.

The level of contamination seems to vary with the occupation of the occupant:

Lawyers, accountants and computer workers were said to be the most unhygienic office workers in the country, while social workers were more likely to have mouldy food on their desks.

This story comes from Britain, but I have no reason to think things are any more sanitary on this side of the pond, though I’m quite sure neither of my keyboards have developed any mold despite their advanced age. My IBM Model M at home is 21 years old today, so maybe I’ll buy it a drink. Alcohol has (vaguely) disinfectant properties, you know.

(Via the ever-spotless neo-neocon.)


  1. KingShamus »

    4 October 2011 · 7:22 pm

    Face it–Work is filthy.

  2. CGHill »

    4 October 2011 · 7:37 pm

    So is loafing, if you do it right.

  3. fillyjonk »

    4 October 2011 · 8:23 pm

    I file this under “that which does not kill me can only make me stronger.”

  4. CGHill »

    4 October 2011 · 8:35 pm

    And what happens to the boy in the bubble the moment he’s exposed to Actual Air?


    Here I am, pushing sixty, and I have one known allergy, and that one didn’t manifest itself until my middle fifties. Maybe that dunk in the cesspool in 1960 did me some good after all.

  5. Jeff Brokaw »

    4 October 2011 · 10:07 pm

    Mainly I’m shocked that you know your keyboard’s birthday. OK, on second thought, maybe not.

  6. CGHill »

    4 October 2011 · 11:18 pm

    It’s an IBM, after all; the date of manufacture is right there on an ID plate on the bottom.

  7. canadienne »

    5 October 2011 · 1:08 pm

    I have an Apple keyboard, the one that looks like a slab of aluminum with white keys. Perhaps I’m a bit OCD but I feel compelled to clean the keys every couple weeks or so with alcohol, and wash my hands a lot, so maintaining its pristine Apple whiteness may be saving me from a lot of deadly germs.

  8. CGHill »

    5 October 2011 · 1:21 pm

    Well, that’s Apple for you. Some of these cheap commodity keyboards, if subjected to this treatment, might actually melt.

  9. fillyjonk »

    5 October 2011 · 2:47 pm

    I thought having to clean all the products every few days was part of the Apple TOS.

  10. canadienne »

    5 October 2011 · 9:03 pm

    You kinda think that Apple expects you to keep all that white hardware pristine. As far as I know, they don’t check. But at least I’ve never put it in the dishwasher (Google “keyboard in dishwasher” and you get all kinds of people who have tried it.)

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