How To Clean A Computer Keyboard: Clean A Dirty Keyboard With Compressed Air, Alcohol, or a Dishwasher
As much use and abuse as a computer keyboard receives each day it is a wonder that they work as well and as long as they do. Sooner or later though every keyboard gets dirty, either particulate matter that accumulates under the keys through daily use or through an accidental dousing with a hot cup of coffee. What options are there for users that want to clean a computer keyboard rather than throwing it out and replacing it? For most people there are three potential methods for cleaning a dirty computer keyboard:Use compressed airCleaning by hand with rubbing alcoholThrowing it in the dishwasher as a last resort
This article will cover the ways that all three cleaning methods work.
Cleaning A Computer Keyboard with Compressed Air
Almost every electronics and discount store carries cans of compressed air. These cans usually come with a long, very thin tube that attaches to the nozzle on the air canister and allows the user to poke the tube under and into crevices in the computer keyboard to blow out any smaller particles of dirt or dust. Simply cleaning a keyboard in this manner once or twice a month can prevent dirt build up that eventually leads to sticky or slow moving keys. Once the keys become sticky however, it is time to move on to the second cleaning option, cleaning a computer keyboard by hand.
Cleaning A Computer Keyboard By Hand
Using tools no more sophisticated than a cotton swab and a bottle of rubbing alcohol it is very easy to clean a keyboard that is crusted with small amounts of food particles or other matter. Dip a swab in the alcohol and make sure that the cotton is tightly wound around the swab so that the cotton will not tear off easily if it catches on something. Use the swabs to clean between the keys. With some keyboards it is possible to pop the top of the keys off to provide slightly more space to dig down to the base under the keyboard. Of course, always make sure to unplug the keyboard from the computer before attempting this cleaning method.
Cleaning A Computer Keyboard In The Dishwasher
While not exactly a preferred method of keyboard maintenance this can work for keyboards that have been flooded with some kind of liquid. If a can of soda or a cup of hot chocolate gets spilled between the keys of the keyboard no amount of hand cleaning or compressed air cleaning will fix it. In these extreme cases some die hard computer users such as computer talk show host Leo Laporte recommend turning the keyboard upside down in an empty dishwasher and running it through a quick cycle. Make sure to disable the heated drying option before starting the dishwasher.
When the cycle has finished remove the keyboard, shake as much water out of it as possible and then blow dry it with a hair dryer or leave it upside down to air dry overnight. Once it has dried completely plug it back in and see if it still works. If it doesn't work, it was most likely going to have to be replaced anyway.
An important note on this last chance method, it is NOT recommended for use on wireless keyboards, only for those that physically plug in to the computer. If a user does attempt to clean a wireless keyboard in this way be sure to remove the batteries and tape the battery cover shut first.
Finding out how to clean a computer keyboard is easy, and in some cases may actually save a person from having to buy a new one. Always remember to start with the least invasive procedure (compressed air) and move through to the most invasive (dishwasher) only when the only other option is to trash the dirty keyboard completely.
Author: Chad Criswell