cleaningBelieve it or not, the keyboard is one of the most dirtiest objects in our homes, even more so than the bathroom! Because of this disgusting fact, it is important that we learn how you can clean your own keyboard the right way in order to prevent such a huge build up of dirt from happening.

We are on our desktops and laptops constantly; sometimes we don’t even take any breaks of some kind in fear that we might lose our working momentum and get scorned at by our boss. Because of this, it’s no surprise to find out that all sorts of dirt and dead skin pile up in between the little gaps on our clicky keyboards we so forcefully press down day in and day out. Many people choose to eat and drink besides their keyboard as well, so it’s no surprise to find the odd crumb or chip underneath the keys either.

So how can we clean up this important peripheral efficiently? Is there a special technique or strategy that we need to master in order to do this? You will be relieved to know that it’s not so hard to clean your keyboard; in fact, just about ANYBODY can do it if they have the right tools and attitude!

So, without further ado, let’s get right into it!


desktop-keyboardHow to Clean a Desktop Keyboard?

We’ll start with the easier option, a desktop keyboard. This is the keyboard that is plugged into your desktop computer and not integrated into the machine such as the keyboard of a laptop.

Now, before you start cleaning, however, you are going to need a few things on hand to help you with the job. These things are:


  • An air compressor
  • Some cotton swabs
  • 2 cloth, one dry and another slightly damp
  • A keyboard map to show you where each key on your keyboard goes


1 – Unplug the Keyboard From Your Desktop

The first thing you will want to do is to unplug your keyboard from your desktop to make it much easier for yourself to access it without the limited length of the wire from giving you any hassle.


2 – Tilt the Keyboard Upside Down and Gently Shake It Around

Tilting the keyboard upside down and shaking it around will remove any loose debris in between and behind the keys of your keyboard. Make sure you are gentle with the shaking and that you have a steady grip of the keyboard to make sure you don’t drop it down onto your desk or yourself. The last thing you need is you injuring yourself or breaking your keyboard.


3 – Spray Between the Keys With an Air Compressor

With an air compressor, spray between the keys to remove any debris that may need loosening before being moved around and passing through the gaps between the keys by your shaking. You can choose to do this before you begin your shaking, or you can choose to do this after shaking, then start shaking again when you think you’ve budged any heavier pieces of debris.


3.5 – (Alternative) Remove Keys From Keyboard for Easier Access Underneath

Alternatively, you can remove the keys from your keyboard and clean out the debris underneath it this way as well. Not only will it be easier to do, but you will also get out debris that may be too large to squeeze through the gaps between the keys (don’t ask how it got underneath them in the first place, life’s a mystery sometimes).

Also, be sure to clean out each individual key as well to get rid of any debris or dust that may be stuck up inside the key.

Unfortunately, this is also the trickier option as not only are there a lot of keys to take out, but remembering where they all go back again afterwards can be difficult. That’s why you need a keyboard map to help you show where each key goes on your keyboard.


4 – Damp a Cotton Swab and Brush It Around Each Key

As there is a possibility of dirt and grim building up on the side of the keys, you will need to dampen a cotton swab and brush it along the sides of each key gently. Don’t dampen it too much to the point where it’s dripping water as this may damage your precious keyboard.


5 – Damp a Cloth and Brush It Along the Top of Each Key

Once you’ve cleaned the sides of each key, use a cloth and dampen it to some degree as you did with the cotton swab (not too much where it’s practically dripping with water). Brush the cloth along the top of your keys to clean off any dirt or hair that may be stuck on top of the keys.


6 – Polish the Keyboard With a Dry Cloth

After you’ve cleaned all the keys on the keyboard with a damp cloth, use another cloth – dry this time – to wipe off any excess moisture left behind and to polish the keys as well, leaving them shiny and like new.


7 – Plug The Keyboard Back Into Your Computer

After you’ve done that, it is now time for you to plug your keyboard back into your computer and to carry on with whatever it is you do with your computer, whether it be from working, playing games or to just browse the internet.


laptop-keyboardHow to Clean a Laptop Keyboard?

Now we move on to the more harder option. A laptop keyboard is, of course, integrated into the laptop and isn’t external or separate like a desktop one is, so cleaning one will be a little more tricky.

You’re going to need an air compressor and 2 cloth only this time; there’s no need for a keyboard map as laptop keys can’t come apart from the machine. If they have, then they’re broken and you are more than likely in need of a brand new laptop if that becomes the case.


1 – Turn off the Laptop and Disconnect It From the Mains (if Charging)

The first thing you need to do is to fully turn off your laptop and unplug it from the mains if you are charging it. This prevents any risk of you electrocuting yourself or damaging the laptop.


2 – Wipe the Keyboard With a Lightly Damped Cloth

Using a damp cloth, wipe around the keyboard until the keys are clean. Be sure to wipe around the rest of the laptop too if its dusty or dirty; you won’t want to do half a job now, would you… Make sure the cloth is lightly damp and not dripping with water as this may damage your laptop or cause injury to yourself from electrocution.


2.5 (Optional) Wipe the Keyboard With a Dry Cloth

If you’d like, use a dry cloth to wipe away any excess moisture left behind by the damp cloth and to also polish the keys and laptop to make it all look shiny and new.


3 – Hold the Laptop at an Angle and Spray the Keys With an Air Compressor

In order to reach debris and dust beneath the keys, you will need to use an air compressor. Hold the laptop so that the keyboard is at a 75 degree angle and slightly tipping backwards. Once you’ve got the laptop in this place, gently spray the keyboard with the compressor to remove any debris and dirt which may be stuck behind the keys.


4 – Plug in and Turn on the Laptop

Now that you’ve properly cleaned your laptop and its keyboard, it is now ready for you to plug back in, turn on, and to continue using it for whatever you use your laptop for.


keyboardWhy Is Cleaning a Keyboard so Important?

Cleaning a keyboard is very important because of a few reasons which I will go through with you right now:


1 – Debris and Dust Can Play Havoc With the Keyboard’s Efficiency

If you use your keyboard for playing video games, then you will probably need to clean your peripheral very often – about twice a month, especially if you eat and drink near it. Dust, and more importantly crumbs and chips off from food, can affect the keys on your keyboard.

If you press one down where there’s been a build-up of debris and dust, this might stop the key dead in its tracks and it won’t be able to press down all the way because of the obstruction. The last thing you need while playing your favourite video game is not being able to perform your favourite move or use a vital item all because you ate that piece of bread a little too close to your keyboard.

It’s best for you, if you game frequently on your computer, to clean out your keyboard at least twice per month in order to prevent this situation from happening to you. Or, you could just not eat and drink about your keyboard like some caveman, but we’re all unique I guess… You do you! 😉


2 – Keyboards Can Harbor Some Pretty Nasty Germs

Keyboards are the most bacteria infested items in your home or workplace. This disgusting fact should make it clear to you why we all need to keep on top of cleaning our keyboards frequently. If you go to the bathroom and don’t wash your hands (yuck!), you will be spreading germs all over the keyboard when you use it again.

Of course, this is obvious, but one that I bet you didn’t know is when you are eating some delicious, finger-licking food. Now, this is fine as long as you keep the food away from the keyboard as to not drop crumbs or chips inside it, but we all have that habit of licking our fingers clean once we’ve finished eating.

Those fingers now carry our personal mouth germs, and without us even knowing about it, we return to using our keyboard, ultimately spreading our mouth germs all over the keys. Couple this with the fact that we CONSTANTLY use our computers and we’ve got ourselves a nasty, germ-flooded household (or workhold) item.

Cleaning a keyboard gets rid of these germs, and decrowns the keyboard from the top of the “most bacteria infested item” list… if only for about a few days or so. Then, it’s back to the drawing board because you keep licking your pesky fingers after eating! 😉


3 – It Makes the Keyboard Look Nice and Clean

Finally, cleaning and polishing a keyboard will make the keyboard look and feel brand new and very attractive to your hardworking fingers. We all want to keep on top of cleaning and keeping our appliances and items at home or at work clean and tidy, so why don’t you do the some with your keyboard?

It will look very nice at the end, and you will congratulate yourself for a job well done!



In conclusion to all of this, cleaning a keyboard is VERY important, and absolutely crucial if you want it to look nice and brand new first of all, but to also rid if of any disgusting germs and bacteria that either yourself or your friend or colleague has left behind.

Thank you so much for reading this article, and I hope you have learned something new with this. If you have any questions or thoughts about cleaning your keyboard, please don’t be shy to drop a comment down in the comments section below.

If you enjoyed this post, please be sure to check out my recent “best of” lists where I find you the best peripheral or accessory that you can get for your computer. They are – joysticks, racing wheels, and keyboards.

Thank you and have a wonderful day!


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