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I have an acquaintance who works at a school where there was a suspected case of swine flu and they had to sterilize all the surfaces in the school, including the computers in the computer lab. What would sterilize a computer in such a situation without damaging it? Would simple alcohol wipes suffice? These would be standard desktop machines with a mix of CRT and LCD monitors.

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At the risk of being controversial, medical advice in the UK says the virus can live on a hard surface for "up to 24 hours" so anything you do is effectively a token gesture –  Rowland Shaw Aug 15 '09 at 7:30
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up vote 4 down vote accepted

An oldie from Slashdot: Disinfection Technology/Methods for Computer Equipment?

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You can buy wipes specially designed for cleaning LCD screens. I'm not sure if they would steralize to medical standards, though. This comment suggests diluted alcohol is an option.

For keyboards, if they're "normal" keyboards, you can usually pull the keys off and run them through the wash. Just remember what goes where :-) (and make sure you can reassemble them before you pull them all apart -- some of the bigger keys are more fiddly)

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I bet that if you take the time you need for disassembling, washing, drying and reassembling all the keyboards and multiply that by your hourly rate you will find that it is actually cheaper to buy new ones. Given the state that keyboards in shared computer labs are typically in, that might be a good idea anyway. (If you look at all the stuff you find on and especially inside a keyboard, swine flu might be the least of your worries.) –  Jörg W Mittag Aug 15 '09 at 8:47
    
You don't even need to disassemble keyboards to wash them. I just throw them in the washer (lowest temp, water saver mode, no soap, no dry cycle, make sure it dries completely afterwards - let it dry for a few days). This won't work for all keyboards (don't throw keyboards with LCDs into the washer, for example). This may also work for certain inkjets which spilled ink all over themselves. So far, mine have all survived it, although I won't buy you a new one if yours doesn't - no guarantees, do at your own risk! :-) –  LKM Aug 15 '09 at 9:13
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superuser.com/questions/15609/… –  fretje Aug 15 '09 at 10:48
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