Non-Porn Computer Filth!

My friends are well aware of my germaphobia. They’re entertained by it. They also know I’m unapologetic for my cleanliness “hang-up.”

I never touch restroom exit doorknobs. I’ve seen too many guys in the restroom “zip up” then walk straight for the exit without washing. After I’ve washed my hands, I (like many), use the paper towel to open the door. If a wastepaper basket is by the door, then great -slam dunk.

If not, I’ll open the door with my paper, hold the door open with my foot and try a 3 point-shot. If I miss then the next janitor crew will find my paper on the floor because I will not touch that nasty doorknob. I feel that building management should have considered my concern when placing their wastepaper basket.

If someone coughs near me in public I show no facial reaction, but immediately, calmly, close my mouth and stop breathing for at least 30 seconds as I meander away to “cleaner air.”

I use antibacterial hand-disinfectant frequently and generously. I won’t touch my face after shaking hands with someone -anyone -until I’ve applied my “germ-killer-juice” (that tingling means it’s working!) or better yet, washed my hands.

I do realize I may be a bit overboard about avoiding germs but let me give you some perspective on my hang-up. I spend at least half of my working hours typing on keyboards and clicking on mice that don’t belong to me as I help clients with their computers. You would not believe how horribly, appallingly, inexcusably filthy keyboards and mice can become. I know that some of the guys that “just leave” the restroom have been typing on the computer that now needs my hands to touch it. Oh, it’s disgusting. I’m certain that women are much cleaner and always wash their hands before leaving the restroom, therefore, I don’t find them as worrisome. [wink-wink, nudge-nudge] I once sat down to help a computer user with a problem. I immediately noticed that the W key looked like a V key because the left half of the W key was covered in grime. The space bar had two shiny “clean spots” near the middle where thumbs consistently rubbed the visible “ickiness” off. The mouse button, when clicked, took about half a second to pop back up (probably from internal dried Coke or coffee). Totally grossed out, I sat, folded my hands and stared a the keyboard for a good 30 seconds in disbelief -waiting for something to move. Eventually, out of curiosity, I flipped over the keyboard. Half a peanut fell out from one side and a small, dry, green piece of pasta from the other. I wondered, “Did the peanut and pasta both fall in on the same day? Week? Year? Was the pasta originally spinach pasta? Or had the color just, well, ‘changed.’”

There are two reasons to keep your personal computer clean. The first reason is to keep the computer healthy and functioning as it should. The second reason is to keep the computer-user healthy and functioning as he/she should. While I don’t necessarily insist on my level of germ-awareness for everyone, it never hurts to wash your hands and to keep the things you touch as clean as possible. I do a general, quick cleaning of my computer once a week. That keeps both me and it functioning nicely.

Below are some great tools and tips that will help make computer cleaning quick and safe.

Tools:

  1. Compressed Air This stuff is fun. It’s a can with a straw that will blow away heavy dust and other dry, light debris from inside the keyboard and other parts of your computer that are difficult to reach. Have some good ventilation when blowing things out because the kicked up dust can cause a sneeze-fest.
  2. A cloth dampened with an alcohol-based cleaning product. Don’t use bleach or ammonia based cleaners or they may destroy the painted letters on your keyboard and possibly damage the exterior of your computer.
  3. Cotton swabs for cleaning cracks and crevices. Avoid synthetic or materials that can produce static as these may damage your computer’s delicate components.

Tips:

  1. In addition to wiping down the exterior of your computer with a damp cloth, wipe all dirt from air vents in the computer and monitor -they’ll both breath a sigh of relief.
  2. Flip over the keyboard and shake gently -be warned that what falls out may startle you or may have grown hair. Be ready to run away if you haven’t done this for a while.
  3. Wipe around and between keys and buttons using a cotton swab. Gently clean the keys until you can clearly see the alphabet again.
  4. Remove the mouse ball and wipe the internal mouse contacts carefully using cotton cloth or swab.
  5. Open the CD-ROM drive and wipe out the CD drawer. If the CD drawer causes a CD to become dirty it won’t play correctly and that will be a bummer when you are anxious to install your new software.
  6. Remove dust from your mouse pad using a piece of tape. Or you can use one of the same lint-removing rollers that are used for clothes.
  7. If you share a computer with several people, keep antibacterial alcohol-based lotion with you and apply it generously after using the keyboard.

A little bit of regular cyber-hygiene can go a long way to keeping you and your computer functional! Go clean yours. Do it for me.

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