Keeping your workforce healthy is essential to maintaining business as usual. However, just a single infection among your office personnel could bring your operations grinding to a halt. Unfortunately, with equipment often being shared between colleagues, it doesn’t take long for one infection to turn into many. While the exposure to droplets through the air is the primary way SARS-CoV-2 (the virus that causes COVID-19) is transmitted, it and other diseases can also be transmitted through contaminated surfaces, which is why it’s essential that you know how to disinfect a computer properly.
In this post, we’ll give you some practical advice on when to disinfect a computer and the steps for disinfecting it. We’ll also tell you which disinfectant products are capable of killing COVID-19 so that you know your efforts aren’t wasted.
Protecting Your Office from COVID-19 And Other Illnesses
Fortunately, there are steps that you can take to protect your office from COVID-19 and other illnesses, which include disinfecting your equipment. We’ll get into that in a moment, as you may also want to consider the following steps:
- Ensure that any ventilation systems on your premises are working correctly. Weather permitting, you can also increase air circulation by opening doors and windows, though only where it’s safe to do so.
- Consider temporarily removing or banning the use of “hot desks” (shared workstations).
- Reiterate the importance of handwashing to your staff.
Above all, ensure that you’re regularly disinfecting your office, including all desks and computer equipment. Not sure when to disinfect a computer? Check out our guide below for a quick overview that includes when to disinfect a computer, the steps to take, and the recommended disinfectants that can kill COVID-19.
When to Disinfect a Computer
Knowing when to disinfect a computer can reduce the risk of COVID-19 or other contaminants being spread from one person to the next. The frequency with which you disinfect your equipment can vary depending on your time and resources. However, there are a few recommended scenarios for keeping your computer equipment clean, which we’ve highlighted below.
Disinfecting a laptop while on the go
A desktop computer needs to be disinfected after use, but perhaps less frequently than a laptop. Typically, laptops tend to be used outside of the home or office, which means that they can be more susceptible to picking up germs. This is especially relevant during such a virulent pandemic, with the coronavirus having been known to survive on surfaces for up to 3 days. Therefore, you should get into the habit of disinfecting any laptop computer that has been used in a public space.
Disinfecting a computer after exposure to COVID-19
If you’ve had a reported case of COVID-19 in your office, then you should immediately take steps to disinfect any equipment or surfaces that have been touched or used by this person. Ideally, if your resources allow it, you should disinfect the entire office more thoroughly after a reported case of COVID-19. The virus can spread quickly from a single point of origin, and we’ve already discussed how this virus can survive for up to 3 days on surfaces, so be vigilant.
Establishing a routine for disinfecting your computer
While the above two methods of disinfecting your computer are reactive, you can also be proactive in safeguarding your office against COVID-19. Establish a schedule for thoroughly cleaning your office and all of its equipment. This was already commonplace in public bathrooms prior to the pandemic, so there are plenty of well-established routines and practices to draw from.
Steps for Disinfecting Your Computer
The steps for disinfecting your computer can vary slightly depending on whether you’re cleaning a desktop computer or laptop. However, they’re largely very similar. Follow our step-by-step guide below to avoid any missteps or damage to your devices:
- Power down your computer. Disconnect any power cables, and disconnect the cables running between devices, such as those from your computer unit to your screens.
- Shake loose any debris. If you’re using a laptop, turn it upside down. Alternatively, do the same for a desktop computer keyboard. Gently shake the device or accessory to loosen any chunks of debris, including food, dust, and other detritus. Avoid vigorous shaking that could damage internal connections.
- Sanitize your keyboard and mouse. Use a microfiber cloth with a disinfectant that is included on the EPA’s List N which includes products that are proven to thoroughly kill SARS-CoV-2. Use this combination on all exposed surfaces and accessories, including your keyboard and mouse. Take time and care, ensuring that you don’t miss any surfaces. For laptops, you can do the same for the touchpad and keyboard, but ensure there’s no excess moisture on your wipe or cloth that could drip inside, as this could cause damage.
- Sanitize the remaining surfaces. Using your disinfectant products, thoroughly clean the remaining equipment. If you’re disinfecting freestanding computer monitors, carefully wipe down the screens and other hard surfaces, including buttons. However, take care to apply disinfectants directly to your cloth; you should never spray directly onto the screen.
- Use compressed air to remove stubborn dirt. Holding the can around 6 inches from your keyboard, blast away the remaining dust and dirt from keyboards using compressed air.
Choosing the Right Disinfectant
When disinfecting your office, make sure that you choose the right disinfectants that are guaranteed to kill COVID-19 on contact. Typically, you should wash cleaning cloths after each use or use disposable cloths or paper towels that can be thrown away after use.
Choosing the right disinfectant is essential, but commercial disinfecting products aren’t the only option. Regular household cleaning products can also effectively eliminate the virus. For disinfecting your office with suspected or confirmed COVID-19 infections, look for products that contain around 0.05% hypochlorous acid like Pathonex that are included on EPA’s List N.
Be aware that you should never combine cleaning products together, as doing so could cause harmful reactions.
Thorough disinfection of your office and computer equipment can help to protect you and your staff from COVID-19 infections. With less risk, you’re less likely to see an impact on your normal business operations. Just be sure to select the right disinfectants for COVID-19 and establish good routines that can be repeated with minimal disruption. For more information, check out the Resources page on our website.