How to Clean a Dirty Keyboard

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Introduction: 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

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

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

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.

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    20 Comments

    0
    SineM1
    SineM1

    4 years ago

    Thank you for this

    0
    Kalvster
    Kalvster

    11 years ago on Introduction

    I created a guide like that to clean your keyboard.

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

    0
    juveniledogs
    juveniledogs

    12 years ago on Step 1

    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!

    0
    GorillazMiko
    GorillazMiko

    12 years ago on Introduction

    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.

    0
    zootboy
    zootboy

    Reply 12 years ago on Introduction

    Lucky you. You get money, I get parasites.

    0
    bumpus
    bumpus

    12 years ago on Introduction

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

    0
    zootboy
    zootboy

    Reply 12 years ago on Introduction

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

    0
    Chard
    Chard

    Reply 12 years ago on Introduction

    good parasitology reference! i myself found lymphatic filariasis!

    0
    zootboy
    zootboy

    Reply 12 years ago on Introduction

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

    0
    hondagofast
    hondagofast

    12 years ago on Introduction

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

    0
    reedz
    reedz

    Reply 12 years ago on Introduction

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

    0
    mrmath
    mrmath

    Reply 12 years ago on Introduction

    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.

    0
    LinuxH4x0r
    LinuxH4x0r

    Reply 12 years ago on Introduction

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

    0
    zootboy
    zootboy

    Reply 12 years ago on Introduction

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

    0
    LinuxH4x0r
    LinuxH4x0r

    Reply 12 years ago on Introduction

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

    0
    zootboy
    zootboy

    Reply 12 years ago on Introduction

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

    0
    Stercus Fit
    Stercus Fit

    12 years ago on Introduction

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

    0
    aliceownsj00
    aliceownsj00

    12 years ago on Introduction

    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!

    0
    zootboy
    zootboy

    Reply 12 years ago on Introduction

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