Cleaning your keyboard - How to clean your computer keyboard.

keyboard maintenance
Computer Keyboards can get dirty very easily but to clean the surface of a keyboard is very straightforward.

In this guide we will show you how to clean your keyboard thoroughly, as well as how to give it a quick once over. We will guide you through with the aid of photos and diagrams.
We have split the guide into two parts.

The first part is for keyboards that just need a quick clean. The second part is for membrane keyboards (most standard keyboards) and includes removing the keys for a thorough cleaning.

To keep your keyboard in top condition, the moderate cleaning could be done weekly, and the more thorough clean could be done every 2 months (depending on use).

What you will need:

  • lint free cloth.
  • dry cloth or duster.
  • suitable cleaning fluid (isopropyl alcohol).
  • cotton buds.
  • can of compressed air or vacuum cleaner.
  • flat tip screwdriver (optional for thorough clean).

Moderate cleaning (quick and easy)

cleaning keyboard 1



how to clean your keyboard 2
First, shutdown your PC and remove the mains plug. Unplug the keyboard (remember which socket) and hold it upside down to release any debris from inbetween the keys (pressing the keys is a good way to release it).

For wireless keyboards it is advisable to remove the batteries before doing any maintenance on the keyboard.

If you have a can of compressed air then use it to blow any debris from around and under the keys, if not then use the hose of a vacuum cleaner to remove it.

Now take one of the cotton buds and put a couple of drops of the cleaning fluid on it, use the cotton bud to clean the sides of the keys as seen in fig 1.1.

After cleaning the sides of the keys take your lint free cloth and dampen it with your cleaning fluid (don't put the liquid directly on the keyboard), give the surface of the keyboard a good wipe over using the cloth to trace the contours of the keys (see fig 1.2).

When you have finished give the keyboard a wipe over with the dry cloth/duster, you should now have a nice clean keyboard, to clean it more thoroughly follow the guide below.

Thorough cleaning (takes longer and requires patience)

Standard membrane keyboards only
(not laptops or non-membrane keyboards)


Shutdown your PC and remove the mains plug, unplug the keyboard (remember where it was plugged in) and hold it upside down to release any debris from inbetween the keys.

If your keyboard is wireless then remove the battery cover and take out the batteries.

remove key cap off keyboard



keyboard layout
This is where the patience comes in, make a note of the position of all the keys or you will have trouble putting them back correctly, alternatively just remove the letter keys A - Z from the keyboard (which is where the most of the dust/debris will be) and refer to fig 1.4 as a reference to put them back.

All the keys can be removed although the larger keys (space bar, enter key, shift keys, backspace, caps lock, etc) can be difficult to put back so you might avoid removing them.

Remove the keys using the screwdriver, ease the screwdriver under the key and gently lift the key top off (see fig 1.3).

note: don't forget to make a note of their position!
When you have removed all the keys (except any keys you wish to avoid) use the compressed air (or vacuum cleaner) to remove any dust and debris from inside the keyboard.

Now is a good time to give the keys a proper clean, for best results clean each one individually (the patience thing again) with the cloth and cleaning fluid, when clean, wipe them over with the dry cloth.

Before replacing the keys, take your lint free cloth and dampen it with your cleaning fluid (don't put the liquid directly on the keyboard), give the surface of the keyboard a good wipe over ensuring to clean as much as possible any keys that you haven't removed.

When the keyboard is nice and clean replace the keys according to your notes or if you have just removed the letter keys use fig 1.4 as a guide, to put the keys back on position the key in place and press gently but firmly until it clicks home.

After replacing all the keys give the keyboard a quick wipe over with your dry cloth and you have a nice clean keyboard. If you have a wireless keyboard then insert the batteries and replace the battery cover.
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