How to deep-clean your keyboard

Here’s how we can evict all that grime in just a few, effective steps

Amna Hashmi January 29, 2017

Too laden with work to take a proper lunch break? We hear you!

Snacks and caffeinated drinks are often our closest companions while we toil away at our computers. They fuel our ideas and thoughts and help us power through our days.

But what they also do is make way for an entire alien ecosystem to germinate inside our keyboards. Crumbs, grease and sticky tea or coffee spills, coupled with air-borne dust, often cause the keys to stop working. But more importantly, they give birth to germs underneath the keys which transfer to our hands every time we type. In fact, some studies suggest that office keyboards are bigger bacteria breeding grounds than toilet seats!

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If that’s not reason enough to sanitise your keyboard, we don’t know what is. As compiled from, here’s how we can evict all that grime in just a few, effective steps.

Eradicate loose debris

For this, you will have to shut down your computer completely. If you’re using a wired keyboard, unplug it. Next, turn the keyboard over and shake it readily to force all loose debris and food particles to fall out and clear the passages.

Clean the keys

A cotton swab dipped in rubbing alcohol is your best friend when it comes to cleaning a keyboard, especially if you’ve got a white one that is losing its colour due to excessive usage. You can also alcohol swabs from any local chemist as your cleaning tool.

Whatever you choose, hold it steadily and brush it in the area surrounding each key. You may end up using many swabs, depending on how dirty your keyboard is. Subsequently, wipe the top of the keys. Also, we recommend you test out the strength of the swab by using it on an inconspicuous part of the keyboard, lest it erases the lettering on the keys. Scrub the heavily used keys harder to break through the dirt.

If it’s just dust that you need to wipe, opt for a lint-free cloth. If you clean your keyboard frequently, it’ll remain germ-free and functional for much longer.

Remove and clean the keys

If your keyboard still looks like a toxic waste zone, it needs an even deep cleanse. Most desktop keyboards have keys that can are easily removable with butter knives or sharp objects so pry them off and clean inside. Make sure you remember where each key goes, though. Also, it’s advisable to read your computer’s instruction manual before to check if it supports key removal in the first place.

Once removed, the keys can be washed in soapy water. Wait until they are completely dry before attaching them back.

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Clean the area around the keys too

Removing the keys will grant you better access in and around the trenches of the keyboard. Wipe the entire surface, making sure you get into every nook and cranny. Get the inner corners, as well as the flat areas that surround the keys.

Put the keyboard back together

Now that you’re done with the tough part, it’s time to build back your keyboard. Put each key back in its place, putting a small amount of pressure to press it in. Once done, give everything one last wipe, plug the key board back in and voila! Everything looks as good as new.

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