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.
Step 1: Cleaning Materials
1. Isopropyl Alcohol or smililar disinfectant cleaner
3. Vacuum Cleaner or Compressed Air
4. Lint-Free Cloth (microfiber works well)
5. Toothpick or similar fine point instrument
6. Flat screwdriver
*Optional: Disinfectant wipes are usually low lint and also work well
Alcohol works well because it's a good organic solvent, and it evaporates very quickly, so you're unlikely to do damage to your keyboard. Be careful though, it is flammable, as are most compressed gas dusters, so do this project away from potential ignition sources.
There are several reasons after some careful research that I decided not to attempt this method.
1) It's got a high but not 100% success rate, based on my google searches (NPR Story)
2) I don't want to risk my fancy logitech keyboard (not pictured) or school property (pictured) on anything that's not 100% keyboard safe.
3) Yes, you could probably clean the keys but I'm not confident they won't melt and don't want to babysit my dishwasher.
If you really like clean peripherals check out these dishwasher safe keyboards, TV remotes and mice at SealSheild.com