How to free your keyboard
from dust and dirt!

If the keys no longer work perfectly or simply from a hygienic point of view, regular and thorough cleaning of the keyboard is recommended!

But since there are differences regarding the cleaning of standard, laptop or notebook, Apple and gaming or mechanical keyboards (Cherry, Razer, etc…), I have listed the best cleaning methods for each keyboard in this post.

Even though it might be more worthwhile for you to buy a new model, please do not do so for the sake of the environment . Plus, with the following tips, your keyboard is also guaranteed to look like new again.

Quick guide for cleaning the keyboard

As a laptop and Apple user, you should not follow these instructions. This is because the individual keys are removed in the process. And you should only do this if the manufacturer expressly states that the keys may be removed!

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Are you looking for instructions for your laptop, MAC or just superficial cleaning, just skip this paragraph and scroll down to the next heading. There you will undoubtedly find what you are looking for!

Short summary

  1. Disconnect the keyboard from the computer
  2. Turn over and tap out
  3. Remove keys
  4. Put buttons in laundry bag and wash at 40 degrees in the washing machine
  5. Meanwhile clean the gaps
  6. Let the keyboard and keys dry on the heater
  7. Reinstalling the keys

1.first unplug the keyboard from the computer. After that, turn the keyboard to the back and gently tap and shake the device. This should loosen some crumbs and other dry impurities and let them fall out.

Clean switches

2. once you have done this step, you need to remove the keys. But before you start, you should first take a photo of your keyboard. This way you will know exactly where the keys have to be replaced. If you have a good photographic memory, you can of course skip this step 🙂

However, before you start removing the buttons, please check with one key whether your keyboard is at all suitable for this. To do this, simply remove a key that is irrelevant to you and test whether it can be reinserted.

Normally, almost all keyboards are designed in such a way that the keys can be inserted and removed. The only thing is that I don’t want you to remove all the keys only to find out that they can’t be used anymore.

For this purpose, it is best to use a pointed object such as a screwdriver, a sturdypencil, or a butter knife. For the removal of the keys, you need a bit of tact and patience. Especially the space bar is usually very difficult to install and remove. Accordingly, I would not remove the space bar. But believe me, the result can be seen!

3. then put all the keys in a laundry bag. Then set the washing machine to 40 degrees and short wash and put the laundry bag in the washing machine. You can also add further laundry to the laundry bag without any problems.

4. while washing the keys in the washing machine, you should clean the spaces between the keys. To do this, simply take a slightly damp cloth with a little washing-up liquid and wipe everything clean. But be really careful and use only a little water, otherwise you will cause a short circuit when connecting to the PC. Toothpicks and bristle brushes are particularly suitable for hard-to-reach areas.

If you find a lot of dust and crumbs in the gaps, you can first use a hand vacuum cleaner with a small attachment and then wipe with a damp cloth. To ensure that no small parts are sucked in, it is advisable to fix a pair of pantyhose or a thin sock over the suction pipe with a rubber band.

After you have removed all the dirt from the front, it is time to polish the back and the cable. To do this, simply take a damp cloth with a little washing-up liquid and wipe the entire surface.

6. once you are done with this step and the washing process is finished, place the keyboard and keys on the heater or in the sun on a towel. Only when all parts are 100% dry again, you install the keys as on the photo taken before. Otherwise, your keyboard may be broken by the moisture, causing a short circuit when you plug it into the computer.

During the installation you should be patient, just like during the removal. Accordingly, you have to press the keys gently. A soft click indicates that a key is properly seated inside.

7. finally, plug the keyboard back into the computer and check that each key still works.

Instructions for cleaning the laptop keyboard

laptop tastatur

For a quick cleaning or cleaning the laptop & MAC keyboard, I have listed you another cleaning tutorial below. All the tips mentioned, are suitable for cleaning the keyboard without removing the keys!

Synopsis:

  1. Remove the laptop battery
  2. Turn the device upside down and carefully tap or shake it out.
  3. Wipe the keys with a slightly damp cloth
  4. Clean the gaps with a toothpick
  5. Allow the notebook to dry
  6. Reinstall the battery

To begin with, you have to disconnect the device from the computer or, in the case of a notebook, remove the battery.

Then turn the device over and shake it a little or tap gently on the back so that the loose dirt flies out.

For thorough cleaning, you can then use a slightly damp cloth (e.g. microfiber cloth) or a brush (e.g. old toothbrush) with a cleaning agent and wipe all keys only superficially or scrub them very carefully.

But be careful with the cleaning products! Especially with cheaper keyboards, the letters, special characters and numbers come off extremely quickly due to an aggressive cleaning agent. In my opinion, hot water with detergent is perfectly sufficient for cleaning.

Since you cannot clean the gaps sufficiently with a cloth, you need other cleaning utensils for this. The cleaning utensils with which you will achieve the best results are listed below.

Toothpicks and compressed air spray: Every household has toothpicks. Accordingly, my first recommendation would be to try cleaning the spaces with a toothpick first.

If you want to clean your screen as well as your keyboard, have a look at my report about cleaning your monitor.

Clean Apple Keyboard

Apple recommends its customers to clean the sticking keyboard of a MacBook with compressed air spray. To do this, hold the MacBook in the air at a 75-degree angle and then spray it with the compressed air spray from all sides in a zigzag pattern. This removes the impurities from under the sensitive butterfly keyboard . Consequently, all keys should work again without any problems afterwards. (Go to the Apple MacBook keyboard cleaning guide).

keyboard cleaning clay
This slime is excellent for cleaning narrow cavities

Use sticky notes (Post-Its): You can simply stick these sticky notes between the keys. Thanks to the glue, the dirt then automatically sticks to the note.

Buy cleaning putty or cleaning slime: With this you can get into the gaps even better than with the Post Its, because the cleaning mass adapts exactly to the conditions of the gaps. This special slime is even available especially for keyboard cleaning.

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FAQ - Maintain keyboard

Can I put the keyboard in the dishwasher to clean it?

I wouldn’t recommend that method. While it’s convenient to just put the keyboard in the dishwasher, there’s a very high chance that water will get into any critical cavities.

This is because during the rinsing process the keyboard is sprayed with many litres of water from all sides, consequently it takes a very long time for all the water in the gaps to dry again. However, if you reconnect the keyboard to the computer too soon, it may short out and break your device.

What should I do if a liquid spills on my keyboard?

If a liquid such as a glass of water, a coke or a cafe has spilled on your keyboard, disconnect the device from the PC immediately. Afterwards, carefully dab the keyboard with a cloth and place it on the heater or in the sun to dry, for example. At best, you also remove all keys. This causes the keyboard to dry more quickly.

But please don’t immediately dump water after it even if the cafe should gum up the keys. You can start cleaning as soon as you have disconnected the device from the power supply.