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

September 22, 20060 found this helpful

Note to Editor:

Water isn't death to electronic things as long as the power is not used and is disconnected, so little electrons can't run around in there and get zapped. You have to be sure it's dry inside and out.

I saved a lot of drowned phones by not pushing buttons and disconnecting the power until the phone was dry.

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September 22, 20060 found this helpful

First, TURN OFF COMPUTER, then you can do any of the following:

---> Vacuum with the soft brush attachment.

---> Spray with caned air.

---> Use a small paint brush to dust off keys.

---> Use alcohol and a Q-tip to clean keys.

* a box of medical alcohol wipes is about $2 for 100 ea. at any drug store in the first aid isle. These are handy to keep around to clean off your keyboard & screen.

(but turn off computer before using alcohol, because years ago on the "old school" monitors at work someone was cleaning theirs & a small fire started)


to help keep you computer clean (also your blinds & top of fridge & TV etc. dust free. Wipe with a dryer sheet fabric softener. This will stop static from attracting dust.

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September 22, 20060 found this helpful

Be very careful having the canned air stuff in your home. Kids are using it like sniffing glue and are dying. It is dangerous.

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September 23, 20060 found this helpful

Go to, "America's Digital Goddess". Search for "cleaning keyboards". This is a good site for info about computers. Most of the info is free, but as in most sites, you can pay a fee to gain more info. I never paid since I find the free info very helpful, at least for me. You can sign up for daily free e-mails pertaining to computers and such. It is safe and I have never had a problem with this site. She also has a radio program and writes columns for newspapers. Try it -- you'll like it.

I have read on Kim Komando's site that if all else fails and the keyboard has to be replaced any way. Try the dishwasher method -- only if it is the last resort. At times, it will work, others it may not.

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September 27, 20060 found this helpful

does the dishwasher or sink sprayer method work also for wireless keyboards?

Editor's Note: I wouldn't risk it.

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October 4, 20060 found this helpful

RE: CANNED AIR....I wouldn't buy this if my life depended on it! IF YOU HAVE TEENS IN THE HOUSE... it has been known to kill! They get high by inhaling it. A cop in Ohio? had a can for his computer, and his wife found their son dead, with the straw still hanging out of his mouth. This stuff should be taken right off the market!

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October 20, 20060 found this helpful

I turn mine upside down and shake really good then I use a small art brush to clean in between the keys ($ store sells 12 for $1) use q tip with alchohol to remove gunk

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February 15, 20070 found this helpful

The actual KEYS on a "key-board" are located on a MECHANICAL MATRIX; there are no electrical

discrete (not even discreet) components involved;

hence you can "dish-washer" clean with absolute safety.

For PC and wireless key-boards you should remove the mechanical matrix ie the actual key mounted pad,from the "KEY-BOARD", prior to washing.

It is perfectly feasible,as Oracle mentions, to rinse electrial components in clean water(provided they are THOROUGHLY dried afterwards. I myself have recovered: radio transmitter/receivers from sea-water; rinsed them in fresh-water without harm. Video Recorders and Televisions suffering from "flower-pot" spillage....etc

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September 15, 20070 found this helpful

Turn computer off. Take a wash rag and dish soap with hot water and go over until clean. May require some light scrubbing . But will really clean it and make it look new again. Let it dry very well before turning computer back on. Be sure and ring out excessive water from rag so as to not leave water in your key boards. Some key boards are very sensitive to moisture and some are not. If they have a lot of extra keys along the top then they may be more sensitive than plain jane keyboards.

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May 4, 20110 found this helpful

The absolute best, most effective & detailed way is to pop all the keys off, clean/soak the keys in a light soap/water mixture or bleach water mix. and hit the board with q-tips and alcohol or water. NOTE: If you are afraid you will forget where they go... take a picture of the keyboard before you start, or you can simply google your keyboards button layout.

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October 11, 20140 found this helpful

DO NOT use canned air! You will blow dirt to harder to reach places, and it is MURDER to have that stuff around.

Use an ordinary vacuum instead. It gets rid of dirt and debris, and does not blow it into harder to reach places.

After that, use a soft bath or car wash sponge and ordinary soapy dish water. Not the hard yellow/green kitchen sponges, use a soft natural looking sponge. Hold the keyboard upside down and scrub it a few seconds with the soft sponge. Let it drip dry for a minute, then vacuum it again to completely dry it.

That is all there is to it! That is how professionals do it. No need for any weird rigamarole or expensive cleaners.

Have FUN!


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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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September 18, 20160 found this helpful

Do NOT allow compressed air spray cans into your house, unless you want your kids to be even more brain dead than they already are. They huff the stuff, hoping to get stoned. Some die, some just get more stupid than they are.

In addition to that, unless you have been affected by that stuff, you would not want to use it to blow dirt to even less accessible places anyway.

Just whack it upside down onto a newspaper covered desk or table or floor or sidewalk. Then use a vacuum cleaner, preferably with the crevice tool, and vacuum it. After that, use a soft sponge dipped in dish water and scrub the top and sides, towel dry and lay it upside down onto an oven rack. NOT in the oven! Out in fresh air or in the dish rack by the sink.

That's all there is to it with modern keyboards.

Have FUN!


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In This Article
Cleaning a Computer Keyboard, Washing Ketchup Off Keyboard with Soap and Water in Bucket
Cleaning a Computer Keyboard
Home and Garden Cleaning ComputerSeptember 22, 2006
Keeping Your Keyboard Clean
Keeping Your Keyboard Clean
Avoiding Keyboard Spills, Coffee spill on a computer keyboard.
Avoiding Keyboard Spills
Worn Off Keyboard Letters
Replacing Worn Off Keyboard Letters
dark liquid spilled on laptop keyboard
Cleaning Up Keyboard and Electronic Device Spills
Halloween Ideas!
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