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How To Clean Your Keyboard Without Removing The Keys: Tips and Tricks

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How to clean a keyboard

A keyboard is one of the most important peripherals of a computer. It is the primary device through which we interact with our computers or laptops.

Over time, keyboards accumulate dirt, dust, and grime, which can make typing and working on the computer a less pleasant experience. It’s important to clean your keyboard regularly for several reasons.

Why it’s Important to clean your keyboard

First and foremost, a dirty keyboard can be a breeding ground for germs and bacteria, which can lead to illness and infection. 

Additionally, dirt and grime build-up on the keys can interfere with typing, causing keys to stick or not register properly. This can be frustrating and can slow down your work.

Cleaning keyboard with a cotton bud

So, it is essential to keep it clean to ensure it works efficiently and to maintain good hygiene.

In this article, I will outline some tips on how to clean a keyboard effectively without removing the keys, thus ensuring it remains in good working condition and hygienic.

Easiest way to clean a keyboard 

Whether your keyboard usually has breakfast or lunch with you or your furry friend enjoys napping on it, your keyboard faces all sorts of messes, which are sometimes pretty hard to clean up. So, it’s a good practice to give your keyboard a quick wipe-down every once in a while.

But, if you are a black belt in procrastination like me, fear not. Even we can take some simple steps to do it without breaking a sweat. Let’s follow the 5 easy steps given below.

1.     Preparing to clean your keyboard: what you’ll need

First thing first, before performing any cleaning operation on your keyboard it is always recommended to disconnect it from the PC or laptop.

Gather all the necessary supplies. This may include a microfiber cloth, compressed air, a keyboard cleaner solution, Brush, a disinfectant solution, and any other materials you may need.

2.     Removing debris and loose particles

The first step in cleaning your keyboard is to remove any loose debris or particles that may have accumulated between the keys. This can be done by gently shaking the keyboard or using a small, soft brush to sweep away the debris.

3.     Cleaning your keyboard with a microfiber cloth or keyboard cleaner

A microfiber cloth or keyboard cleaner solution can be used to wipe down the keys and remove any dirt, grime, or fingerprints. Be sure to use a gentle touch and avoid getting any excess moisture on the keys.

4.     Cleaning your keyboard with compressed air

Compressed air can be used to remove dust and dirt from your keyboard that may be difficult to reach with a cloth or brush. Simply aim the can of compressed air between the keys and spray short bursts of air to remove any debris.

5.     Cleaning your keyboard with a disinfectant solution

You can use the disinfectant solution to kill bacteria and viruses that may be present on your keyboard. Don’t apply the solution directly on the keyboard rather put a few drops on a cloth and wipe down the keys. Make sure to follow the instructions on the label to ensure safe use.

How to clean keyboard under keys

Sometimes there are stubborn stains or dirt particles under the keys which are hard to reach and couldn’t be just removed by gentle cleaning.

You can use compressed air for this purpose. Hold your keyboard upside down and blow out any debris or dust that is stuck in the crevices under the keys.

You can also use clear tape/glue tape to remove that as well. Just fold a small piece of tape in a manner to keep the sticky sides facing outside and rub it between and under the keys to remove any dust particles.

You can apply this method to remove the stains as well. Cut some small stripes of tape, apply it to the affected area, and lift it up gently. The effectiveness of the process depends on what type of stain it is. You may need to repeat the process multiple times if it’s really stubborn.

How to clean laptop keyboard

If there are grimes or goo under the keys of your laptop you can take the following simple steps to clean it effectively.

  • First Turn off the laptop and unplug it from any power source.
  • Use a can of compressed air to blow away any loose debris from the keyboard. Hold the can upright and spray in short bursts.
  • Turn the laptop upside down over a paper towel or something soft surface and tap the bottom to remove any remaining debris.
  • Dampen a lint-free cloth with a small amount of isopropyl alcohol or a gentle cleaning solution and gently wipe the keyboard. Avoid using too much liquid to prevent any damage.
Cleaning laptop keyboard
  •   For hard-to-reach areas, such as between the keys, use a soft-bristled toothbrush or a specialized keyboard cleaning tool.
  • You can use a product like cleaning gel for this purpose. Simply place the gel on the keyboard and wait for it to seep in around the keys. Then gently peel it off to remove the dirt that clung to the gel.

How to clean sticky keys

Dirt and debris, moisture, and mechanical failures are the common reasons for a keyboard to become sticky and not function properly.

If it is a more serious problem like hardware failure, you may need to pry the affected key(s) off with the help of a screwdriver or keyboard puller to identify and fix the issue.

But if it is due to dirt and debris, you can take the following steps to clean it.

  • Turn the keyboard upside down over a trash can or towel and give it a nice shake to move out any liquid, if it is caused by any liquid spill like coffee or soda.
  • Use compressed air to blow out the dust and debris.
  • You can also use an air blower for this process to speed up the drying process.
  • Damp a cloth with isopropyl alcohol and rub it on the affected area. You can use the liquid hand sanitiser (not the gel ones) for this if you are unable to find the rubbing alcohol.
  • Press the keys a couple of times to check whether they still feel sticky.

If the issue persists you may need to pop the keys out and clean the surface underneath.

Tips to clean the mechanical keyboard

Mechanical keyboards are more convenient to clean than other forms of keyboards. As these keyboards are meant for customisation, you can simply pull any keys out of their space to do the cleaning operation.

Clean the keycaps by soaking them in warm, soapy water for a few minutes. Use a soft-bristled brush to scrub off any dirt or debris, and then rinse them with clean water.

You can use compressed air or a brush to clean the dust from the switch. Also, use a small amount of isopropyl alcohol to clean the switches thoroughly and place the keys back to reassemble the keyboard.

Some tools for cleaning the keyboard

You can use the following products to perform the above-mentioned operations. You can also use the provided links to buy them online.

Compressed air

FoooIt Air Duster

Air Blower Pump

Can MAX Professional Cleaner

Dust cleaning gel

Crannies Dust Cleaning Mud

TICARVE Cleaning Gel

Cleaning kit

Professional 3-in-1 Cleaning Kit

Professional 6-in-1 Cleaning Kit

Lapster 3 in 1 Cleaning Kit

Cleaning your keyboard is an important task that should be done regularly to maintain its functionality. Whether you have a standard, laptop, or mechanical keyboard, the process of cleaning is straightforward and easy to follow. So, next time you notice your keyboard starting to look or feel dirty, remember to follow the steps outlined in this post and keep your keyboard clean and in top working condition for years to come. For more useful resources visit our keyboard section.

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