What is the Best Way to Clean a Keyboard?

Make sure that your keyboard is unplugged and turned off before beginning cleaning; trying to clean a laptop while it’s running could potentially cause permanent damage.

Kick start the cleaning by shaking your keyboard upside-down, so that crumbs and debris fall freely out. Use a dampened cotton swab or cleaning gel to get in between each key for even deeper clean.

1. Compressed Air

Compressed air is the best way to clean a keyboard. A can of compressed air will quickly blow out gunk trapped between or underneath keys and can make quick work of dust and crumbs. Be sure to perform this task outdoors or over a garbage can, as its forceful blasts could send tiny particles flying. Because compressed air packs such a powerful punch, use it first before trying a more comprehensive deep-clean with another tool.

Step two is to disinfect your keyboard using a tech-safe wipe or disinfectant wipe, killing any bacteria and cutting through oils from your hands left on keys and surfaces. Make sure the product you choose says it’s safe for computer components or says that it is free from phosphates, chlorine, triclosan and parabens for maximum effectiveness.

If your keyboard is removable, the keycaps and faceplate should also be thoroughly washed in warm soapy water for 6-8 hours before being scrubbed, scrubbed again, rinsed, dried on towel letter-side up and stored until ready for reassembly.

While your faceplate and keys are submerging in water, use cotton swabs dampened with isopropyl alcohol to thoroughly clean out each key stem (the little towers or clips that hold each key in place). Be wary not to get any alcohol on any printed parts as this could remove lettering altogether. Swap out swabs as necessary to ensure each stem has been thoroughly cleansed.

Use cleaning slime, which has a putty-like consistency, to grab dirt between keys and crevices to clean. It may also help dislodge stubborn crumbs and debris. However, be wary with this approach as certain products can be more effective than others; be sure to read reviews and select an effective product with good reputation.

2. Disinfectant Wipes

Working at your computer for eight hours each day or more means your keyboard becomes filthy quickly, from juice spills and crumbs to sticky keys that attract germs. Cleaning it periodically will make your keyboard more visually appealing, remove bacteria that have settled under keys, and help ensure they continue functioning normally.

Step one in cleaning your keyboard involves using either a disinfectant wipe or an alcohol-based solution like those found in hospitals and doctor’s offices, but any isopropyl (rubbing) alcohol will do just as well if none are available; just don’t oversaturate your cloth otherwise moisture could enter and cause serious damage to the electronic components inside.

Always make sure you use a lint-free cloth when cleaning, in order to avoid adding dust particles or liquid. If there’s any chance that liquid might get into its electrical components, laying your keyboard upside down for several hours until completely dried out is recommended before powering back up or plugging in additional devices.

Clean your keyboard thoroughly inside, particularly around its key stems, with either damp cloth soaked with rubbing alcohol, or by dipping a cotton swab in alcohol and cleaning each stem on its faceplate – being careful not to touch printed areas that might ruin their printing!

Lastly, if there is any dirt on or around your keycaps that needs cleaning up, use compressed air to blast away particles with ease. If possible without damaging your keyboard, remove each keycap and wash individually in warm soapy water; using toothbrush and mild dish soap scrub hard-to-reach areas; alternatively using ColorCoral ($5.94 at Amazon) can get into those tricky spaces; be sure to let the slime dry completely before reattaching keys.

3. Isopropyl Alcohol

Isopropyl alcohol is a widely available household cleaning agent that can be used to quickly and effectively clean computer components like the keyboard. A damp lint-free cloth moistened with isopropyl alcohol can be used to wipe down the keyboard, wiping off any grease or food debris that may have collected on its keys, while an electronics cleaning brush from any general store will dislodge stubborn dirt between keys. Once finished, be sure to fully dry off your keyboard before returning it to service.

Unplug and remove external keyboards if necessary from both laptop and desktop computers, then if physical keyboards have been exposed to water flip them over to prevent water seepage into its internal electrical components. Finally if liquid has come into contact with any parts of the keyboard it should be shut off until fully dried before turning back on again.

If there is visible gunk left on your keyboard, use either a disinfectant wipe or microfiber cloth dampened with isopropyl (rubbing) alcohol to wipe it down. Make sure that no moisture remains trapped under keycaps; otherwise it could cause further damage. If there was moisture trapped under keycaps during its construction process, allow 24 hours for it to fully evaporate before plugging it back in or turning it on again.

For an intensive cleaning session, try immersing the keys in soapy water for at least five minutes. Combine warm water with some dish detergent drops in a bowl before submerging your keyboard in it for at least five minutes. If a particularly sticky piece of gunk remains after this treatment session has finished, you can use cotton swabs or wooden toothpicks to pick at it until it comes loose.

Some people opt to use cleaning gel products like putty-like consistency cleaning gel for their key space, which can then be peeled off after being pressed down between keys to capture any loose debris. Before going this route, be sure to read reviews thoroughly so as to ensure they won’t leave an oily residue that attracts additional dirt over time.

4. Cleaning Slime

Keyboards on both laptop and desktop computers can quickly become magnets for dirt, dust and grime, which allows germs to thrive. Therefore, regular keyboard cleaning should be carried out. What is the best way?

For effortless keyboard cleaning, nothing beats using compressed air. Attaching a plastic straw to the canister nozzle, hold at a 45-degree angle, and blow away visible debris on your keyboard with gentle but consistent blows from above. Ideally this should be done over a trash can so as to minimize messiness!

Before cleaning your keyboard with alcohol, first use a disinfectant wipe or microfiber cloth dampened with isopropyl alcohol to wipe its surface. Be careful that only lightly damp cloth is used; excessive moisture may damage hardware that lies under your keys. Afterward, use cotton swabs to scrub around each key; taking special care not to touch its printed components as alcohol will easily erase them!

If you own a laptop, it is recommended that you periodically clean out the space around its keyboard fan to maintain optimal ventilation and remove dust build-up. Compressed air may help do away with excess dirt; for stubborn grime or buildup use a small brush or rag instead.

Cleaning slime can provide an extra-deep clean for your keyboard, though this might sound like just another trend for schoolchildren. But in reality it’s an ingenious way of reaching into the tightest spaces and corners – as its unique gel putty formula sticks tightly to dirt and debris before pulling back its skin-like covering, pulling them away as you remove it. Plus it works on other items such as car vents and calculators!

While using any of the methods mentioned here is an effective first step, regular and routine cleaning of your keyboard is necessary to keep it looking brand new and to remove dirt from its crevices. By maintaining this schedule, your workspace will become healthier while your keyboard may last longer.