How to Clean Your Computer Keyboard - dummies

How to Clean Your Computer Keyboard

By Gary Hedstrom, Peg Hedstrom, Judy Ondrla Tremore

Just a splash of coffee or a dash of pizza sauce can cause the keys of your computer keyboard to stick. Keeping your computer keyboard in good running order isn’t that hard. You need screwdrivers; a blow dryer, vacuum cleaner with a brush attachment, or canned air (available at a hardware or home improvement stores); a soft brush; and electrical contact cleaner. If you can’t find the cleaner at the store, go to a store that specializes in computer sales and parts. Now follow these steps:

  1. Disconnect the cable from the computer to the keyboard.

  2. Turn your keyboard upside down.

  3. Unscrew the screws in the base.

    After they’re off, you’ll notice that there are two halves, the top with the keys and the bottom.

  4. Pry the halves apart.

  5. Lift up the top of the keyboard.

  6. Shake and blow out any debris with a blow dryer, canned air, or vacuum cleaner attachment.

  7. Remove residue and corrosion with the electrical contact cleaner.

  8. Reassemble your keyboard.

If the keyboard is balky or won’t work after you clean it, just get a new one. Luckily, it’s one of the less-expensive computer components.

Keyboards usually don’t sit flat on the desk, so anything spilled on the surface very likely won’t destroy the keyboard. But if you spill a drink directly onto the keyboard, follow Steps 1 through 4 to take the keyboard apart. Then mop up moisture with a soft cloth or sponge. The keyboard has to dry out before you use it again. You can wait a day or blow dry the two halves, using canned air, a vacuum cleaner attachment, or a hair dryer. Just don’t use the hottest setting; low will work better.

Sugary spills do a lot of damage. The sugar coats the keys and works like a magnet to attract dust. So even if the mopped-up keyboard works initially, it might not be long before you have to shop for a replacement. If you want to ensure you’ve gotten every bit of the sticky stuff off, you can take the covers off each key in turn to get at moisture that may have seeped inside. Use a small screwdriver to pry off the covers.

Wireless keyboards depend on power, just as much as wired ones do. If your wireless seems lazy, it’s probably the batteries. Get some new ones at a computer store. And get real. You can’t drive off with it in the car and then expect to use it; it has to be fairly close to the computer to keep working