A keyboard can get gunked up pretty quickly. There are many ways to clean a keyboard, but as usual, there is a right way to perform this simple task.
Turn your computer off and unplug the keyboard, noting the location of the connection so you can reconnect it later. Turn the keyboard upside down and shake gently to remove crumbs and small pieces that may be lurking between the keys. A can of compressed air can be used to dislodge any large particles that do not shake loose.
Use a soft cloth dampened with a mild cleaning solution to wiped dirt off the keys. A moist cotton swab can be used to clean between the keys, if necessary. A can of compressed air can be used to dislodge any large particles that do not shake loose. Again hold the keyboard upside down and use the long straw nozzle that comes with the can of air to clean between the keys.
Let the keyboard dry completely before reattaching it to the computer.
Disaster Clean Up
I told you not to eat or drink near the computer, but you didn’t listen and now you’ve just dumped your drink right on your keyboard. Here’s what to do.
Turn the computer off. Unplug the keyboard and turn it over to spill out all of the liquid. Then let dry and reattach to the computer. If the keyboard does not work at all, get ready for a trip to the computer store for a new keyboard. Surprising though if you acted quickly, the keyboard will still work. If you spilled coffee or tea, the keyboard will generally work properly. Soft drinks, however, can cause the keys to stick. If that is the case, you are ready for a thorough cleaning.
Again turn the computer off and unplug the keyboard. Before you go any further, note the location of each key. Take a picture of the keyboard or draw a diagram so you can properly reattach the keys later. Then use a flathead screwdriver or butter knife to gently pry up each of the keycaps. Do not remove any of the oversized keycaps like the spacebar, shift, or enter keys unless you absolutely have to since they can be quite difficult to reattach. Use a moist lint-free cloth and cotton swabs with water or a mild cleaning solution to clean the entire keyboard. Replace each keycap by pressing firmly back in place.
TIP: If you or the kids are constantly spilling or dribbling on the keyboard, you may want to consider purchasing a flexible clear plastic key cover that sits on top of the keyboards. Often used in restaurants, these covers will keep the keyboard clean and protect it from spills at the same time.
Use the process of removing the keycaps and cleaning under them as stated above. If the space bar, enter key or one of the other larger keys is sticking, they can be removed, but it may be better to remove the rectangular keys around them and clean under the larger keys as best you can before turning to the last resort of removing the larger keys and struggling to reattach them.
Take It Apart
Bold computer users will find the entire keyboard can be disassembled and cleaned, right down to the circuit board. This is not for the faint of heart or the impatient. Sometimes the dirt and/or sticky liquid can penetrate even through the protective plastic sheeting inside the keyboard, and disassembling and cleaning the entire keyboard may be necessary. I, like most of you, would simply purchase a new keyboard, but if you have the time and temperament, the disassembly and cleaning is easy, only the reassembly is challenging.