Introduction: How to Clean a Keyboard
Most people know how to use a keyboard (if you're here, there's a good chance your one of them), but it seems like very few people know how to clean one (Again, if you're here, it's probably you). So today I'm going to show you how to do an in-depth cleaning of your keyboard. This involves taking your keyboard apart, so if you're not comfortable with this i suggest you stick to the "shake and vacuum" method of cleaning.
Please note that while I show a corded keyboard here, you can follow these steps with a cordless keyboard as well.
Step 1: Open the Keyboard
The first step to cleaning a keyboard is to get it apart. To do this just flip it over and remove the screws in the back. Remember "lefty loosie, righty tighty". Do not lose the screws! The best idea is to keep them someplace they can't just roll away, like this bottle cap.
After they're all out you'll have to carefully pry apart the two halves of the keyboard. They may be stuck together pretty well, so don't be afraid to use A BIT of force. The best way to do it, is to pry open one corner and then work your way around the keyboard.
*TIP: Don't pry the keyboard open on your lap. When it opens all the dirt that's inside will fall out onto you.
*TIP: If you're trying to pry the keyboard open, and it seems to be "sticking" in one place, make sure you've removed all the screws. Be sure to check under the labels, and the rubber feet.
Step 2: Inside the Keyboard
Once you open the keyboard, you should see something like this. If you're curious what it all is check out the image notes.
To just clean the gunk out from between your keys, all you need to be concerned with is the half with the keys. If some letters aren't typing, you'll need to deal with both halves.
Step 3: Cleaning the Circuit Boards
If your keys are still working fine, you can skip this step. If not, then you'll need to clean between the flexible circuit boards. To do this all you need to do is lift up each layer and use a can of compressed air to blow away any dirt. You can find these in almost any office supply store or department store. Don't bother to remove the solid board as it's very unlikely anything got under it. When lifting up the flexible boards, be sure not to touch any of the printed lines as it can damage the keyboard.
Step 4: Cleaning the Keyboard
The easiest way to clean between the keys is to remove them. To do this us a small pair of pliers to gently push the tabs together as shown. If this doesn't work well for you, you can also use the pliers to grip one tab, and carefully push it towards the other. The space bar will have a small piece of metal under it to enable it to spring back after being pressed. This is not shown here as it will vary greatly from one keyboard to the next. You can leave this key alone all together, or carefully see how the spring sits as you remove the space bar. Either way, the keys will all drop out the front of the keyboard as they are removed.
After all the keys are out, simply rinse them and the front of the keyboard (not the circuit boards) off in a sink or tub. Be sure to dry them off well.
*TIP: Write down the order of the keys, or take a picture so that you can put them back in properly.
Step 5: Putting It All Back Together
Once you have cleaned and dried all the keys it's time to put your keyboard back together.
First you have to put all the keys back into their proper positions (you do remember where that is don't you). To do this, simply line each key up with the hole it left, and press it back into place. It will click when fully inserted. If you chose to remove the space bar, be sure to insert the spring properly. Unlike the other keys this one should spring back when pressed, even with the keyboard apart.
After all the keys are back in it's time to put the two halves back together. To do this, lay the half with the circuit boards on a hard surface, and place the half with the keys on top of it. Then gently press down on the top half, until it clicks together. Be sure to go all the way around the keyboard to make sure it's together properly. Once it is, flip the keyboard over and replace the screws (again, "Lefty loosie, righty tighty"). It's best to put the four corner screws in first, followed by the center before replacing any other screws. This is so the back won't bend and make other screws more difficult to get in.
Please note I am not responsible for any damages or injuries sustained while following these instructions. While I strive to make all of my guides as safe as possible, you follow them at your own risk.
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