Nowadays, there is no set timetable or schedule for every task, which is why our computer desks have evolved into a multi-purpose zone in our homes, right?

Nah! Who are we fooling?

We’re not going to get out of bed and sit on a chair to access a computer. We have a laptop in our laps, food on one side of the bed, a table on the other side of the bed holding our coffee mug for us, and a charger hanging from the nearest switchboard.

Comfortable? Yes, but just for now.

We are all aware of the consequences of this way of life. The weakening, increase in weight, and strain on the spine are other topics, but have you noticed that our unhealthy habits are also going to have an impact on the keyboards?

Yes, we’ve been dropping liquids on it, getting food crumbs trapped in it, and the dust has become a permanent resident since we’ve been too lazy to clean it. These things are not only unhygienic, but they will also cause the gadget to malfunction.

Even if you have no such habits, a keyboard is going to attract dirt eventually. So, how to clean a keyboard?

It is much easier with an external keyboard but this doesn’t mean you cannot clean a keyboard that is attached to a laptop.

The methods for cleaning an external or built-in keyboard are almost the same but a laptop will be handled with more care since the whole system is attached and damage to one part will cause the whole device to break down.

An external keyboard is the one that needs to be attached to a computer with a wire or get connected through a USB. These are easier to clean since there is no risk to your computer, and they can be easily replaced so the stress (and care) is much less here.

Enough talking there, now let’s get to the dusting.

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What you’ll need?

Grab the following items and start cleaning that keyboard with me!

A cotton swab

This will reach the areas between the keys and clean them.

Cleaning cloth (it should be soft and clean):

The top of the keys as well as the board will be scrubbed using this. Without a cloth, if you are thinking about tissue paper, that would be also a good idea. But we suggest a cleaning cloth to last longer and get you to the end of the cleaning process.

A toothpick

To wipe away any stubborn dirt stuck between the keys. As your fingers or the cotton swab or cleaning cloth won’t reach the tinny areas on the keyboard. So, you would need a toothpick to clean the tinny holes and narrow sides.

Rubbing alcohol

This will clean and disinfect the keyboard. You can also use some cleaning liquids or petrol to do the task, but alcohol would dry soon after applying on the surface, so we highly recommend its use.

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A can of compressed air

This will be used to blow away any dirt or debris between the keys that are hard to reach. A blower could be helpful as well, but in DYI processes this would not cost you a lot.

Dust vac

Canned air can be replaced with a handy vacuum cleaner with a narrow dust attachment to clean the hard-to-reach areas of the keyboard.

Once you have got these things, start the cleaning process. Follow these guidelines to get a lustrous finish:

Disconnect your keyboard

Make sure you unplug the keyboard before you start the cleaning process to avoid any damage to the wires, and be safe from any electricity damage.

If it is a laptop and you want to clean its keyboard, we suggest turning it off and removing the charger from the plug before starting cleaning it.

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Turn it upside down

Flip the keyboard upside down and slowly tap it to release any junk that has been lodged in it. If you are cleaning a laptop keyboard, turn the laptop upside down and gently tap on it. Don’t shake it and hit it too hard since it might damage the hardware or any other part.

You may also brush the muck away using the canned air.

Utilize a cotton swab

Dip a cotton swab in rubbing alcohol so it gets a little wet. (Remember, the alcohol shouldn’t be dripping from it) Use it to clean the areas between the keys since the cloth is not going to reach those areas as easily as a cotton swab.

Cleaning of the entire keyboard firmly is recommended and it is essential to do it thoroughly in one go. You might need more than one cotton swab for the whole keyboard.

And don’t worry about your laptop, the alcohol is meant for cleaning purposes and is perfectly safe for electronics. Only be careful not to use far too much; this is rubbing alcohol, not bathing alcohol.

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Use a cleaning cloth

Dip the cleaning cloth in rubbing alcohol and make sure it is not dripping wet. Rub it over the keyboard to tidy the key surface and indeed the board.

So now the edges of the keys are clean thanks to the cotton swabs and the top is clear with the cloth. Done? Not yet. We are moving forward to some deep cleaning now.

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Use a toothpick

Pick the toothpick up and look for any stubborn fragments and remove them from there. This will clean one of the tiniest spaces as well. Be careful while using a toothpick, you don’t want to detach the keys from the keyboard (unless your keyboard allows you to do so by offering the detachable keys)

Canned air/Vacuum

Air will reach everywhere, so why don’t we make it useful?. Use the compressed air can or a small cleaning vacuum to scatter away any remaining dirt particles from between or under the keys (yes, air will reach under the keys too).

Now the keyboard must be almost completely dirt-free. Congratulations.

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Dry the keyboard

Use a dry cleaning cloth to clean and dry the keyboard completely. The keyboard should be having a beautiful glossy look by now.

And you are done!

You can also use some soft brushes to clean a keyboard if you want, the options are unlimited if you are careful (and creative) enough.

Some external keyboards will allow you to remove the keys, make sure you check the manual you got with yours and see if it allows this and it will be better to remove them and clean the dirt from under the keys too. If you no longer have the handbook, Google the brand and model to get your answers.

Before you plug the keyboard back in, make sure it is completely dry.

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Prevention

Once you have cleaned it, make sure you don’t get it filthy all over again very soon.

To prevent the keyboard to catch dirt again, avoid the following:

Eating near a Computer

Follow this so you don’t get your food crumbs all over the keyboard.

Drinking near a Computer

Get your drinks away from the device to keep away from spilling them over the keyboard (or worse, the laptop).

Using the computer with greasy hands

Wash your hands after eating before you touch the keyboard, you don’t want the grease from your hands to stick to the keys.

Smoking around it

Don’t smoke around your keyboard since smoke particles will get the keyboard dirty before they damage your lungs.

Having pets around it

If you have pets, make sure they don’t get too close to your keyboard. Their hair can get stuck in the keys and it will be hard to clean them.

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martin mcgaha

Martin is a tech blogger who started his blogging career in the toughest times of his life back in 2015. Over the course of 5 years, he experienced many ups and downs and mainly focused on providing the best content for his audience. Martin is also a 50% share holder at a corporate company named FifeMatrix. FifeMatrix is the owner of many tech blogs and Software Products.

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