Keyboards can be dirtier than toilet seats, and after looking at the pictures below I'm sure you'll agree it's certainly possible. This instructable will cover not only how to get your keyboard looking spotless, but also how to rid the keyboard of the pesky microbes that are waiting to launch an assault on your next papercut, or jump into your mouth via turkey sandwich when you're working through lunch.

Our test subject, in this case, will be a Mac keyboard from a first grade classroom. Since the Mac keyboards are nice and white it's easy to see how filthy those little fingers are. The PC keyboard cleaning instructions are identical, but the results are not as photogenic! To give you an idea of the dirt beneath the dirt, I took this a step further.

As a tangent I decided (for a future instructable on culturing bacteria) to put the toliet vs. keyboard claim to the test. I swiped the keyboard, and a toilet seat, and cultured the bacteria on Agar for 3 days at 95F before comparing the bacterial growth, you can see the results below.

Good, lets get to cleaning. Just to demonstrate the effectiveness I'll repeat our cleanliness test in step 6.

If you enjoy this instructable please vote for it in burning questions round 7! Thanks.

***DISCLAIMER*** If you break your keyboard doing this it's not my fault.
Suggestion: While cleaning under the keys, soak the keys in a dish of alcohol to remove the grime that also got stuck on the keys. The germs you discovered had to pass the keys to get to the inside... and they do look nice afterward. Simply let them dry before putting them back on.
dummy19775 years ago
I used to sucker myself into the manual grit of keyboard cleaning... nowadays the dishwasher solution is looking mighty tempting...then again I've only owned generic keyboards.

The thought of doing this for an entire classroom makes me want to write an instructable documenting how I jumped off my roof. : )

I only kid.. I'm sure at some point I will use this,  so I'm saving it to my scrapbook -- so thanks in advance. 
vreme6 years ago
I threw my keyboard into dishwasher machine and let it dry for a week. Worked like a charm.
what type of keyboard did you have ?
sahib6 years ago
love that you actually tested your results!
isacco6 years ago
This is a good Instructable. I bet you are a scientist or a teacher. The precision of the information and the control agar plate are a clear evidence of scientific thinking! Your Instructable is very useful for computers used by many different people, as in school. I just have some concerns about how many cycles of key unmounting can a keyboard support. Maybe a flexible transparent keyboard cover is the most appropriate solution for school computers.
BioZone (author)  isacco6 years ago
Guilty, I'm an AP Biology Teacher =)

I don't think you could take the keys on/off with great frequency before the plastic tabs started to break. However, with regular, less extensive cleanings the frequency of thorough cleanings can be minimized. I have a couple other keyboards that I wipe down with antiseptic wipes and use compressed air to blow them out once a week, and those are in much better shape. I went looking for a really nasty keyboard so I'd have a good example, and a good bacterial culture! Thanks for the comment, please vote for me if you liked my Instructable.
billb6 years ago
I liked your Instructable very much. I don't have a dirt problem though. I use a KB COVER membrane. The large type version. I have one for my older Mac keyboard like the one you cleaned and I have one for my new style Mac keyboard. Still a cool Instructable for those who don't protect their keyboards.
BioZone (author)  billb6 years ago
I'll have to check those out, I've seen them, but haven't looked into buying one. Thanks for the comment.