Cleaning Gunky, Dirty Keyboards

By  |  Thursday, March 18, 2010 at 6:49 am

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. It looks like a solution looking for a problem, and you’ll have to shell out some bucks to try it.

CyberClean is a neon-colored, gelatinous cleaning compound — the main ingredient is diazolidinyl urea. It’s kind of what The Blob might have felt like (Beware of the Blob! It creeps, and leaps, and glides and slides across your keyboard!).

It works like Silly Putty: Press it onto your cell phone, keyboard, a remote control, or even your child’s dirty face (just kidding) and it slurps up the debris. You can even use it on your car’s dashboard.

Does it work? Yep, it sure does. I tried it on a not-often-dusted keyboard that’s connected to a test PC. Watch a video of CyberClean in action. It was professionally produced by a member of the Bass International A/V squad.

If you’re wondering how long it’ll last, well, depending on how much you use it, and how dirty a person you are, it can last a couple of days to many years. Right, I haven’t a clue. A can — about five ounces of CyberClean — costs $8. Would I buy it? Probably not, but I sure stuck my hand out for a sample.

Fun with Pressurized Canned Air

Take a can of pressurized air in your car, the kind you use to clean camera lenses or, as I recommended, keyboards, and leave it in your car. Park the car in a sunny location, preferably in the middle of August, somewhere in Arizona. Wait until the inside of the cab gets nice and toasty.

Then watch how the compressed air can flies through the windshield and lands 20 feet away. Check out the pics.

The other option is to spray a blast of air onto your auto’s dashboard — and then light a cigarette. This PDF shows what happens.

[This post is excerpted from Steve’s TechBite newsletter. If you liked it, head here to sign up–it’s delivered on Wednesdays to your inbox, and it’s free.]


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3 Comments For This Post

  1. Anonymous Says:

    Cleaning your keyboard out with compressed air works better if you pop a couple keys off the corner of each cluster. (the Page Up/Down buttons, Ctrl key, etc.) It gives the larger pieces of gunk a bigger egress.

    If my keyboard is really bad, I pop all the keys off (take a picture first so you can put it back together exactly as it was), and wash the key caps with warm water and dish detergent. A paper towel dampened with the soapy water works great for cleaning that greasy residue off of the plate under the keys. This method is a bit more time consuming, but after you’re done your keyboard will be as clean as it was when it was new.

  2. Chicago cleaning companies Says:

    Excellent Post, We will use these methods to clean keywords.

  3. Sergio Says:

    I put my keyboard in the dishwasher machine. But before you do like me, look information in the Internet, there are lots about it..