How to clean your computer keyboard

by techtiptom

Originally posted on on 05/07/2009:

Here I explain the steps I took to clean my computer keyboard. It is amazing how with some forethought one can clean a keyboard using the common ingredients available in any household.

What you will need:
• Some mild detergent – Any detergent which you use to wash clothes will do.
• A plastic bag – Preferably with zip lock (but not compulsory) – to wash the keys.
• A piece of white cloth – soft to touch and lint free – to clean the keyboard.
• A flat tip screwdriver – to pry out the keys from the keyboard.
• Another small screwdriver with a cross tip. This one can be used to clean hard to reach corners within the keyboard.
• A small paint brush to dust off all the loose dirt you will find in the keyboard.

Step 1 : Turn off your computer and detach the keyboard from the computer.

Step 2 : Jot down the position of all the keys on your keyboard on a piece of paper. This helps you later in putting back the keys in its right place after the cleaning is over.

Step 3: Use the flathead screwdriver and gently pry out all the keys from the keyboard. Warning: Don’t apply too much pressure lest the keys break. Be patient and gentle while prying out the keys.

Don’t be shocked when you see the innards of your keyboard. My keyboard contained copious amounts of hair and bits of paper apart from the grime and dirt.

Step 4: Using the brush, gently dust the insides of the keyboard so as to remove all the loose grime and dust. You can also overturn the keyboard and shake it so that the loose dust will fall off.

Step 5: Take a little detergent powder and mix enough water in it to make a solution. Now dip a corner of the cloth into the solution and start gently scrubbing the keyboard. Take care that no water seeps into the keyboard itself. Once the keyboard sans the keys is clean, keep it under a fan to remove moisture if any.

Step 6: Pour the remaining detergent solution you prepared earlier into the plastic bag and add sufficient water so that the keys will be fully submerged. Now drop all the keys into the plastic bag and closing the zip lock, give them a good shake. Let the keys soak into the solution for 10 minutes.

Step 7: After 10 minutes, take out each key and scrub it with the piece of cloth till all the dirt and grime is removed. Do this for all the keys. After this, rinse the keys in running water till all traces of detergent are gone.

Step 8: Dry the keys. If you have good sunlight where you live, you can place them out in the sun to dry.

Step 9: Replace all the keys on to the keyboard at their exact position. You can refer the keyboard diagram you jotted down in Step 2 to help yourself.

Step 10: Hook the keyboard to the computer and your keyboard is ready for use.

It took me 2 hours to clean the keyboard and put it back together. The keyboard works flawlessly as usual but now it is all the more cleaner and looks brand new. Of course, I suppose you could just buy another keyboard, but this is free!