How to Clean your Computer Keyboard

Think back to the last time you cleaned your computer keyboard.  If you can’t remember the last time you cleaned yours, then you may might be surprised on how dirty it has ended up. Pick up your keyboard immediately and turn it upside down, give it a good shake outside or over some old newspaper. You will be amazed at what you find will fall from your keyboard. Keyboards act as safe havens for all sorts of germs, dust and dirt. Even if you avoid the dirt and crumbs you can see, there’ll still be the issue of the bacteria you can’t. As a vital part of the computer, it’s very important that you allow your keyboard to live a long life through care and frequent cleaning.  It is recommended that you should be cleaning your keyboard at least twice a month and should be part of your computer maintenance plan..

How to clean your keyboard

We all live busy lives so you might be happy with just a Quick clean for now. If you have the time then I suggest that you look at the more deep clean for embedded dirt.

Quick clean

Before beginning this process, either power off your laptop or disconnect the keyboard from your PC.

  1. Tap lightly on the back of your keyboard after turning it over. Crumbs and dirt will fall out, so consider placing something beneath the keyboard to catch the mess. Some old news paper should do the trick
  2. Blow compressed air in and around your keycaps. This will loosen any dirt that stayed behind after a pat on the back.
  3. Wipe the keycaps using isopropyl alcohol (standard rubbing alcohol) and a cotton swab or lint-free cloth. Note: Do not use ethyl alcohol — it will likely remove the printed lettering on your keys and other surface finishing.

Deep clean for embedded dirt

Before beginning this process, either power off your PC or disconnect the keyboard. This process is recommended for PC keyboards only, as most laptop keycaps are more difficult to remove, and can, in some cases, void the warranty when removed.

  1. Take a photo of your entire keyboard. We’re about to take off all the keys, so you’ll want this photo as a reference for reassembly.
  2. Gently pry up the keycaps using a small flat-head screwdriver.

    Note: Flat chiclet keys found on most laptops have delicate mechanisms that might easily break if you attempt to pry them up. We do not recommend the average user attempts this.

  3. Blow away dirt using compressed air, or suck up the dirt using a small vacuum. Be careful as to not damage any exposed mechanics or electronics.
  4. Wipe the keyboard base using isopropyl alcohol and a cotton swab or lint-free cloth.
  5. Note: Do not use ethyl alcohol — it will likely remove the printed lettering on your keys and other surface finishing.

  6. Scrub each removed keycap with a toothbrush and isopropyl alcohol.

  7. Replace the keycaps when you’re satisfied with the keyboard’s cleanliness. Reference that photo you took earlier so that you can get each key back where it belongs.

Be *extremely* careful.

Keyboards are electrical devices, and need to be treated with great care.

  • NEVER submerge your keyboard under water.
  • If compressed air isn’t working, try using a vacuum cleaner rather than intrusive tools.
  • Some keyboards come with removable keys, but not all. Read the instructions that came with your device before trying to remove keys.
  • If sticky liquids and spillages refuse to come out of your keyboard, consider buying a new one rather than risking damaging your devices or your person.
  • When using damp cloths, ALWAYS make sure you wring them out as much as possible.

Once you’ve cleaned your keyboard, make a note of the date and schedule another cleaning two weeks down the line. Consider setting a reminder in your digital calendar so that you will not forget.

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