Cleaning your Keyboard in 2 Minutes or Less
This method will make your keyboard reasonably clean in just a minute or two.
- Unplug or power off the keyboard.
- Hold it upside-down (preferably outside or over a trash can) and shake it, toaster-style, to get the big stuff out.>
- Clean between the keys using one of the following methods (depending on your inclination and the tools you have available):
- With the keyboard inverted, blow hard through the keys, being careful not to shower yourself in keyboard crud.
- If you have compressed air available, or a bulb air blaster, blast the cracks and crevices with air while the keyboard is inverted. You may want to go outside, crud will fly.
- If you have one available, use a thin/fluffy brush to sweep out between the keys. This works best with the keyboard either inverted or held up 90 degrees. Common brushes that work for this include watercolor brushes, makeup brushes, old toothbrushes, and those cleaning brushes that come with electric razors.
- With the keyboard still unplugged or off, wipe down the keys with an antibacterial surface cleaner. To get the edges of the keys, fold your cloth around a credit card or other stiff, thin object.
- If you desire, repeat the previous step using your favorite disinfectant – rubbing alcohol, Lysol, etc.
Cleaning Spills from your Keyboard and Unsticking Stuck Keys
If your keyboard is in need of a deeper cleaning or has had something spilled on it, follow this process.
- If something is spilled on your keyboard, turn it upside-down as soon as humanly possible to avoid the liquid/material from gaining entry to the printed circuit board beneath the keys.
- Immediately unplug or power the keyboard off.
- If it’s wet, keep it inverted and wipe it down as well as possible, then place it in a warm, ventilated area to completely dry. If it get really wet, placing it in a cardboard box on top of some desiccant, placing it next to a fan so that the fan can pass air freely over and under it can help it dry faster. Do not continue until it is completely dry!
- Once dry, remove the keys (if your keys are removable). Be careful as some keys (like the space bar and shift keys) often have little plastic or metal bars that stabilize them when you press on them. Take a picture of your keyboard before doing this so you can remember where the keys go.
- To clean the keys (assuming they are removable), you can place them in the silverware basket in your dishwasher (but remove them before the drying cycle to prevent warping/fading) or wash them manually in the sink. Let them dry completely before replacing them.
- With the keys removed, remove what mess you are able to reach using a soft cloth dampened with isopropyl alcohol. If there’s chunks, gently scrape them up with a plastic butter knife or similar object. Q-tips can be useful for nooks and crannies.
- If the spill has made it past this point and into the keyboard case, it’s likely to never work again – however – you can disassemble the keyboard by unscrewing the visible screws in the case and cleaning what you are able to reach. Be very careful when cleaning the circuit board – don’t scrub it – gently work off spills using as little isopropyl alcohol as is possible on a small q-tip. Don’t saturate the circuit board, just be patient and take your time.
- When the spill has been completely cleaned up, set everything out someplace to dry completely, then reassemble and test. Fingers crossed!
Protecting your Keyboard
- If you’ve got a keyboard in a high-risk area, perhaps used by children, consider wrapping it with clear, plastic wrap to keep it clean and free from spills.
- Home Comforts; The Art and Science of Keeping House by Cheryl Mendelson
- Green Housekeeping by Ellen Sandbeck
- How to Clean Practically Anything by Consumer Reports