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Laptop keyboards: cleaning and disinfecting hard to reach areas on the regular

After a few weeks of use, your laptop’s keyboard is bound to become a gathering spot for dust, hair, coffee, and bits of food. Not only that, but your keyboard can also be a rich source of bacteria. Let’s face it, you use your laptop just about every day in every kind of setting.

Not only that, your hands are used in just about every facet of your life. It’s essential to clean your keyboard regularly and to clean out those particles that can turn into mold or even damage your laptop over time.

When cleaning a laptop keyboard, it’s easy for you to do more harm than good, so take heed. It’s critical to clean your keyboard using proper cleaning materials and methods to ensure you don’t damage your computer rendering it useless. Laptops can be costly, and you don’t want to have to replace them over something that, if just done properly, could have prevented it from breaking in the first place.

Investing a few minutes out of your day to clean your keyboard will help to keep your computer in excellent condition. Follow these easy-to-follow steps to clean your laptop keyboard without doing permanent damage. 

How to clean your laptop keyboard

When you clean your keyboard, the first thing you should do is completely power off your computer. This prevents you from pressing any keys that could potentially start programs, change settings, delete files, and other unwanted actions. Take it one step further; unplug your computer from any electrical source. This is a safety measure just in case the keyboard gets wets and something shorts. 

To properly clean your keyboard, you will need:

Follow these steps to clean your laptop keyboard:

  1. The first thing you will want to do when cleaning your laptop keyboard is turn it upside down and gently tap or shake your keyboard. Holding your keyboard upside down helps to remove any loose debris or crumbs stuck in your keyboard. 
  2. Once you’ve shaken every crumb possible out of your laptop keyboard, grab your can of condensed air and ensure the straw is attached. Spray between the keys to dislodge debris that is stuck and dust the keys. Spray in short bursts moving along the keyboard. Never spray the condensed can upside down.
  3. Using a damp microfiber cloth, wipe down the keys to remove any grime buildup on your keyboard. 
  4. For stubborn buildup on your keyboard, use a cotton ball to apply isopropyl alcohol to your keyboard to get the buildup off. Use cotton swabs to get into challenging to reach crevasses on your keyboard. Alcohol evaporates quickly, so this is a safe option to clean your keyboard without short-circuiting it. 
  5. Use a disinfectant wipe to kill germs and bacteria that live on your keyboard, especially if the laptop is a shared computer. Never use wipes with bleach in them because they can damage the coating on the keys. 

Clean your laptop keyboard regularly to help reduce debris build-up and prevent key stickiness.

Related Article: How to Clean Your Apple AirPods

Removing the laptop keyboard keys

There are times when all methods fail to remove all debris from your keyboard. You could have stuck keys, and you cannot use your keyboard efficiently or without struggling. To clean your keyboard and remove tough debris, you will want to remove your keyboard keys. The keys can come off, but you must be gentle.

  1. Research your computer and find instructions on how to remove your keyboard keys without doing damage. Most of the steps are the same, but it’s a good practice to double-check. 
  2. Only remove the keys you think have debris stuck under them. The keys are held in place by small plastic tabs that could easily break.
  3. Take a picture of your keys before you removing. This helps you know where the keys are supposed to be placed on your keyboard, so you don’t accidentally put them in the wrong spot.
  4. Using a small flat tool, slide underneath the keyboard key to gently pop the key off the keyboard. Don’t force it as you do not want to damage your keyboard permanently. They make toolkits specifically for removing keyboard keys, but if you don’t have one handy, you can use your nails or a small flathead screwdriver.
  5. Keep your keys in a place where you won’t misplace them, such as a small bowl.
  6. Once the keys are removed, you can wipe the surface with a microfiber cloth or a cotton swap with a bit of isopropyl alcohol. If there aren’t any tough spills, you can gently use your compressed air to blast away dirt quickly.
  7. Carefully use the picture you took to place the keys back where they belong on your laptop keyboard. Make sure the sides are perfectly aligned, and gently push the keys back into place.

Cleaning up a liquid spill on your keyboard

We’ve all been there. Drinking a cup of coffee while working and inevitably something may startle you, or you may turn and knock over your cup of coffee. It always seems to land right on your laptop.

  1. If this happens, you will want to unplug your laptop and power it off immediately. Working as quickly as possible helps prevent electrical damage. 
  2. Take a towel and turn your laptop upside down on a towel. By doing this, you are using gravity to pull moisture out of your laptop, and the towel Is meant to absorb all that is coming out of it. 
  3. Using a microfiber cloth, gently dab your keyboard to absorb as much liquid as your can. 
  4. Let your laptop dry for one to two days. This allows your laptop to dry entirely and reduce any potential damage if you start it back up. 

Care for your laptop keyboard is easy and should be done regularly. Disinfect your laptop keyboard to help prevent the spread of germs in your household. Keep supplies handy, like a microfiber cloth for quick clean-up. You are keeping your keyboard clean and in the best shape! 

Cleaning electronics carefully is vital to make sure they stay in the best shape and extend their life.