Wednesday, January 22, 2014

How to Clean Your Keyboard like a Champion

Most of the keyboard cleanup how-to's that I've seen online involve turning the keyboard upside down and tapping on it or using compressed air to blow in between the keys. Or using cotton swabs to clean in between the keys. That's lame. 

 What you want to do is industrial-strength cleaning. If you're like most computer users, chances are your keyboard has never had a cleanup ever, and has accumulated an untold amount of filth. 

 Which is why you need to clean your keyboard like a champion. 

 You need: 
1. A flathead screwdriver 
2. A vacuum cleaner 
3. A cleaning cloth 
4. Maybe an old toothbrush 
5. A pillow case 
6. A face mask is nice to have
7. Some kind of cleaning alcohol is nice to have


First of all, take a photo of your keyboard for later reference.

Use a flathead screwdriver to pop off all the key caps. A word of caution: do it gently. You do not want to break any of them. Do it like Charlize Theron cracking a safe in The Italian Job. 

This is what you will see once the key caps are off.

Is that a dead insect?

Anyway, this is not so bad. I've seen much worse while performing this procedure on my colleagues's PCs back when I was working in media. 

Btw, don't lose the key caps. Place them all in a pillow case. Tell you why later. 

Here now is the actual dirty work. Get a vacuum cleaner -- a real vacuum cleaner, not those lame USB ones. I would recommend an Electrolux Ergorapido handheld vacuum cleaner because you can hold it like this, like Norman Bates in Psycho (cue screeching violins background music). 

It's to provide an element of violence to this otherwise mundane task. 

Some keyboards may require using an old toothbrush to loosen dirt off them. 

Btw, you may want to put on a face mask throughout the cleaning process. 

Vacuum and wipe the keyboard until it's completely clean. 

You do not have to clean the key caps individually. That would be tedious. Instead, just put them all in a pillow case, tie the pillow case and throw it into a washing machine together with the rest of your dirty laundry. When they come out, you'll find that they have been magically thoroughly cleaned. 


Let the key caps dry and place them back onto their original places on their keyboard. 

The longer key caps have hinges so make sure you put them back on properly. 

Also, some keys come in pairs and they may not be necessarily the same length, like these Shift keys. If you place them wrongly, just say 'Shift happens' and remove them again. 


Almost there. 


The thoroughly cleaned keyboard. 

For more gross photos of unclean keyboards, check out this post of mine from 2007:


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