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Keyboards carry "more bacteria than a toilet seat"

Some keyboards carry more harmful bacteria than a toilet seat, research from consumer watchdog Which? has found.

Researchers tested computer keyboards from a typical London office and found bacteria that could put their user at high risk of becoming ill.

The germs found could cause food poisoning symptoms such as diarrhoea and other stomach upsets.

In one case, a microbiologist recommended the removal of a keyboard as it had 150 times the recommended limit of bacteria - that meant it was five times filthier than a toilet seat that was swabbed in the same test.

The main cause of a bug-infested keyboard is eating lunch at your desk, as the crumbs encourage the growth of millions of bacteria.

Poor personal hygiene, such as dodging the wash basin after going to the toilet, may also be to blame.

Despite the obvious health hazard of a dirty keyboard, the frequency people clean their computers varies widely, the Which? Computing survey shows.

It found that 10% said they never cleaned their keyboard, with a further 20% admitting to never cleaning their mouse.

Almost half cleaned their keyboard less than once a month.

Which? Computing editor Sarah Kidner said: "Most people don't give much thought to the grime that builds up on their PC but if you don't clean your computer you might as well eat your lunch off the toilet.

Which? Computing gives the following tips for a cleaner keyboard:

  • First shut down and unplug your PC.
  • Wipe surfaces with a soft, lightly dampened, lint-free cloth.
  • shake out any dust or food crumbs from the keyboard and disinfect with alcohol wipes.