TechBite: Keyboard Spring Cleaning


By Steve Bass

Cleaning Gunky, Dirty Keyboards

My keyboard’s always catching junk — dust, bread crumbs, and unidentifiable schmutz. I know for a fact that a clean keyboard lets me type faster and more intelligently, and more important, lets me finish this newsletter more quickly.

My method is simple: I use a tissue and rubbing alcohol to remove the grime that builds up on the keys. To get rid of all the loose gunk, I take the keyboard outside and blast it with a can of air. It’s one of those low-cost ways to feel like you’ve accomplished something important.

On those rare occasions when I’m feeling ambitious, I remove the four screws at the bottom of my way too expensive Avant Stellar keyboard, detach the keyboard from the case, and use the air can there, too. Try it if you have the courage — and the handyman skills.

And if you tip a bottle of beer onto the keyboard, some people recommend you try popping it into the dishwasher.

Newfangled Keyboard Cleaning
When I was at CES, the consumer electronics show, I found another keyboard cleaning trick.

TechBite’s columnist Steve Bass and PC World Contributing Editor publishes a free weekly newsletter with commentary on the technology products he loves, the strategies for getting the most out of them,and the gotchas that can cause computing misery. Sign up for the newsletter here

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3 thoughts on “TechBite: Keyboard Spring Cleaning”

  1. My method.
    1) clean dry small/medium paint brush for detritious on the keyboard and between keys.

    2)turn the keyboard upside down and gently shake in a lateral and vertical fashion to clear the loose stuff that managed to get into the keyboard base.

    3)A damp cloth/cotton bud for gleaning the keys and between keys if you really spilt coke/beer on the keyboard. major cause of sticky keys and not the windows kind.

    4) If you are feeling adventurous and know your key layout well, pop the keys carefully with a flat blunt item, a medium screw driver and clean the inside base of the keyboard.

    The last one is only for a thorough clean as the actual keys are protected from spillage buy plastic riser which the keys fixed into. Rarely will liquid enter these parts as the design of the keys prevent this.

    I have 4 generic keyboard and 2 G15’s the old and the new, they are years old and have illuminated keys and this method still works for me.
    I take no responsibility if you frak up part 4.

  2. I’m not that fast of a typer, so i wrap my keyboard in restraunt size Saran Wrap. Change it about every 3 months, depending on the munchies.

  3. > On those rare occasions when I’m feeling ambitious, I remove
    > the four screws at the bottom of my way too expensive Avant
    > Stellar keyboard

    Only 4 screws? Lucky you. My Logitech MX 3200 has no fewer than 18! (I can, however, pretty much wash the detachable keyboard, as there are hardly any electronics in it.)

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