Keyboard Cleaning Tips

Have you ever looked at your keyboard? I mean…really looked closely at it? Dirty keys and stuff stuck between them? Gross.

When was the last time it was cleaned? Maybe never? Whether your answer is “never” or “not since forever”, you should clean your keyboard regularly — and here are some keyboard cleaning tips on how to do it both effectively and safely.

Before you do any cleaning, be sure to unplug your keyboard from the computer. This can’t be stressed enough. If you’re using a laptop or netbook, power it down before getting underway with the cleaning process.

  1. Keep a canister of Clorox or Lysol disinfectant wipes handy. Not only can you wipe your keyboard clean, you can use them on your phone, too. These wipes are an easy way to keep germs from spreading between multiple users; especially important during flu season.
  2. If you have a USB vacuum cleaner, go town. Most of us don’t. But you can easily find a can of compressed air with an extension nozzle. Plus it’s cheaper. Hold your keyboard at a 45 degree angle and spray in short bursts.
  3. Can’t find that canister of compressed air in your supply closet? Scotch tape will work to pick up crumbs in between your keys. Heck, even the sticky end of a post it note will do the trick.
  4. Work from home? Use your hairdryer the same way you would use a can of compressed air.

If you want to get your keyboard really clean, the best method is to carefully take the keys out and lay them on the floor in the same pattern as they sit on your keyboard. Take a picture…just in case. Vacuum out what is under the keys then clean each key with isopropyl alcohol and a Q-tip or a damp cloth. Sure, it’ll take some time — but it’ll be thorough — and worth it in the long run.

Before your keyboard just stops working altogether you need to start cleaning your keyboard regularly. Keep your keyboard clean and you’ll be keeping that keyboard around for a lot longer.

How often do you clean your keyboard? Better still, do you have any tips on cleaning your keyboard? Please share them with us in the comments.


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Melanie Brooks has written for newspapers, magazines, blogs, and websites from Maine to New Jersey. She currently works as an editor for Bangor Metro and Maine Ahead magazines.


  1. Vatsala Dorairajan on the 23rd December

    I usually use Colin Glass Cleaning Liquid to wipe the grime out of my keyboard – and I try to do once in a fortnight, failing which definitely once in a month for sure.

  2. Tristan on the 23rd December

    I use the air cans, and they work great. But it’s been far too long now…

    I saw recently that some company (I think it’s Toshiba?) has created spill-proof, dust-proof keyboards that you can wipe off. I’ve played with one at the store and it was just a very thin layer of rubber over the keyboard. It made typing slightly more inconvenient, but it would be impossible for it to get dirty.

  3. Jack on the 26th December

    I’m a fanatic aout keeping my computer clean. I own a couple of Macs and the cleaning is as simple as spraying windex onto a paper towel and wiping everything down. Works great.

  4. Angelee on the 27th December

    We just simply use a small brush…

  5. Jenny D on the 9th January

    Just one thing – if you use your hairdryer or a vacuum cleaner, keep them well away from touching the keyboard. There can be static electricity which may short out the electronics in the keyboard.

  6. Cubicle on the 15th January

    no to compressed air?

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