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Cleaning a Computer Keyboard

Category Maintenance
Whether it's from general use or a spilled drink, everyone needs to clean their computer keyboard from time to time. This is a guide to cleaning a computer keyboard.


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2 found this helpful
January 9, 2017

Before you throw out a Post-it Note, use the sticky side to clean around small hard to access places such as under the keys of your keyboard.

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4 found this helpful
September 22, 2006


First, I turn off the computer. Turn your keyboard upside down and shake it to get residual loose crumbs, dirt, etc. out. Do this several times. Then get a paper towel or soft cloth and spray the cloth with something like 409. Then start cleaning those keys. It'll get all the grime, makeup, etc. off the keys. Clean your phone while you're at it. It's a great time to get the yuck off your items.

By Peggygv


I do it the old fashioned way: Disconnect the keyboard from the computer. Pop off all of the keys with a butter knife using a gentle upward motion. Use q-tip slightly dampened with rubbing alcohol to clean inside and soft cloth slightly dampened with same to clean individual key cases. When finished, have fun popping the keys back into their proper place.

By Comtech090

Canned Air and Q-Tips

Use canned air first to dislodge the dust and dirt, then use alcohol and a q-tip.

By Cheryl from Missouri

Shower Cap

Just a tip for after you get your keyboard clean. I put a clear shower cap over mine as my kids like to eat and drink at the computer, I was getting tired of looking at the gunk and having being the only one to clean it, the work. I just buy a package of clear shower caps at the dollar store. They come 6 to 12 to a package. When one gets ripped up or grungy I just slip on a new one. The new keyboard has been clean ever since.

By JMRoss

RE: Cleaning a Computer Keyboard

As an added note the shower caps also make great bowl covers when you can not find the right lid. My mother in law told me that she loved the one that I left at her house after a family get together. (08/31/2006)

By JMRoss


I know this sounds weird, but this really works. I have worked in Computer Tech Support for years and have even done this myself. When you will be gone for a while or will not be using your computer for a couple days, disconnect the keyboard from the computer and put it in the top rack of your dishwasher, upsidedown and wash it. There is nothing inside of the keyboard to hurt it. When it is one, turn upsidedown again, and let it air dry a couple days. If it is a warm windy day outside, you can also set it outside to dry out and it will dry alot quicker. I promise this works.

Editor's Note: Water has meant death to keyboards for me, so this method scares me.

By jenjoejace


I'd not be willing to test that dishwasher idea personally. I've had keyboards killed due to water spills. Well, OK, one to water... but two to Coke. A higher quality keyboard could likely handle it, but I'd not trust a discount one.

By Qryztufre

Sink Sprayer

I wash mine in sink and use the sprayer to rinse it. Then I hang it outside for the day. Always works for me.

By jodee

Makeup Sponge Applicators

Small sponge applicators, like the ones that come with eye shadow, will easily fit in small grooves to clean a computer keyboard.

By IMAQT1962

I use tapered Make-Up Sponges Dipped In Fabulous 70% Alcohol To Clean Keyboards. Works for me.

By JK Finnell from Rifle, CO

Comment Was this helpful? 4
October 11, 20140 found this helpful

Use a sticky note to get dust from between the keys after shaking and vacuuming the keys. Just put the "sticky end in the space between the keys as far down as you can then drag it to the end of the line. It is amazing what shows up on the note paper.

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4 found this helpful
May 21, 2013

I found to my surprise that using cardboard from a toilet paper roll, about the size of a large paperclip, makes an excellent hair and debris picker-upper from off the keyboard.

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May 24, 20130 found this helpful

I just use the hose and vacuum cleaner. Works great.

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4 found this helpful
January 26, 2012

Take an old toothbrush and wet the bristles with vinegar, then press the bristles against a towel so the bristles are almost dry. Use the toothbrush between the keys gently, just like you would if brushing your teeth.


1 found this helpful
September 9, 2010

Dip an old toothbrush in nail polish remover and scrub debris from your keyboard. Make sure to shake out the excess nail polish remover before scrubbing the keyboard.


2 found this helpful
April 26, 2010

Reading the tip on cleaning a keyboard made me think of this tip. If you have a keyboard that seems dead or has too many sticky keys and you're about to pitch it, try this, it worked for me.


9 found this helpful
March 30, 2011

I use a moist Q-Tip all around and between the keys. Then I use the crevice tool of my vacuum to suck up the dust that is left over.


2 found this helpful
August 5, 2011

I use alcohol wipes, such as those used for wiping skin before giving oneself an injection for diabetes. They clean the keys and spaces between them really well. They leave no residue, and are economical. Keep away from pets and children.


2 found this helpful
January 20, 2009

Use your hair dryer on the cool setting to clean your computer keyboard instead of spending money on expensive canned air. Turn the keyboard upside down and blow the air up into it. I clean the tower (CPU) now and then as well. Dust and hair accumulate around the fan and vents can cause all sorts of problems, such as over-heating.


2 found this helpful
August 4, 2011

You can purchase keyboards that will go through the dishwasher, or wash by hand. I don't have one, but you can also purchase a can of pressurized air with a long thin straw attachment to shoot a blast of air into the small spaces between the keys.


1 found this helpful
August 6, 2011

When my keyboard need cleaning, I made a sketch of where each key belonged, and then gently lifted each key off using a wooden kabob stick. It was then easy to clean. I just clipped the keys back on, cleaning each one as I went.


0 found this helpful
February 25, 2012

When I worked in a pharmacy, we had several computers that were shared by all the staff within the pharmacy. At each shift change, one of us would go around with a paper towel that had alcohol on it and wipe down the keys.



Ask a QuestionHere are the questions asked by community members. Read on to see the answers provided by the ThriftyFun community or ask a new question.

0 found this helpful
January 21, 2012

A technician pulled a lot of dust out of my son's keyboard, after his fan quit working. How do you clear dust out of your keyboard?

By Tamara

Answer Was this helpful? Yes
January 23, 20120 found this helpful

Frugalsurvie, where do you find a mini vacuum?

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January 23, 20120 found this helpful

My desktop keyboard doesn't get very dusty under the keys but about every six months I gently pop the keys off one row at a time with a butter knife being sure to keep the keys lined up in the same order on the desk. Then I simply use dampened Q-tips to clean the exposed keyboard area, replace the keys and start on the next row. It only takes about fifteen minutes tops and I don't have to spend any money other than for the Q-tips which are inexpensive and already have on hand. For regular exposed key cleaning I just use my feather duster weekly when dusting the furniture.

As someone else mentioned; be sure to turn your computer off when cleaning the keyboard (or the monitor or tower).

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January 23, 20120 found this helpful

This is just one sample of the mini vacs. You can also get them at the office supply stores. I hope that helps.

http://www.scie  0CFcUZQgodQiUmoA


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April 1, 2010

A few years ago I thought I was so bright when I cleaned my keyboard with the edge of an index card. That is completely outdated. Today I learned to use the sticky edge of a Post It. I got gunk out of there I didn't even know I had brought near my computer. Try it. You'll be amazed that something so simple, works so great.

Source: When I open my ATT browser, I get Yahoo news articles. Today I saw this hint and tried it. It really works.

By MartyD

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March 28, 20110 found this helpful

Awesome tip. I have a 12yo keyboard that I banged upside down once a month and cleaned with a paintbrush and it still works LOL. Once a year I removed all the keys and cleaned everything thoroughly.

Now I have a laptop with one of those flat keyboards. I hate it. The keys are very close together and (supposedly) will not allow dirt in. I sure can't get the paint brush in there and can't afford the pricey compressed air.

I just tried your tip and it is marvelous. I didn't find any dirt but I found tons of cat hair. I lay a mag across the keyboard if I leave it open so she won't lay on it but it sure collected it from the air.

Thanks for a great tip.

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