You would think that toilet is the dirtiest place. But in case you did not already know, it has actually been found that your computer’s keyboard is many, many times more dirty compared to a toilet seat, even if it doesn’t necessarily look like it.

How To Clean Your Keyboard

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Easy

If you don’t have a lot of time and just want a quick and easy solution to clean your keyboard, these steps can help give it a basic cleaning. It’s not the most thorough process but at the very least it should help make your keyboard cleaner. All you’ll need is a cloth and some water and you’re good to go. This method can also be used for regular maintenance of your keyboards.

  1. Pick your keyboard up and give it a good shake with the keys facing downwards. This should help dislodge any loose debris.
  2. Use a damp cloth and wipe down the surface of the keyboard. There are some recommendations involving the use of isopropyl alcohol, but note that due to varying strengths, there is a chance that this could potentially damage the paint on your keycaps, which is why a damp cloth using only water is the safest option (but not necessarily the cleanest).

Difficult

If you feel that maybe it’s time for a very thorough cleaning of your keyboard, these are some of the steps you can take to ensure your keyboard is as clean as it can get. You will need some extra tools for this process which includes a keycap puller or remover, a can of compressed air, a Q tip, some isopropyl alcohol, and a small bucket of soap and warm water.

  1. Remove the keycaps from your keyboard using the keycap puller or remover (you can watch the video above to see how it’s done). Be careful during the removal process as you don’t want to break the stems of your keycaps which would make putting it back pretty much impossible.
  1. Follow the instructions on your can of compressed air. For the most part this usually means using it in a well-ventilated space, putting it at a set distance away from the keyboard (since you don’t want the spray to potentially ruin your keyboard’s PCB), and also ensuring that none of the spray gets on your hands as it can cause frostbite.
  2. Depending on how long you haven’t cleaned your keyboard for, don’t be surprised if you find a ton of gunk and debris fly out after you’ve sprayed it with the compressed air. Do this in a place that’s easy to clean up, like on the floor.
  3. Take the Q tip and put some of the isopropyl alcohol or water if you prefer on it, and rub around the edges. Avoid touching the PCB or any electronic components as this could cause issues later.
  4. Prepare a bucket with some warm water (do not use hot water as it can warp your keycaps) and some dish soap and dunk your keycaps in and let them soak for a couple of hours.
  5. Rinse the keycaps off thoroughly as you want to ensure that there is no soapy residue left on them (some soaps might leave behind a sticky residue so take note of that).
  6. At this point depending on how much time you have, you can choose to blow dry them (using the cool air setting, because once again hot air has the potential to warp your keycaps) or leave them to air dry which could take several hours.
  7. Before reattaching the keycaps to the keyboard, make sure that the stems are completely dry because otherwise water could get into your keyboard.

Considerations

There is some debate as to whether you should use compressed air or a vacuum cleaner to clean the debris from your keyboard. Some claim that compressed air might end up blowing dust and other particles into your keyboard switches, which could make the overall typing experience worse.

They also claim that compressed air, because it is cold, can cause condensation which is also not particularly desirable. We can only assume that this is due to how some videos show how compressed air is used to clean keyboards, where the nozzle of the compressed air is pressed almost directly onto the keyboard and in between the keys itself. This can be mitigated slightly by pointing the compressed air further away from the keyboard, and you’ll be surprised at how much debris can still be removed even at a distance.

At the same time there are some concerns about how using a vacuum can build up static, but some say that due how keyboards have fewer and less sensitive components compared to a computer, this might not be as big an issue as you might think. That being said, the suction force from a vacuum might not be as a strong as a blast of compressed air, so it might not necessarily be as effective at removing certain particles or debris.

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