Introduction: How to Clean a Dirty Keyboard

Picture of How to Clean a Dirty Keyboard

Is your keyboard dirty? Do you not want to brave the dishwasher? Here is a simple way to clean your keyboard in under an hour with household products.

Things you will need:

1 Filthy keyboard
1 Small, flat-head screwdriver
1 Bottle of Windex (or whatever equivalent)
~10 tissues
~10 Q-tips
A tolerance for supreme nastiness

Step 1: De-Key Your Keyboard

Picture of De-Key Your Keyboard

The first step is to remove all the keys from your keyboard to get to the well of nastiness that is harboring all the diseases (this is the area under all the keys). To do so, take your small flat-head screwdriver and pry the keys off one at a time. Watch out for the larger keys (shift, space, enter, etc) as they may have a metal bar attached to them to stabilize the large key. Be very careful not to break the tabs that these bars go under!

Step 2: Clean the Well

Picture of Clean the Well

The well is the area under all the keys. It can trap anything from dust to bits of metal to exotic diseases. It needs a thorough scrubbing. Fold a tissue into a small square and run the edge between the key-holes after spraying Windex on the really dirty areas. I used a watered down mix of Windex because my dirt wasn't very ground in. There is a kind of sticky dirt that some keyboards get that needs a lot of Windex / Rubbing alcohol to get off. May the force be with you if you have that.

Step 3: Clean All the Keys

Picture of Clean All the Keys

Fold a piece of tissue up so you have at least 4 layers. Spray this with your Windex (with or without added water) and rub all 5 edges of each key on it. Then pop the key into its proper place on the keyboard.

To re-insert the keys with the metal bar, place the key over its slot. Then hold the bar and flip the key like in picture #2. While holding the bar under the tabs, push the key into the slot until it pops in. Then check to see if it made it in. If not, pop it back out and try again. See the pictures if this is not clear.

Comments

SineM1 (author)2016-07-02

Thank you for this

Kalvster (author)2009-10-23

I created a guide like that to clean your keyboard.

Check it out:
http://www.kalvster.com/how-to/clean-keyboard.html

juveniledogs (author)2009-03-20

OH MY GOD. Thats filthy. I have the same keyboard, so I will use your tutorial to help clean it.. oh noez.. Thanks for sharing, this was an entertaining and helpful instructable!

GorillazMiko (author)2008-07-14

I did this the other week and found $24 in change, 17 red toenails, 3 drumstick bones (KFC), and much more.

Just kidding, but I did do this the other week and it was really nasty.

zootboy (author)GorillazMiko2008-07-25

Lucky you. You get money, I get parasites.

bumpus (author)2008-07-13

I wonder what treasures I would find in my keyboard.. prolly some really gross stuff...

zootboy (author)bumpus2008-07-14

Like I said, you probably will find some exotic diseases under there. I found some Schistosomiasis in mine.

Chard (author)zootboy2008-07-15

good parasitology reference! i myself found lymphatic filariasis!

zootboy (author)Chard2008-07-19

I hope you didn't catch it during your cleaning. =]

bumpus (author)zootboy2008-07-14

yummy :P

hondagofast (author)2008-07-13

I'd love to do this on my ThinkPad's keyboard, which is pretty nasty... but you can't remove the keys.

reedz (author)hondagofast2008-07-13

Sure you can, the problem is just putting them back on.

mrmath (author)reedz2008-07-13

I've done it a number of times on t20's, and t40's. Problem really is getting it off without breaking the little plastic piece underneath. That can be a really bad thing to have happen.

LinuxH4x0r (author)mrmath2008-07-13

Just use an air compressor to spray all that nasty stuff all over..... best to do this outside

zootboy (author)LinuxH4x0r2008-07-14

The issue is then what do you do with the really sticky/slimy stuff that won't come off with just air?

LinuxH4x0r (author)zootboy2008-07-14

5cfm @ 90 psi through a small nozzle gets everything off

zootboy (author)LinuxH4x0r2008-07-19

You haven't seen some keyboard gunk that I have. *SHUDDERS*

Stercus Fit (author)2008-07-15

I am in desperate need of cleaning under my keyboard -- but I have a laptop. :/ Would this method work for a lappy?

aliceownsj00 (author)2008-07-14

We need to do this desperately to our keyboard... but I fear what we'll find haha we're normally pretty clean around the computer, but dust and such accumulates in this house like insanity!

zootboy (author)aliceownsj002008-07-14

I think it has been about 7 years of gunk buildup in this particular keyboard.

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