Last updated: February 16. 2013 6:31PM - 519 Views

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You might think that of everything we come in daily contact with, computers would be relatively germ free.

Well, they're not. Quite the contrary, computers and other electronics seem to be adept at sucking up large amounts of dust and dirt. And the keyboard is among the worst of the culprits.

The design of most keyboards virtually ensures their status as a crumb and dust trap, and they have the added negative of being very hard to clean. Various solutions are available – compressed air, special dusters, even a curious kind of goo that picks up dirt.

But short of removing the keys (an annoying and time-consuming process), there's no easy way to get a keyboard clean.

Computer peripheral manufacturer Logitech has come up with an innovative (albeit obvious) solution: a washable keyboard.

The K310 has a design that is inherently easy to clean – instead of depressing into a sunken area on the keyboard, as is common, the Logitech Washable Keyboard features keys that are slightly raised, making dusting easier.

More important, the keyboard can be submerged in water and built-in drainage holes let the excess run out. The keyboard also has a special quick-dry coating so you don't need to wait all day for it to dry before using it again.

This is a great idea. Things like keyboards, mice and even smartphones and tablet devices should be washable.

Not only do they get dirty very easily, but they're germ magnets.

On top of that, most of us know how inconvenient it can be to spill coffee or soda on a keyboard.

Assuming the keyboard survives the dousing, you're liable to have sticky keys for some time – no matter how thoroughly you clean them.

The Logitech Washable Keyboard neatly solves both problems. It's less likely to short out when liquid is spilled on it (I'm sure Logitech doesn't recommend you try it), but if that happens the correction is as close as the nearest sink.

The only downside I see is that Logitech doesn't yet offer a wireless version, which would eliminate another annoyance – crawling around to yank out the USB cord before cleaning.

The Logitech Washable Keyboard will be available starting this month and has an MSRP of $39.99 – a bit steep for a keyboard that's not wireless, but still pretty reasonable considering the product.

Nick DeLorenzo is director of interactive and new media for The Times Leader. E-mail him at ndelorenzo@timesleader.com.

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