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Old 06-24-2003, 11:26 PM   #1 (permalink)
Cleaning Keyboards

How do you do it? Is it worth the effort? I need to get out the food, hair, dirt, and whatnot between the keys. The keys and the surround are pretty dirty too.

Is it easier to jsut buy a new keyboard?

Thanks in advance
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Old 06-25-2003, 01:28 AM   #2 (permalink)
Ashton's Avatar
Location: California
If you have a fancy keyboard it's worth the trouble to clean it..... I spilled a Martini on my Logitech cordless and had too pop off a few keys to unstick them, It works as good as new A cheapo keybpard wouldn't be worth the trouble though......
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Old 06-25-2003, 06:42 AM   #3 (permalink)
Location: Canada
Cleaning keyboards can be an interesting task. If there's a lot of dry stuff on it (dirt, hairs, dust, etc.), then cleaning is easy. If you have spilled something on it (coffee, pop, whatever), then buy a new one.

Cleaning Steps:

Unplug your keyboard.
First, get a nice clean cloth, damp it a bit, and wipe off all surface dust and dirt.
Now, take a vacuum cleaner (Shopvacs work well) and clean between the keys. If you have compressed air, or a blower vacuum, then blow some air into the gaps. Take a flat object (butterknife works well), and pry out the keys...(its very easy, they should just snap off)....Then, blow out any dust and hairs from the inside.
If there's permanent spots on the keyboard (dirt, fingerprints, etc.) then get some 80% or lower Rubbing alcohol (Isopropyl Alcohol) and wipe off dirty spots. Leave the keyboard to dry.

Make sure the thing is compltely dry before you plug it in.

If you like taking risks, try giving it a bath in pure distilled water. Then leave it to dry. Technically, nothing should happen to the keyboard.
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Old 06-25-2003, 03:04 PM   #4 (permalink)
fhqwhgads's Avatar
One big thing to remember:

If you're not extremely familiar with the layout of your keys, write them down!

It's a pain in the ass to try to remember where the insert, delete, end, home keys go.
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Old 06-25-2003, 03:18 PM   #5 (permalink)
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office depot: can of air
"compressed air duster"
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Old 06-25-2003, 04:31 PM   #6 (permalink)
Just put it in the dish washing machine...

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Old 06-26-2003, 02:25 AM   #7 (permalink)
Ashton's Avatar
Location: California
If you do decide to pop off the keys....... remember that the shift, backspace, enter and spacebar keys have a bracket to keep them from wobbling and it's a bitch to get them back in place unless you know how to pop them back in..... although when you figure it out it's easy
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Old 06-26-2003, 01:06 PM   #8 (permalink)
I find that the compressed can of air works well too. But I'm curious to see if the wet wash cloth will get rid of the grease buildup the keys usually get from your hands. Will it take care of that problem too?
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Old 06-26-2003, 11:02 PM   #9 (permalink)
Originally posted by shadrock
Just put it in the dish washing machine...

Actually, I've done this after I spilled V8 into mine. Just put it in on the shortest cycle without detergent and pull it out before the dry cycle comes on. Let it dry for a couple days and it's good as new.

Beats the hell out of shelling out for a new one.
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Old 06-28-2003, 04:25 AM   #10 (permalink)
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You can use the dishwasher if you take dont get the circuit board wet so remove it. If your keyboard has too many pieces to remove then a good can of compessed air works just as good..

then again my old keyboard isn't working anymore.. I swear the diswasher didn't cause it.
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Old 06-28-2003, 04:24 PM   #11 (permalink)
Location: Calgary, AB
j ust fixed my right shift key. looking under it almost made me vomit though. ugh, i think i'd rather buy a new kb than clean out this one
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Old 06-30-2003, 08:48 PM   #12 (permalink)
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Location: Tucson, AZ
I've found that if you spray a household cleaner like Fantastic or Windex on a paper towel, then brush the towel over the keys lightly pressing the towel to a single key at a time you can get the finger goo off the keys without even unplugging.
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Old 07-01-2003, 01:04 AM   #13 (permalink)
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Location: North Carolina
You can rinse most keyboard off under the faucet....as long as they aren't laptop keyboards.

I have done this several times with mine, and it still works fine.
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Old 07-02-2003, 08:02 AM   #14 (permalink)
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Location: Atlanta
take it apart form the back. there's a rubber membrane below the keys to catch spills. just wash that under the sink, shake all the bits out of the keyboard, and put it back together. (dishwasher method killed my roommates keyboard)
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Old 07-02-2003, 01:07 PM   #15 (permalink)
we resurrect keyboards around here all the time, usually with isopropyl alcohol and an air duster. Done regularly, they'll look and function like new. We've got a lot of women here that use WAY too much hand lotion and you'd be surprised how much gunk accumulates.
Old 07-03-2003, 08:33 AM   #16 (permalink)
also, 409 (from local grocery cleaning supply section ) works great for the crap built up on the keyboard. agree with many others that compressed air works great for the hair/fuzz/dust between keys

good luck
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Old 07-04-2003, 08:53 AM   #17 (permalink)
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Location: redmond, washington
Most you can just pop the keys off (careful with the space bar, some keyboards have a funky wire holding it on) and you can clean it with a few q-tips and a damn cloth.

I have a terrible time cleaning mine, its always filthy.

I've heard things about cans of air (you can get them in the computer section of most stores) and you can just spray all the junk out, as long as its not sticky.

Good luck
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Old 07-05-2003, 02:39 PM   #18 (permalink)
my keyboard is so freaking dirty, im just going to buy a new one. theres enough cookie crums under my keys to make a whole new batch of cookies.

and theres chocolate stuck on some places, man its gross.
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Old 07-08-2003, 06:28 PM   #19 (permalink)
zero2's Avatar
I make sure your comp is turned off, unplug keyboard, pull out cotton swabs and isopropl alcohol, and start swabbing the keys.

If there something inside your keyboard like dust, use compressed air, make sure that you point the can at an angle, and not downward, or you could release coolant which would then be a lot worse.

Sometimes I even unscrew the screw open up the keyboard and clean within. Good luck
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Old 07-09-2003, 10:45 AM   #20 (permalink)
Location: Wisconsin, USA
I just have to tell this story. I was assigned a help desk ticket for a broken keyboard. When I visited the user's office I found that it wasn't working and replaced it with a new one.

When I picked up the "broken" keyboard, about a cup of liquid spilled out of it! Turned out she had decided to clean her keyboard. By spraying windex on the keys, wiping it down, and repeating. Not the way to go about it. Once it dried out, it worked fine.
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Old 07-09-2003, 01:42 PM   #21 (permalink)
zero2's Avatar
Originally posted by mtsgsd
I just have to tell this story. I was assigned a help desk ticket for a broken keyboard. When I visited the user's office I found that it wasn't working and replaced it with a new one.

When I picked up the "broken" keyboard, about a cup of liquid spilled out of it! Turned out she had decided to clean her keyboard. By spraying windex on the keys, wiping it down, and repeating. Not the way to go about it. Once it dried out, it worked fine.
cool story, I had a lady come to me asking why her keyboard wasn't working too, she told she had cleaned her keyboard becuase her makeup was getting on the keys and food was dropping in between the keys. So I asked her how did she clean it, she told me she soaked a towel in water and started wiping away...I said whoooa whooa you never clean a keyboard like that.
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Old 07-10-2003, 03:03 AM   #22 (permalink)
I have this Duster stuff in a bottle that is basically a can o compressed air. Shoots anything in the keyboard out---excluding liquids of course.
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Old 07-10-2003, 01:34 PM   #23 (permalink)
Location: Canada eh?
Originally posted by shadrock
Just put it in the dish washing machine...

If you have an M style IBM keyboard (the clicky kind based on the slectric electric typewriter) you can do this. Make sure you set the dishwasher on a rinsh and hold setting or take it out before the dry cycle unless you're after a Salvidor Dali experience DAMHIKT.

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Old 07-10-2003, 03:55 PM   #24 (permalink)
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Aren't there like these thin plastic coverings that slip onto the keyboard, you can even type with them on, best of all it will protect you keyboard from spills, dust, and crumbs.
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Old 07-11-2003, 04:15 AM   #25 (permalink)
yeah, they help, but not retroactively
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Old 07-21-2003, 10:20 AM   #26 (permalink)
Location: About 70 pixals above this...
Best thing i did with mine was use rubbing alcohol (highest M as possible) and just dropped it into the tub and started swishing away. works great, kills germs. Oh, and it cleans really well. Evaporates in a few minutes.
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Old 07-21-2003, 10:55 AM   #27 (permalink)
blow it out with air in a can
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Old 07-21-2003, 01:04 PM   #28 (permalink)
Location: Louisiana
actually windows had a program that tests your keys or its norton.. cant remember.. while you have it on test mode your keyboard is disabled so you can click keys.. so if you dont know where the g key is just start tapping till you find it and place it there..

unless your an ass like me and while your friend is cleaning it remap the keyboard.. hehe
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Old 07-21-2003, 02:27 PM   #29 (permalink)
Location: Louisiana
once again.. sorry .. mydragonfido.. should have left a note saying your were logged on my puter lol
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Old 07-21-2003, 10:48 PM   #30 (permalink)
I seriously put it under the sink, with all the keys poped off. then just use a hair dryer on it till all the water is gone (let it sit overnight) and your good as new.
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Old 07-21-2003, 11:27 PM   #31 (permalink)
dtheriault's Avatar
Location: maybe utah
can you pop the keys off of a toshiba laptop? my son plays with a tub of rice and i have a rice kernel stuck under the ctrl key. i hate not being able to use the ctrl key.
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Last edited by dtheriault; 07-21-2003 at 11:29 PM..
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Old 07-22-2003, 05:04 PM   #32 (permalink)
eh use a vacume cleaner and some alcohal and qtips
Old 07-22-2003, 06:29 PM   #33 (permalink)
Location: Cali
Don't use water on something that has circuits in it .. Doh. First pick the keyboard up and give it a few bangs and watch all the curmbs and stuff come out then ... Use a little bit of household cleanser or even alcohol and wipe it up immediately. As some people have said .. jsut go buy a new keyboard, you can get inexpensive ones that are just as good as the expensive models.
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Old 07-22-2003, 09:59 PM   #34 (permalink)
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Old 07-23-2003, 02:50 AM   #35 (permalink)
Location: Northern New England
buy a new one. figure how much your time is worth.
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Old 07-23-2003, 08:32 AM   #36 (permalink)
Location: USA
Just going to say keyboards left uncleaned get disgusting!! And I don't gross out easily, but if you eat and drink at your desk, have pets, and whatnot, look out lol. It is unbelievable to me everytime I clean it how nasty it has gotten. A while back some hardware site sent a typical dirty keyboard from their office to have it checked for viruses, bacteria, etc. When they got the results it was amazing, everything known to humankind that can get you sick was in there, ewww. So keep the keyboards clean kids!
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Old 07-23-2003, 11:33 AM   #37 (permalink)
I clean mine all the time. Just take the screws out the back to take the outer pieces apart, and make sure u pay attention to what order the layers are in in inside before you touch them. Most keyboards have a big rubber pad that controls the key depression and in this case it is very easy. Some keyboards, (Dell keyboards are the only one's I've seen that do this...QuietKey), have individual road rubber "dimples" for each key. Those can be a real pain to put back in. Otherwise, it's rather simple. You can pop the keys out and clean them individually if you have a bit of time. If you use any type of cleaner on the inside though, make sure it dries completely before putting it back together. Any type of moisture in the keyboard will cause erratic behavior, aka "spilt coffee syndrome".
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Old 07-23-2003, 12:51 PM   #38 (permalink)
Too hot in the hot tub!
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I have read an article where a guy took apart his apple keyboard and put it in the dish washer, sans - electronics.

Put it back together and it was good as new.

I don't think I would use the high heat setting tho.
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