Your Computer Is So Much Dirtier Than It Looks
Cleaning it may help it run better — and keep you healthy to boot
You might feel lonely if you’ve been working from home this past year with only your partner, your roommates, or your own damn self as company. But you’re not as alone as you may feel. In fact, you have millions of co-workers — and they’re currently milling around the watercooler that is your desk. They are chatting, catching up, and most importantly, breeding.
These co-workers, of course, are bacteria, fungi, and the occasional virus, and they’re mostly harmless. But while it’s unlikely that anything hanging out on your personal computer keyboard will lead to your death, the conditions could lead to your computer’s early demise — and could, in the right circumstances, make you sick.
Mostly, though, your computer can just get really, really gross.
Roberta Piket, the founder of laptop repair and information technology shop Geek Girls IT Services, once picked up an extremely buggy computer from a client. “I sent it to the contractor who was repairing the laptop, and he informed me that when he opened it up, it was filled with dead roaches,” she says. “It had been sitting around in a Brooklyn apartment for a while, and somehow they had gotten into the vents … it probably has something to do with why this device stopped working.”
The term “buggy” originated in the very, very early days of computing. According to a recent Gizmodo article, the term was coined back in the 1940s, when a moth somehow got into a big, early computer. While the term commonly refers to glitches nowadays, more literal cases aren’t unheard of.
“With laptops, you have that extra issue that anything that’s in there can attract insects.”
“How do they get in there? I hate to say it — I would never name names — but: uncleanliness,” Joe Silverman, CEO of New York Computer Help, told Gizmodo. He says cockroaches are attracted both to the heat generated by the computer as well as a common habit. “And then there’s crumbs. A typical computer user might, for instance, eat breakfast over the keyboard, or bake and cook over it — which is definitely happening a lot more…