How to Clean a Keyboard

A keyboard contains 400 times as much bacteria as a toilet seat. Ew. Luckily, you can clean it!

This is my first Instructable! Yay! If you have any feedback, feel free to comment, or PM me.

DISCLAIMER: I'm not responsible if you break your keyboard. But don't worry, that's not very likely.

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Step 1: What You Need

You will need:

  • a keyboard
  • Rubbing alcohol
  • Cotton swabs
  • Something to rub the gunk onto. I used some toilet paper.
  • A flathead screwdriver, or something similar

Step 2: Take Off the Keys!

Unplug your keyboard. I don't think anything bad will happen if you don't, but still. Better safe than sorry.

Take your flathead screwdriver (or similarly shaped tool), and stick it under one of the corners of the key. It helps if you have a part of the screwdriver touching the edge of the "pit" in the keyboard. Cover the area with your hand, so that the key doesn't go flying. Now just push down on the screwdriver, using it kind of like a lever.


Congratulations! Now just repeat it over 100 times for the rest of your keyboard. Make sure that you organize your keys, so that when you put them back, they're in the right spot. I recommend you do 1 section at a time, so there's less to keep track of. If you do manage to mix them up, here's a good image to use to put them back:

Note: I'm only demonstrating on the number pad area of my keyboard because I recently cleaned it. However, the steps are still the same.

Step 3: Clean It!

First, take your keyboard to a garbage can, and shake. Let the solid particles fall into the garbage can. (I actually felt slightly sick at this step.)

Now take a cotton swab, and soak it with the rubbing alcohol. Clean everything out. Rub the key, and then rub the pit. This should dis-infect and clean them both. Now rub the gunk off onto the paper. Don't worry about the alcohol getting inside the keyboard, it evaporates really quickly.

Step 4: Stick the Keys Back In

Now that all the keys are clean, put them back in. Use a moderate amount of force. Make sure that it's aligned properly, and push down. You should feel and hear a loud click of sorts, and it should now work.

For the keys with two posts, push in the side with the full post first. Then, push the other side in. Now test the key, and make sure it feels like it should.

If your some of your larger keys (like the spacebar, enter, etc.) has a metal bar, this is going to be harder. Make sure the keys to the side of the key aren't on yet. This will make it easier. Now, detach one side of the metal bar. Place the bar in the plastic clips. Now align the post with the well, and stick it in half-way. Now just stick your finger under the side with the un-attached bar, and clip the bar back into the clip on the key. If you didn't quite understand that, check out the pictures.

And you're done! Plug it in, and enjoy your new clean keyboard!

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    Reply 10 years ago on Introduction

    As long as it's not a laptop keyboard, it should be fine. But to be sure, check on a lesser used key, like Home or a similar key.