How to Clean a Keyboard: Step by Step Guide

keyboard cleaning guide

How to Clean a Keyboard: Step by Step Guide

Table of Contents

Keyboards have become the centre of the business and technological world. If you want to use a computer for personal or professional reasons, you’ve got a keyboard and you use it often. But how should you keep this essential item clean? It’s electronic, so you can’t just wash it, but dust, crumbs, and spills are also an everyday hazard for keyboards.

Don’t worry. Keyboard cleaning is all part of a modern routine. Let’s dive into a step-by-step crash course in how to keep your keyboard clean and functional.


How to Generally Clean Your Keyboard

  1. Disconnect
  2. Spray with glass cleaner
  3. Wipe firmly
  4. Swab

Cleaning your keyboard daily or weekly, you can reduce wear just by removing dust and polishing the control panel. Switch “off” a wireless keyboard or unplug a wired one so you can really wipe down the surface and keys without affecting the computer. You may have to turn a laptop fully off to properly clean the keyboard.

Spray your keyboard with an evaporative glass cleaner (windex or isoproyl are both good choices) and wipe firmly with a cloth or paper towel. Use cotton swabs for tight corners, grooves, and between the keys.


How to Get Crumbs Out of a Keyboard

  1. Disconnect
  2. Flip
  3. Shake
  4. Tweeze
  5. Swab
  6. Pop

Let’s say you had a delicious piece of toast while reading your email, only to discover crunchy keys after the fact. Flip your keyboard over and shake it. Shake over paper to measure crumb build-up. Shake over floor for quick vacuum cleanup.

Tap and shake to drop more crumbs. Use tweezers and cotton swabs to remove crumbs from tight spaces. If necessary, use a flat-head screwdriver or butter knife to twist-pop keys off and remove crumbs from underneath.


How to Rescue a Keyboard from a Spill

  1. Disconnect
  2. Lay towel
  3. Flip upside down to drain
  4. Spray deeply with glass cleaner
  5. Flip to drain again
  6. Spray and wipe keys and panel
  7. Flip and allow to dry overnight
  8. Test in 2-3 hours

Here’s how to save your keyboard after a spill. Start by flipping the keyboard upside down over a towel. This will start it draining into the towel instead of into its electronics. Pat it dry with the rest of the towel and make sure it is disconnected from the computer.

Tip the keyboard up and spray it deeply with an evaporative glass cleaner. This will dissolve the spill further and encourage quick-drying on the internal electric parts. Allow the deep spray to drain into the towel for a few minutes. Then you can spray and polish the panel and keys to remove any residue from the spill.

Let the keyboard dry for a few hours, or overnight. When it is fully dry, plug the keyboard back in to test it.


How to Take Your Keyboard Apart to Clean It

  1. Take a picture of the complete keyboard
  2. Pop the keys off with a flat screwdriver or butter knife
    1. Fit the flat of your tool under the centre of each key edge
    2. Twist gently so one edge of the flat tool rises over the other
    3. The key should pop off easily
      • For keys with a small wire, gently unhook and lift the key after a slight pop
  3. Wash the keys in a bowl of warm soapy water
  4. Wipe down the panel with glass cleaner
  5. Swap the keyboard interior with glass cleaner
  6. Dry and reassemble the keyboard using the reference photo
    • For hooked keys, gently re-hook, align, and pop them back in

If you need to deep-clean your keyboard, you can remove all the keys by following the process outlined above. Use a small flat tool like a flat screwdriver or butter knife to gently lever each key off of the keyboard. You can clean a section this way or the entire board. It’s a good idea to deep-clean your keyboard about once a year, even without a major spill. Just remember to take a picture of your keyboard from above before taking it apart for easier reassembly.


Keeping your keyboard clean and in good repair is possible for anyone. You just need to know the procedure for both regular maintenance and the occasional responsive cleaning. For more step-by-step cleaning guides or professional cleaning services, contact us today.

Regional Services

Regional Services

Regional Services are an experienced commercial and office cleaning company based in London. Regional Services are an award winning and fully accredited cleaning company who provide a full range of facility management services and expertise including cleaning, maintenance, waste removal, pest control, gardening and more.


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