I have a skin condition which causes the skin on my face to dry out and flake off. Sometimes I have good days and I have little issues, others I have bad ones and it can look like a blizzard has hit my desk and keyboard. I've been to the doctor about it and have had many treatments and creams thrown at me, but alas the condition prevails and I mostly deal with it the best I can.

The biggest issue I have is that my keyboard and surrounding area can look quite bad, which can be embarrassing when an impromptu meeting occurs at my desk. I try to keep it clean, but some days that would require me cleaning my keyboard/desk every 5 minutes just to keep on top of it and it's not the most efficient use of my time. Generally I use a cloth and try to wipe the dust and dry skin particles away. Are there better ways to handle this?

I'm in an open office environment, so using anything noisy wouldn't be the best solution.

Minor note

The reason I consider this a workplace issue, is because at home I honestly don't care about my keyboard/desk getting dirty and I can clean it once in a while in a deep spring clean. At work, that's not really possible as:

  • I'm in a more public environment. Keeping up appearances can be important
  • The equipment and surrounding area do not belong to me, I should be handing all equipment back to the office in a suitable condition
  • Other people may also want to use my equipment, e.g. during code review, and giving them dirty stuff to use isn't exactly professional
  • 2
    You might want to also ask on the life hacks stack
    – user44108
    Commented Sep 28, 2017 at 7:12
  • @SnarkShark Huh, new site on me. Will take a look. Thanks for the lead
    – Draken
    Commented Sep 28, 2017 at 7:13
  • If it's dry skin flaking off, then use oil and periodically wipe your face. Your skin won't dry and if it does flake it will stick to the oil rather than fall around. No real difference between your problem and bad dandruff.
    – Kilisi
    Commented Sep 28, 2017 at 9:25
  • @Kilisi Been trying different methods to stop the skin flaking and sadly I've yet to find an effective one. Creams, oils, regular appliance. No matter what I've tried, if my skin doesn't like me one day, I get a snowstorm on my desk
    – Draken
    Commented Sep 28, 2017 at 10:55
  • 4
    Coconut oil, has antibacterial properties, is natural and good for whatever ails you, but most importantly is slightly thicker than other stuff, stays on the skin for hours instead of being absorbed and will make the flakes stick to it rather than scatter, then you just wipe them off into a handkerchief. It's a poor mans remedy for flaky problems (and skin in general) in the Pacific Islands.
    – Kilisi
    Commented Sep 28, 2017 at 10:58

7 Answers 7


There are some static cleaning wipes, which should make it easier to dust off especially the keyboard.

Also a light-colored Keyboard could help so the flakes won´t stand out so much.

  • 5
    In addition to having wipes or a rag handy, a can of air is always useful in a pinch.
    – David K
    Commented Sep 28, 2017 at 12:09
  • @DavidK Isn't that noisy?
    – Draken
    Commented Sep 28, 2017 at 13:00
  • 2
    @Draken It might be annoying if you used it all the time, but using it periodically before meeting with people or letting someone use your keyboard would probably be fine.
    – David K
    Commented Sep 28, 2017 at 13:18
  • @DavidK that is what I do for day to day stuff.
    – Neo
    Commented Sep 28, 2017 at 15:30
  • 1
    I would say use the air as a last resort, for hard to reach places. You don't want to just blow the skin around everywhere... that's a lot more disgusting than having it around your desk.
    – Nelson
    Commented Dec 1, 2017 at 16:19

There is a cleaning "slime" for lack of a better term that you can use on your keyboard. you put it over your keyboard, then lift it up and all the dirt and particulate matter is picked up instantly. Aside from that, restaurant paper that they cover tables with, or any other covering that you can take home daily for your desk would be a good idea.

If you have a meeting at your desk, quickly remove the paper or fold the covering, and use the jell.

an example of jell cleaners can be found here


This is more a lifehacks answer, but here we go...

Keyboard condoms.

enter image description here

This is what my dentist uses on her keyboard. She will put her (gloved) fingers in the patient's mouth, obviously, then use the computer to browse x-rays and patient files... this makes the keyboard a contamination risk. Thus, "keyboard condoms" are a nice solution. They can be disinfected, washed, changed between patients, etc.

In your case, this thing would prevent your skin dust from getting inside the keyboard, and you would just shake it on top of the trash bin at the end of your shift.


Membrane keyboards can be very hard to clean when things like crumbs or in your case skin falls into it, and removing the keycaps often can cause the clasps to snap. You could look into getting a mechanical keyboard (you can get ones with switches as 'quiet' as normal membrane keyboards) where the keycaps are easily removable, exposing the bare PCB below it. This can make for easy and effective cleaning.

Alternatively (or additionally) you could look into purchasing a thin silicone cover like this one for removal when others need to use your equipment.


Some ideas:

  • Put a thin plastic film on top of your desk, and when an impromptu meeting happens, you can remove it and all of the flakes on it quickly.
  • Discuss this problem with your doctor; maybe other people have come up with solutions.
  • Talk to your employer (and maybe your colleagues too) and let them understand that you cannot be expected to keep the equipment clean due to your condition.

Are there better ways to handle this?

Besides using some gel cleaner like already suggested in other answer, you could try using an Electronic Duster of some kind.

These basically are compressed gas cans or devices, which you can use to blow the flakes or any other light things off from your desktop, keyboard etc. They work really well, I use them frequently (as I sometimes eat on my desk on critical days), and they are specifically designed to be used on electronic components (you could even use it on a raw circuit).

I prefer these over gel cleaners, as those cleaners have to be replaced quite often. That or you will have to then clean the gel cleaner if you want to reuse it, as the particles are stuck to it. Also, comparing prices of both seems to suggest that these dusters are cheaper in average.

Another thing is that those gel cleaners seem to generate more waste than Electronic Dusters or compressed gas (plastic envelope, the gel itself, etc.), whereas most Electronic dusters can be refilled (or worst case, they are cans, so easier to recycle).

Given the nature of my company, we happen to have an air compressor with us. When I run out of Electronic Dusters I have used this as a successful alternative, so that could be another option you may consider.

  • Besides, I have found really entertaining to use those dusters to poke around a bit with my coworkers ... startling them with some random air burst when they don't expect it ... maybe a perk of those Dusters (and a crazy prank from my part), but not something I would recommend (even less if the company is buying those dusters).
    – DarkCygnus
    Commented Nov 29, 2017 at 18:52

I would recommend seeking an arrangement with your employer that you can work from home when your condition surfaces in a particularly bad way. If nothing else, you'll be more productive because you won't be constantly distracted keeping your workspace presentable.

  • 4
    I'm not going to work from home due to a non contagious condition. I also don't know which days it may flair up, sometimes it doesn't start until the middle of the day
    – Draken
    Commented Sep 28, 2017 at 13:01

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