How To: Wash Your Keyboard

Posted by kenchill. Categories How-to, Technology

You keyboard is one of the dirtiest things in your house/office. It carries a lot of bacteria on and inside of it. Day by day, it accumulates dirt, dust, grime, nose booger, hair, sweat, mucus, nose hair, saliva, grease, food, breadcrumbs, biscuit crumbs and small dead insect.

Most of the visible small dirt objects will find its way down below the keyboard keys through the small 2mm gap between keys. Most of it are not visible due to the shadow being cast on it by the keys, thus not giving you a clue on how great a rubbish dump it is.

The fact that makes it so dirty is that it is one of the most used objects in your house/office. Every time you use your computer, you have to use your keyboard (well, you have to use your mouse too, but let’s focus on the keyboard for this post). You never bother to wash your hands before touching the keyboard. After cleaning your nose with your fingers, you then continue typing on the keyboard. No matter what you did previously, you wouldn’t really think of cleaning your hands before using the keyboard. Then, AFTER using the keyboard, you also wouldn’t care to wash your hands before eating your biscuits, sweets or food (or digging for gold again).

Wash Your Keyboard!

So, what to do? Cleaning the surface with a damp cloth will not suffice! The dirt underneath the keys are still there. The easiest thing to do is to unplug the keyboard (well, laptop owners, please DO NOT attempt to wash your keyboard, this only applies to desktop keyboards) and give it a good shower. Before washing it, make sure you have spare keyboard, or don’t have to use the keyboard for at least 8 hours (the time it takes to dry out the keyboard).

The first thing you do is to give it a good rinse, either with a shower head or a simple bucket splash. The next step is to angle so that either the left or right side is lower and spray the keyboard from the higher side. This will allow the water to bring the dirt down to the lower side via gravity. Slowly, you will start seeing dirt coming out from the lower side (lumps of hair, biscuit crumbs, etc). Try aggravating it by shaking the keyboard.

Remove the dirt with your hands if possible, if not, get a toothpick and slowly pick out the hair or dirt lumps. Now, angle it to the opposite side, and repeat. This will ensure dirt on both sides of the keyboard get rinsed out.

Now you would want to sanitize the keys. This is as easy as using some soap and rubbing it on the keys, like how you would wash a plate. Make sure you rinse out all the soap and soapy water from under the keys.

Drying The Keyboard

After cleaning both inside and outside of they keyboard, it’s time to let the keyboard dry to ensure no short circuiting will happen when you want to use it. After the final rinsing, shake the keyboard on all sides so get rid of most of the water. Then dry the external of the keyboard using a cloth, towel or tissue/toilet paper.

Now, get a hair dryer (hopefully you have one!!!), turn th heat up and start hair drying the keyboard! You can’t really tell that it is really dry underneath the keyboard, so after you give it a good blow drying, you have to leave the keyboard in a well ventilated area for it to dry out completely. Leave it for a good 6 to 8 hours before attempting to use it again.

PS: I am not responsible if you keyboard becomes nonfunctional. Do this at your own risk or leave your keyboard as dirty as it is at the risk of your own health.


2 Responses to “How To: Wash Your Keyboard”

  1. paul - March 27, 2010 / 1:57 am

    Here’s a safer and possibly more effective method. I did it with my $70 wireless keyboard because I didn’t want to take any chances. Take the screws out of the back of your keyboard. Pull the top half off of the bottom. It will have all the keys in it, and they are usually secured so they won’t fall out. This portion usually doesn’t do anything other than push the rubber buttons on the inside, the ones that make the connections that put the letters on the screen. Once you remove the mostly plastic, non-digital portion, you can wash it with soap and mild detergent and a not-too-still scrub brush. Shake the water out, dry as best you can, and leave it overnight in a warm spot. I would avoid a hair dryers and the like, since the heat could cause the plastic frame of the keyboard to deform and stop working. When it’s dry, blow the dust off of the top of the inner portion (the part you didn’t wash, with all the electronics), and screw them back together. Voila! Works for me every time.

  2. kenchill - March 27, 2010 / 2:33 pm

    Beware though, cheaper keyboards might not have the letters/keys secure and it might fall out. I have opened up some keyboards before and they have a rubber in between each key and the circuit board, took me a lot of time to align everything again.


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