Phones and keyboards in need of disinfection

08 March 2011

A recent study has found that keyboards and phones are harbouring harmful bacteria without proper use of bactericidal cleaning supplies

Office workers are exposed to more germs from their phones and keyboards than toilet seats, scientists reveal.  Work stations contain nearly 400 times as many microbes as lavatories, it is claimed.

Office equipment should be regularly cleaned and disinfected to prevent the spread of viruses and bacteria responsible for disease. Independantly tested cleaning supplies are an essential part of maintaining clean and hygienic working conditions.  The reality of our grubby working environments is exposed in a study by the University of Arizona.


A desk is capable of supporting 10 million microbes and the average office contains 20,961 microbes per square inch, according to research.

" Desks are really bacteria cafeterias"  says Microbiologist Dr Charles Gerba, of the University of Arizona, who carried out the research.  The key offenders are telephones, which harbour up to 25,127 microbes per square inch, keyboards 3,295 and computer mice 1,676.

By contrast, the average toilet seat contains 49 microbes per square inch, the survey showed.

"When someone is infected with a cold or flu bug the surfaces they touch during the day become germ transfer points because some cold and flu viruses can survive on surfaces for up to 72 hours.  "An office can become an incubator."

Dr Gerba's study found bacteria levels increased drastically during the day, peaking after lunch.

Dr Gerba said: "Without cleaning, a small area on your desk or phone can sustain millions of bacteria that could potentially cause illness."

"The superhighways for bacteria are hands and the surfaces we touch" according to Professor Sally Bloomfield, microbiologist.  Food spills, such as tea and biscuits, can support mini eco-systems, but cleaning of keyboards and phones is not always given high priority. Also adding that the study reinforced the need for good hygiene practice both at work and in the home.

"Viruses are transferred by our hands, especially cold viruses."

She said whilst it was impossible to turn our surroundings into sterile zones,  we can minimise the risk by washing our hands regularly and using alcoholic wipes or cleaner and disinfectant on office furniture like phones and keyboards.

The study found that where office workers who were told to clean their desks with disinfecting wipes, bacterial levels were reduced by 99%.

British microbiologist Professor Sally Bloomfield said the study reinforced the need for good hygiene practice both at work and in the home.

The Cleaning shop recommends using a  bactericidal cleaner on desks, office surfaces, phones and keyboards.  To clean away any dirt or bio nutrient and at the same time the bactericide will kill the germs on the surface being cleaned.

Spray the cleaner eithe directly onto the surface to be cleaned or directly onto your cleaning cloth or wipe.  If the area is particularly grimy repeat as necessary.

Cleaning products you may wish to use are Spray & Wipe a cleaner and disinfectant with a pleasing fragrance or Violet Ready to use, again the product cleans and disinfects in one operation with a fresh violet fragrance.

Both cleaners are independantly tested by the British Analytical Board for their ability to disinfect.

Keeping your hands clean with regular hand washing and use of alcohol hand gels will also greatly cut down the spread of germs around the office.

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