Computer Keyboards That Can Outlive the Office Klutz

Updated: June 12, 2009

Sound familiar? For me, it's my kids and crumbs that threaten the integrity of my keyboard. And then there is the the whole germs thing: the average keyboard is just brimming with germs.

So what can you do? Back in my office, I swiped down the phone and keyboard every few days with a wipe to keep it clean. It wasn't a perfect method since getting the edges and crevices can be a serious project, but it did the trick for making me feel better about the whole germ thing. As for my coffee sloshing coworker, well... some things aren't helped by simple wiping. He needed a new keyboard. Again.

Joan Weinberg, who recently ordered an industrible keyboard for her home office, says that she can't wait to try the one she recently ordered. "I was listening to the BBC when the report came on that a typical keyboard has more bacteria on it than a public toilet seat. I have a home office - and lots of cats - and there must be who-knows-what lurking on the keys, and worse, in between. I sometimes use a Q-Tip but this becomes tiresome. The spray air doesn't really work except for crumbs. Voila! The washable keyboard," says Weinberg.

If your office is full of the germ-weary and klutzy crowd, then maybe it's time to trade your traditional computer keyboards for ones geared toward a cleaner and less destructible office environment. The so-called indestructible keyboards are available in a variety of makes and models. Here are a few of the cooler ones on the market:

From Devlin Electronics, there is the CleanKey keyboard. (http://www.devlin.co.uk/keyboards/healthcare.html) It was created for the healthcare industry, so that medical professionals could prevent the spread of viruses via shared computers. The cool thing about this keyboard is that it's named for an actual key on it - the CleanKey, which when depressed will disable the unit for cleaning (so that you don't have to turn off the computer).

Another interesting keyboard is the SKM Washable Keyboard with Pointing Device (http://www.ruggedtech.com/symcod.html). The silicone rubber-enclosed unit has a rigid case like a traditional keyboard but it's completely sealed and totally washable. And with the built-in mouse, you can keep that germ- and coffee-free at the same time.

The Glowtype Virtually Indestructible Illuminated Silicone Flex Keyboard (http://www.amazon.com/Glowtype-Virtually-Indestructib-Silicone-109KEY/dp/B0009B0H08) takes the cake for coolness. Not only is it totally washable, but it lights up! And it rolls up! Yes, this silicone keyboard is sort of like a Silpat for typing. Certainly sounds fun.

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