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How to Clean and Sanitize Your Computer Keyboard

how to clean a keyboard

According to several studies, the average computer keyboard has more bacteria than a toilet seat. That’s why it’s so important to clean and sanitize your keyboard regularly. But how can you do this without breaking your keyboard? Here’s how to properly clean and sanitize your computer keyboard.

How to Clean a Computer Keyboard

To clean a regular keyboard, first, unplug it from your computer or take out the batteries. Then you can turn it upside down to shake out the debris, use compressed air to blow out any dust, and use cotton swabs to disinfect small spaces.

If you are cleaning a laptop keyboard, make sure to turn your laptop off and unplug it from your power source to prevent any damage. You might even want to remove your laptop’s battery if possible.

Shake Your Keyboard

First, remove any loose debris by turning your keyboard upside down over a trash can and gently shaking it or tapping the bottom. This will cause any dirt particles and food crumbs to fall out. You should also move it from side to side and at different angles to dislodge excess dirt and crumbs.

Use Compressed Air

To blow out any excess debris from your keyboard, hold it at a 75-degree angle (so it’s almost vertical) and spray it with a can of compressed air from left to right. You should spray the keys from about a half an inch away. Then rotate the keyboard and spray it again.

Make sure you attach the straw that came with the can of compressed air, so you can control the airflow. But, never turn the can upside down to spray your keyboard. This can cause the liquid propellant to enter into the openings between the keys.

how to clean a computer keyboard with compressed air

You can find cans of compressed air at electronic shops, office supply stores, or you can order them online on Amazon.

Use Cotton Swabs

To clean the areas that surround each individual key, moisten a cotton swab with just a small amount of isopropyl alcohol, and use it to wipe and scrub those hard-to-reach areas. However, make sure not to get your cotton swabs too wet.

how to clean a computer keyboard with cotton swabs

To remove tough stains, make sure you gently scrub them in a circular motion until they disappear. Once you’re done, use a soft cloth to remove any remaining dust or moisture from the keyboard.

It’s important to only use isopropyl alcohol with a high concentration between 90-99%. The rest of the solution will be water, which doesn’t mix well with electronics. If you use 99% isopropyl alcohol, it will dry very fast, which also makes it good for unsticking keys without damaging your keyboard.

Use a  Soft Cloth

To clean your entire keyboard, moisten a lint-free or microfiber cloth with a small amount of isopropyl alcohol. Then use it to wipe your keyboard down, including the top of each key.

use a soft cloth

If dirt doesn’t come off easily, you can moisten your cloth with a small amount of water. But make sure you don’t apply any water directly onto any of the openings, and never spray water straight onto your laptop keyboard.

Make sure you properly scrub the space bar and enter key, as they are the most frequently used keys on your keyboard.

Use Disinfectant Wipes

To sanitize your keyboard, gently run a disinfectant wipe along the surface of your keyboard. Then wipe it down with a soft cloth. If the disinfectant wipe is too wet, make sure you squeeze it out before you start using it.

However, you should never use any cleaning products that contain bleach. This can do damage to the protective coating on the keys. Apple specifically recommends using Clorox or Lysol wipes to sanitize your Mac keyboard.

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Remove Keys

Finally, you can do a deeper cleaning if your keyboard has removable keycaps. Every keyboard is different, so make sure to check your owners manually before you start removing any keys.

Once you’re done removing your keys, you can gently blow any debris away with compressed air. After that, wash all your keycaps with soap and water, or alcohol. You can also use a toothbrush to clean the keys.

remove keys

Once you’re done drying your keycaps, put them back into their normal positions on your keyboard, and snap each one into place. If you want to make sure all the keys are in the right place, you can take a picture of your keyboard before you start removing keys.

Now that you know how to clean your computer keyboard, check out our guide on how to clean a phone screen.

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