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How to clean a computer keyboard properly

Cleaning your computer keyboard

A computer keyboard full of crumbs and dust and greasy keys is not only unsightly, but also unhygienic. With these tips, cleaning your keyboard is quick and easy.

Why should I clean my keyboard?

Your PC or laptop keyboard is exposed to all kinds of substances. Besides dust, sweat, and skin residue, bits of food often accumulate between the keys over time. And let’s face it – how often do you touch your face while sitting at your computer? This alone should be reason enough to include the keyboard in your regular cleaning routine. In addition, you can extend the life of your keyboard if you clean it regularly. This is not only good for your wallet, but also for the environment. And if you know how to do it properly, it doesn't take much effort at all.

Removing crumbs from the keyboard

Before you get to work cleaning your keyboard, you should switch off your PC or laptop and disconnect it from the mains. If it’s a laptop, it is recommended to remove the battery (if possible). The first step is to turn the keyboard (or the whole laptop) upside down. Shake and tap it gently so as much dirt and debris as possible falls out. The second step is the precision task - there are different ways to do this:

  • You can use a toothbrush to clean your keyboard. Cotton swabs work well to clean the spaces between the keys, but they won't reach under the keys.
  • Cleaning putty is similar to playdough and can get into even the tiniest nooks and crannies in your keyboard. You can purchase it in specialist shops.
  • For a quick keyboard cleaning in between, there’s a simple hack: Post-its! The classic sticky note pads can be found on almost every desk, and their adhesive surface is a handy way to keep the gaps between your keyboard free of dust. To do this, stick a Post-it with the adhesive side facing down at the left end of a row of keys and slowly pull it through to the right. Any fine dirt will simply stick to it.
  • If the manual work is much too laborious for you, you can also use a vacuum cleaner to clean the keyboard. Set it to the lowest setting so you don’t accidentally suck up any keys, and be sure to use a small brush attachment.

Cleaning the keyboard with a damp cloth

If your keyboard is not only full of crumbs, but also greasy and stained, a wet clean is required. This also applies if your keyboard has become yellowed. A soft microfiber cloth is best, but you can also use any other lint-free household cloth. In addition to lukewarm water, it is best to use glass cleaner or a mild all-purpose cleaner. However, please do not spray the product directly onto the keys – always apply it with a cloth. Otherwise, moisture may penetrate deep into the keyboard and cause damage. A slightly moistened cotton swab can be used for the spaces between the keys. After wet cleaning your keyboard, you should dry it carefully with a cloth.

Cleaning the keyboard properly and thoroughly

For a desktop PC, it makes sense to clean the keyboard thoroughly every now and then. To clean all parts of the keyboard, you have to first remove all the keys. Before you start, take a picture of the keyboard as this will make it much easier to reassemble later! With the help of a small screwdriver and a little pressure, the keys can usually be removed relatively easily. Cleaning your keyboard this way requires you to be really careful, but you’re rewarded with a sparkling keyboard at the end. This method is not suitable for notebooks because the keyboards are usually much more delicate than external PC keyboards.