Eww - cleaning your computer keyboard is no fun – whatsoever! Even those who find most housework and cleaning tasks a therapeutic exercise can be deflated by the long drawn out process of cleaning a computer keyboard. Because I’m not talking about wafting a cloth over and banging it upside down to get rid of the grunge and crusty bits; I’m talking about a big, deep clean. It’s one of the grubbiest, muckiest parts of your computer or laptop and when you tackle it, you’ll need to put on your favorite tunes or movie and settle in for maybe an hour when you go about cleaning your computer keyboard properly.
1. Collect the Tools You Need
When cleaning your computer keyboard you will need: a lint-free cloth, some cotton swabs (Q-tips), a can of compressed air (or alternatively a small vacuum cleaner), a flat-headed screwdriver, and a small amount of water.
2. Power off
Shutdown and power off your computer entirely, then remove the keyboard. This step is absolutely vital, as you do not want to be working with water around any electrical appliance which is still switched on. Unplug the keyboard from the USB port on your computer, and move it to a clear space where it won’t be disturbed.
3. Remove the Keys
Use the screwdriver to remove each individual key. Carefully lever the flat head of the screwdriver under each key and apply a small amount of pressure to lift the key. Don’t force any keys which won’t budge, but rather try them from different angles and all sides to prise them apart. Once you get the motion right, you should find the keys easy to remove.
Protip: Take a picture of your keyboard before you start removing any keys, so that you can easily see where each key is meant to go. You might think that you know your keyboard well, but there’s no point making your task harder.
4. Blow Time
Squirt the can of compressed air onto the keyboard to dislodge any debris which may have become trapped under the keys. Ensure you read the back of the can before you start, and always use any compressed can in a well-ventilated environment.
5. Clean the Keyboard
Run your damp cloth over the surface of the keyboard with the keys removed. There shouldn’t be a great amount of debris to remove. Remember not to pour any water directly onto the keyboard, as it may damage the electricals; your cloth should be moist, but not sopping wet. If there are any areas your cloth won’t reach, use a cotton swab to remove any dirt or dust.
6. Clean the Keys
Use your cloth to clean the face and underside of each key. With a slightly damp cloth, rub each key individually and place it to dry. You can use a Q-tip to get into the underside of each key where dust may have gathered.
Once everything is dry, reassemble. You will want to make sure that the keyboard itself, and each individual key, has had adequate time to dry. You don’t want any sort of mildew growing on your keyboard because you reassembled it too soon. Remember to use the photograph you took earlier to accurately replace each key.
Are you daunted? Do you think you’ll ever clean your computer keyboard to this degree?