Keep computer equipment dust-free

PUBLISHED : Friday, 13 October, 2000, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 13 October, 2000, 12:00am

In our first article, we talked about the intangible definition of 'computer hygiene'. The tangible definition refers to the physical maintenance of your computer including the casing, monitor, keyboard, mouse, printer, microphone and all other accessories.

Recent research conducted by the University of De Montfort in Britain, Dataquest and SAPONA revealed that a monitor screen, keyboard and printer may harbour up to 240 types of micro- organisms.

If the telephone is counted as a computer accessory, the number increases many fold.

The micro-organisms include serious disease-causing bacteria such as streptococcus, diptheria and certain types of herpes viruses.

In addition, the seemingly harmless dust on your screen coupled with grease and pro longed focusing on the screen can affect your eyesight.

As each of us sheds approximately 10 million micro-organism-laden dead skin cells per day, one can imagine how many end up on the keyboard if we spend hours on the computer.

To get the best out of your computer and ensure that it does not adversely affect your health, we suggest the following:

A computer with a cooling fan is like a mini-vacuum cleaner so the area surrounding it should be kept as dust-free as possible. Place your computer equipment away from open windows, bulletin boards, chalkboards and pencil sharpeners.

Good ventilation is important to the longevity of your computer. Make sure there is enough space between each workstation for the free flow of air.

When not using the computer, disconnect the keyboard, turn it upside down and tap it to get rid of dust and anything else that may have fallen in between the keys.

Then, use a soft brush to gently dust between the keys.

Use a soft, lint-free cloth with a non-alcoholic cleaning solution to wipe down surfaces.

Ensure that the cleaning solution is not sprayed directly on to computer equipment.

A brush or cotton bud sprayed with cleaning solution can be used to clean between the keys.

Use some pressurised 'canned air' to blow out any remaining dust or moisture.

Wipe down the casing of all your equipment using a little cleaning solution on a soft cloth.

Open the casing of the computer and, using canned air, blow out the dust inside.

Dust around and under your computer weekly.

Computers (especially hard drives) and accessories tend to last longer and be more efficient if you use them at the optimum level. Form good habits and you will notice the difference.

When the time comes to renew your computer, remember that there are many people in Hong Kong who do not have a computer but are in need of one.

Do not simply throw away your old computer. It may still be useful. Donate it to a charitable organisation or post it on our free 'donation platform' where others may find good use for it. This way, you will extend the life of usable equipment and saving resources at the same time. is a non-profit making Web site which aims to promote environmental conservation through the Internet