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Cleaning a Laptop Keyboard

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Cleaning a Laptop Keyboard, Photo of a laptop keyboard.
Laptop computer keyboards can get dirty, especially if you eat while you use your computer. Dirt and grime build up can result in stubborn or "dead" keys. Keyboard replacement can be expensive. This is a guide about cleaning a laptop keyboard.


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By 6 found this helpful
July 12, 2011

The best way to clean your laptop or tower keyboard is to turn it over and shake the dust out of it then run the vacuum brush over it. If you have sticky keyboards, you can simply clean them with a damp cloth and small toothbrush. I recommend a dry toothbrush, so you don't get underneath the keys wet.

Have a policy of not eating when you are near your computer. This prevents a lot of costly mishaps. If you spill something on it, get it up immediately. If it is a large amount of liquid, try drying it with a hair dryer. Keyboards have a protective layer underneath but that doesn't mean it will keep your electronics working.

To clean your screen, simply use a damp cloth. Dry immediately. Take the time to vacuum the back of your tower as well. It gets dirt in it and can stop your fan from cooling which leads to greater problems. Hope this helps someone along the way.


Source: My husband works on computers.

By Gem from VA

Comment Was this helpful? 6
July 12, 20110 found this helpful

I have been told by computer gurus to never get a vacuum anywhere near a computer especially the tower. It can create a magnetic field which can shoot your computer down.

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July 12, 20110 found this helpful

If you think your keyboard is done in because it is too dirty, got stuff in it - try the dishwasher. I washed three keyboards in the dishwasher and was able to reclaim two of them. You just have to make sure that they are good and dry (set aside for a couple of days before plugging them in).

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July 12, 20110 found this helpful

I use a dampened microfiber cloth to dust my monitor. Then I use the sticky edge of a postit between the keys on my keyboard. Follow this with the same cloth to dust the keyboard.

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August 2, 20110 found this helpful

If you are using a vacuum on it YOU ARE asking for problems! Vacuums can cause static and short out internal computer comments. If anyone suggest that you do this is just plain silly and does not know what they are talking about. If you have done this you are just plain lucky!

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September 7, 2014

I recently noticed how dirty one of our computer keyboards had become. I tried a baby wipe and it didn't work. I wasn't sure how to clean the keys until my mom suggested trying a damp microfiber. It worked like magic and it was quick too!

Unplug the keyboard. Then slightly dampen a microfiber cloth and gently rub each key until it is clean. Make sure the keyboard is completely dry before you plug it back in and use it.

Comment Was this helpful? 5
September 9, 20141 found this helpful

MF cloth is OK for the top surface, but proper cleaning takes a totally different approach. There are different methods for laptops and regular keyboards.

Laptops: Turn the laptop off. Turn it upside down and rub your flat hand over all the keys to see if any are loose and ready to fall off. If none are loose, vacuum the keyboard thoroughly.

While still upside down, wash it while wearing one of those deep pile fuzzy car washing mitts dipped in warm, soapy dishwater. Use a good dish soap that drips clear on glasses. Let it drip dry while you do the next keyboard.

Finally, vacuum them again and they are clean. If the laptops are in a hospital or sick room environment, do exactly the same, but add a shot of Lysol to the dish water.

Regular Keyboards Slam it upside down onto a sturdy table covered with tarp. No need to be gentle. Today's keyboards are incredibly tough. Slam it again until all the bread crumbs, french fries, onion rings, donut fragments and fossilized jam have been dropped out.

Support the keyboard ends with the keyboard upside down. Shelf brackets are ideal, but anything two hands high will work. Vacuum the upside down keyboard. Get your wet and soapy fuzzy glove, and rub the keyboard.

Again, no need to be gentle! Rub it hard so that the fuzz goes in deep between the keys. Let it drip dry, and vacuum it a bit. Most of today's keyboards are spill proof and a bit of dish soap does not bother them.

For hospital or sick room environments, add a shot of Lysol to the soapy dishwater.

If there were no breadcrumbs, hair, dandruff and dirt involved, you could skip the vacuuming, and just hold the keyboard upside down and rub it with the mitt.

I have cleaned keyboards since the mid-80's and I would highly recommend to vacuum the keyboards as a very important part of the cleaning.

Just wiping the nose with microfiber is not enough.

Have FUN!


Reply Was this helpful? 1
September 9, 20140 found this helpful

Microfiber is definitely good for cleaning. I use isopropyl alcohol instead of water for any electronics because it will evaporate entirely. It is also a great glass cleaner.

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By 3 found this helpful
July 18, 2011

To clean a sticking keyboard, grab a bunch of Q-tips and a bottle of isopropyl alcohol. Gently pop off one sticky key at a time. Clean underneath and press back on. Now clean the exterior of the keys (also kills any germs). I use a cotton ball for the larger areas. Spray canned air in between keys. Don't forget to spray the vents on the side and/or underneath if you have a laptop. This is vital in keeping the temperature cool.


By Linda from MI

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By 3 found this helpful
July 16, 2011

Even cigarette ashes are bad for the keyboard, also cat hair, dander, and dust. I used to turn the keyboard upside down and gently tap it on the garbage can. A lot of stuff fell out. Now I turn my laptop upside down (while open) and run a brush back and forth over the keyboard. I got the brush from my dad, it's made for computers. If I didn't have this, I would use the paint brush that I keep just for dusting small crevices.

By Judith from Central IL

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By 1 found this helpful
July 13, 2011

Unplug and put in dishwasher!

By julrobs from North Augusta, SC

Comment Was this helpful? 1
July 13, 20110 found this helpful

The micro board of a keyboard is basically a compressed cardboard. If you wash it in a dish washer multiple times the board will disintegrate permanently damaging your keyboard. Putting your keyboard in a dish washer is really drastic but may be the best move if you poured soda on the keys by accident. Another option, if your keys are sticking because of soda or some other sticky substance, is to hold it along one edge, let the keyboard hang loosely and spray it down with WD40. Let it dry thoroughly before you use it again.

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By 2 found this helpful
July 13, 2011

I clean my keyboard using the alcohol wipes that are used to clean an area before sticking a needle in you. I have so many of them, the supply company keeps sending me a whole box, and I only use two or three each time I need them.

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By 1 found this helpful
July 17, 2011

I use an old blush brush that has been washed and dried to swish away dust and things off my laptop

Comment Was this helpful? 1
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