Patterico's Pontifications


Photo: Just How Filthy Is Your Computer Keyboard?

Filed under: General,Humor,Real Life — Patterico @ 11:59 pm

Pretty damn filthy. At least, if it’s half as filthy as my daughter’s science fair project suggests:

In addition to our toilet seat and computer keyboard, our daughter swabbed and tested her own mouth, under my wife’s fingernails, the TV remote control, and the telephone. She rubbed each bacteria-laden swab in a solution in a Petri dish, and left all of them in a dark drawer for a week. Her hypothesis was that the object that had the most bacteria was the telephone. The experimental result for the most bacteria-ridden area discovered in the house?

Under my wife’s fingernails.


21 Responses to “Photo: Just How Filthy Is Your Computer Keyboard?”

  1. Hope you have a nice dog house to sleep in.

    daleyrocks (ae76ce)

  2. Yup. It’s a refuge from the bacteria!

    Patterico (c218bd)

  3. Jesus Christ, does your wife never scrub under her nails?

    And I dare her to ever tell your child to wash their hands again.

    Possible title for the poster-board sign for the fair: “Bacteria in the home: Where the F**K has mom been putting her fingers??”

    Scott Jacobs (d027b8)

  4. Important note to SJ…Mr. Pot, meet Mr. Kettle.

    The Bacteria Who Know Where Scott's Fingers Have Been (4f2244)

  5. Bacteria are everywhere and the type is far more important than how many. We used to periodically touch our fingertips to a blood-agar plate to see if any of the OR staff had Staph aureus (The bad type) on our hands. The other good place to look is the nose.

    There was just an article on how dirty grocery carts are.

    There may well be bacteria a mile deep in the earth. They may even be the source of oil.

    We could not do without them. People who have been on antibiotics too long have trouble because their blood doesn’t clot well. No vitamin K.

    Mike K (8f3f19)

  6. Hmm, I wonder if Cheez-It crumbs are a high-quality growth medium?

    Captain Ned (d86d5a)

  7. As Mike K said, type is more important than quantity. But as for quantity, toilet seats get washed with soap and water every so often when you clean the bathroom. (And if anyone doesn’t clean their bathroom on a regular basis, PLEASE don’t tell me about it. I don’t want to know.) OTOH, keyboards almost never get cleaned — and soap & water is the wrong thing to use if you still want to be able to use the keyboard afterwards.

    Robin Munn (d55aaa)

  8. Ewwwwww!

    My cousin, a critical care RN, is a clean freak. Hand sanitizer constantly, everything in her house scrubbed with disinfectant, etc. Her two boys, 6 mo. older and 7 mo. younger than my son, were always sick. My son, OTOH, slept with his dog, would grab a sandwich with dirty hands and eat on the run back out the door to play, and although I cleaned my house, I was no clean freak or disinfectant fanatic. My kids were never sick. I figure by trying to protect kids from all germs, as my cousin did, you just leave them open for infections when they encounter those same germs somewhere else.

    Sara (Pal2Pal) (4d3f49)

  9. Filed under “Stuff I Really Didn’t Want to Know”

    Gesundheit (aab7c6)

  10. i am with gesundheit on this, but all this tells me is that you guys are nasty.

    i mean really, the correct title of the post should be “how filthy is MY computer keyboard?”

    (just giving you a hard time. very clever–albeit embarrassing–work by your daughter)

    Aaron Worthing (e7d72e)

  11. *hiccupy sobs* We — need — a safe place — to stay tooo — like all the other little ones — in the — house!!!


    The bacteria, burying their teeny faces in Mom's fingertip (325a59)

  12. Patterico wrote:

    Under my wife’s fingernails.


    This is host’s way of telling us that she digs her fingernails into his back during coitus. 🙂 He must be doing something right.

    Of course, on the internet, we’re all fantastic lovers.

    The amused Dana (3e4784)

  13. As it happens, potato chips and Mountain Dew are usually consumed at the computer desk. Every once in a while, I turn the keyboard upside down and try to knock the crumbs out, but I really need to take it downstairs and use the shop-vac on it.

    The junk food junkie Dana (3e4784)

  14. Miss Munn wrote:

    And if anyone doesn’t clean their bathroom on a regular basis, PLEASE don’t tell me about it. I don’t want to know.

    Of course I don’t clean my bathroom; that’s what I have a wife for! Hello!

    The sexist pig Dana (3e4784)

  15. It doesn’t mean the bacteria found under your wife’s fingernails or anywhere is harmful to you. We already have a plethora of bacterial colonies inside our bodies right now, and we have an immune system that can deal with them.

    EC (ac8463)

  16. EC

    i think a clip from that episode of Futurama when Fry got worms, but they ended up boosting his intelligence would support your thesis.

    Aaron Worthing (e7d72e)

  17. 16. Miss Munn wrote:

    Actually, I’m a guy. Don’t feel too embarrassed, though — I get that a lot from people who’ve only ever met me through a text-only medium (no voice or face-to-face). According to the 1990 name-frequency numbers (which are the most recent available from the U.S. census), Robin is the first name of 0.208% of the female population of the U.S., but only 0.032% of the male population of the U.S. So it’s usually a safe enough assumption that someone named Robin is female — but in my case, it was wrong.

    Robin Munn (d55aaa)

  18. Aaron,

    Right. People get needlessly alarmed when they read stories like this where bacteria is found everywhere. What they don’t realize is that, yes, bacteria are already everywhere and have been everywhere for a long, long time. The human race hasn’t been wiped out yet! Healthy people can deal with bacteria, even those found under ADA spouses’ fingernails! Just keep them away from food and you’ll be fine. It’s only when they start getting out of balance that we have to worry. The small amounts found here and there don’t pose a serious threat to normal, healthy people.

    EC (ac8463)

  19. _____________________________________

    There was just an article on how dirty grocery carts are.

    Similarly, I just read the following…, March 7:

    The seats of some well used methods of public transportation have been analyzed by a biologist and the results might keep commuters on their feet. A supervisor with San Francisco State University’s biology lab recently tested the bacterial content of a random BART seat and a Muni seat.

    On Muni’s plastic seats she found two forms of harmless bacteria, and after using an alcohol wipe on the seat no bacteria was detected. But the cloth seats on BART told an entirely different story: tests of the seats on BART revealed fecal and skin borne bacteria that were also resistant to antibiotics.

    The test also found at least nine different strains of bacteria and several types of mold on the seat. And even after the cushion was cleaned with an alcohol wipe strains of harmful bacteria were still present.

    (And if anyone doesn’t clean their bathroom on a regular basis, PLEASE don’t tell me about it. I don’t want to know.)
    What’s really nasty are certain public restrooms that have toilet seats made of black plastic. I guess their manufacturers (and purchasers) believe that if stains, smears and residues on a toilet sear aren’t easily visible, they therefore don’t exist. [Bleech]

    Mark (411533)

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