How to easily clean your keyboard in 4 steps

Determine how to clean your keyboard may be the last thing on your mind when you’ve just bought a shiny new laptop or new typing device. But, every PC user knows that dirt and grime can build up over time, and eventually you will face the inevitable.

With keyboards, it’s even trickier. If you don’t already know how to do it, it’s probably hard to instinctively know how to properly clean your keyboard with all of its moving and electrical parts – let alone its nooks and crannies. It’s not just a simple scrub and wipe job. You should also be careful, so as not to cause irreversible damage to your device. This is in addition to the fact that dirt and oil stains are surprisingly difficult to remove.

So we thought we would give you a hand with some useful tips. Here are different ways to clean your keyboard, whether you are just doing the usual daily care or a proper deep cleaning. That way, no matter what kind of mess you have, you’ll know how to clean your keyboard.

Here’s how to clean your keyboard:

1. Remove debris:

Daily damage is inevitable, especially if you have a habit of snacking at your desk or eating a meal while working. Unless you’re really, really careful, your keyboard will have its share of food particles getting stuck under its keys. Here are a few things you can do when this happens:

Shake off loose debris:

To remove debris, you must first unplug your keyboard from your computer or turn off your laptop. Then just turn your keyboard upside down and then shake it until the debris is gone.

Use compressed air:
If you have debris stuck between the keys and a simple shake is not enough, use a can of compressed air to loosen it. You can also use a rocket blower, but canned air is much more efficient and readily available at stores like Amazon.

2. Spill cleanup:

Beverage spills are even more difficult to deal with. But don’t worry: Just because you’ve spilled liquid on your keyboard doesn’t mean you need to buy a new keyboard or laptop.

Shake off the liquid:

You should immediately turn off your laptop or unplug your keyboard if you have spilled liquid on it to avoid damage. Away from your other devices, turn your keyboard upside down, shake it, and keep it upside down to drain most of the water.

Clean with a lint-free cloth:

To remove any remaining droplets, use a lint-free microfiber cloth (or other clean absorbent material such as a paper towel or t-shirt, if nothing else is available). Then let the keyboard dry completely for at least 24 hours – but preferably up to 48 hours if you can spare it. Do all of this while keeping the keyboard in its inverted position.

Deal with those sticky keys:

If you’ve spilled any liquid other than water, be sure to check each key for sticky. To clean the sticky keys, gently and carefully remove the keycaps with a butter knife or screwdriver, taking care to note their individual locations. If you have a laptop, check with the manufacturer to verify that these caps are removable.

Rub the sticky stain on the base of the keyboard and keys with a clean cloth and a solution of alcohol or lukewarm water. For hard-to-reach places on the caps, consider using a soft-bristled toothbrush. Let them dry completely before putting them back in place.

3. Weekly maintenance:

Weekly cleaning of your keyboard is best in order to keep it clean and avoid having to spend a few hours deep cleaning your keyboard. It will also protect it from harmful germs and viruses that could make you sick. Remember to do all the steps when your keyboard is unplugged.

Remove debris:

Shake out debris or use compressed air between the keys to remove chunks of food, dust, and other particles. You might also consider investing in a mini keyboard vacuum, which allows you to do this step faster and more efficiently. There are also slimy cleansing gels which are also very effective.

Clean the keys:

Using a cotton swab or rag, remove dirt and oil / sebum from the caps and between the keys with isopropyl alcohol or rubbing alcohol – this weekly operation should prevent buildup and kill harmful germs. Dry thoroughly with a lint-free cloth.

4. Deep cleaning:

Deep cleaning your keyboard can take a bit of time, especially when you haven’t cleaned it in months. You might end up cleaning up those yellowing keys individually, as well as cleaning a keyboard base that houses layers of dust, food particles, skin cells, hair, and other things. This is why weekly cleaning of your keyboard is highly recommended.

Rub those yellowing touches:

Dirt and oil / sebum buildup are surprisingly difficult to clean up, so this part takes time and patience. Carefully pry off each cap with a butter knife or flathead, remembering to note their individual locations.

Then wash them individually with soap and water or isopropyl alcohol. If the stains are particularly stubborn, you can use a cotton swab or a soft-bristled toothbrush with alcohol to scrub.

Treat this keyboard base:

Use a canister of compressed air or a keyboard vacuum to remove any loose material on the base of your keyboard.

When finished, wipe the build-up of grime off the base of your keyboard with a cloth or cotton swab and water or isopropyl alcohol. Wipe it down completely with a lint-free cloth before replacing these keys.

You might also like to read: How to physically clean your PC

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