Browse   Newsletters   Contests   Ask   Share   Account   About

Cleaning a Computer Keyboard

Cleaning a Computer Keyboard, Washing Ketchup Off Keyboard with Soap and Water in Bucket

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.



Read and rate the best solutions below by giving them a "thumbs up".

Tip: Cleaning a Computer Keyboard


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

Tip: Cleaning a Keyboard

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. It works quite well.

Source: Washable keyboards online or in local electronic stores.

By hopeful from OR

Tip: Use Toothbrush To Clean Keyboard

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. A small paintbrush treated with vinegar the same way helps to get all the bits and bobs that come out. Wiping the keyboard with a cloth will just push all that garbage back. Be prepared to rinse off the toothbrush and go over the keyboard several times if you have not cleaned it before.

I use this method and it works much better than the canned air. The air is okay for getting off any dust that settles without pushing it into the keys but do not work well for a really good cleaning. The vinegar also acts as an anti-bacterial because keyboards are usually pretty well covered with germs.

Source: How Clean is Your House - thanks Kim and Aggie for all the wonderful cleaning tips

By Kathy from Dundee, Scotland

Tip: Cleaning a Keyboard With Alcohol

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. We were less ill after we started doing this and were very surprised with the grime that was picked up.

By Kathy from Forest Lake, MN

Tip: Remove Keys For Cleaning.

When my keyboard need cleaning (husband's coffee), 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. Only the space bar has a spring, but it wasn't hard to work out.

It's lovely to have a clean keyboard, and hubby now has his own laptop. I read somewhere on the net that most computer keyboards have more germs than a toilet seat.

By katesnanna from Brisbane, Australia

Tip: Use Alcohol Wipes On Keyboard

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.

By VIETVET from Perkinston, MS

Tip: Nail Polish Remover to Clean Keyboard

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.

By Monica from Cortez, CO

Tip: Use a Cool Hair Dryer to Clean Computer Keyboard

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.

By Nancy C. from Los Angeles, CA

Tip: Q-Tips for Cleaning a Keyboard

I was reading about the different tips members have posted regarding how to clean their keyboards and I have one of my own. 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. The key is to use the smallest, thinnest crevice tool. It's great!

By myrna from Bronx, NY

Tip: Use Cardboard To Clean Keyboard

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.


Tip: Wash Keyboard In Dishwasher As Last Resort

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.

Place the keyboard in the dishwasher and run the dishwasher. When the cycle is finished, take the keyboard out, shake out any remaining water and dry with a towel. Lay the keyboard somewhere to finish drying (upside down).


After three or four days, when you are sure the keyboard is dry, plug back into the computer and you may possibly have a working keyboard. I tried this on a couple of our keyboards and was able to salvage one - the one I'm typing on now.

Source: Back in the 70's I worked with very, very expensive computer equipment. My boss told me if I spilled soda on the keyboard to immediately rinse it with water.

By noella from Bolivar, MO

Share Your Feedback: Once you try any of the above solutions, be sure to come back and give a "thumbs up" to the one that worked the best for you. Do you have a better solution? Click "Share a Solution" above!


Here are questions related to Cleaning a Computer Keyboard.

Question: Cleaning Dust Out of Keyboard

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

Most Recent Answer

By Frugal Sunnie01/24/2012

LanieGirl, in addition to the link and places PoorButProud posted, you can try in the computer section of the big box discount stores-that's where I got mine (WalMrat but I've also seen them in Target). I think I've seen them in drug stores, too.

@Deeli, LOL, my cats loved the feather duster and would chase it whenever I used it to tidy up around the computer. Little beggars shredded it one day. The vacuum on the other hand wasn't their favourite household cleaning device:)