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How to keep your laptop keyboard clean

We take a quick look at some of the different products and methods to keep your laptop keyboard clean.

Published onApril 7, 2020

We can spend hours cleaning our houses, washing dishes, and doing laundry. However, there are things that we use all the time but tend to ignore when it comes to keeping them clean — our smartphones and laptops.

Read also: How to clean and disinfect your phone

Dust and grime on laptop keyboards, in particular, can go from harmless to debilitating before you know it. It’s certainly better to keep everything spotless now than have to pay to replace a keyboard that isn’t working later on. Here’s how to keep your laptop keyboard clean!

Turn it over and shake it (gently!)

Before getting started, let’s establish that anything you do below should be done only after you turn off the laptop and remove the power cord. Crumbs and other loose debris may get even more stuck in the maze between your keyboard keys if you try to simply brush them away with your hand. Luckily, it’s simple enough to get rid of.

With the laptop screen open, turn it over and hold it so that the keyboard is facing downwards. Some loose debris should already by falling away. Then tap on it or shake the laptop to dislodge the more stubborn pieces. Remember to do this gently. Even though everything inside your laptop is, or should be, soldered down, there’s no reason to take a risk.

There are a few ways to get rid of dust

Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon review keyboard left profile

You might notice a layer of dust develop on your laptop keyboard, especially if you haven’t used it for a while. Admittedly, even if you use your laptop all the time, it’s quite difficult to keep it completely spotless. There are a few different ways to get rid of dust.

You can use a soft-bristled brush to wipe away dust and debris. Do this gently and carefully, as you don’t want to inadvertently make things worse by pushing dust under the keys. Some brushes also come with a pointed silicone wiper that lights you get into tight corners around the keys.

You can also try a mini handheld vacuum cleaner. Make sure that you get one that isn’t too powerful since you only want it to remove dust and loose debris. It’s not really necessary since using a brush does t the trick more often than not. But I’d certainly suggest a vacuum to suck up the dust over a can of compressed air to blast it away.

Another interesting thing you can use is a dust cleaning gel. Simply spread the gel across the keyboard and pull the jelly back up with all the dust in tow. I’d suggest being cautious with this as well. You don’t want to pull out the keys of the keyboard when trying to get rid of dust. To reiterate — using a brush is the best way to clean your laptop keyboard regularly.

Wipe it down for the pristine look

Now that the dust and debris have been cleared away, it’s time to get after grease and grime. Like with everything else, it’s better to begin with something quick and gentle, and escalate if things get tougher.

Begin with a dry microfiber cloth to once again remove any dust that might be remaining. You can then wet the cloth and wring it thoroughly to ensure that it is only slightly damp. Clean the keys with this without pressing down on them as you don’t want any moisture to get inside. A gentle touch is key once again.

For grime that simply won’t go away, you might have to get alcohol involved. Dip a cotton ball or cotton swabs in some isopropyl alcohol and gently wipe the stubborn grease away. It goes without saying, but make sure that you always dip the cotton swab in the alcohol first and never pour it onto the keyboard directly.

Keep germs away

clean laptop keyboard - google pixel go

If there’s one thing that the COVID-19 pandemic has taught us, keeping your hands and everything you will potentially come in contact with clean and sanitized is key. Since a lot of us are typing away on keyboards all day, it should definitely be given the same treatment.

You can use a disinfectant wipe in much the same way as described above. Gently wipe across the top of the keys and don’t press down on them. Ensure that the disinfectant wipe you’re using doesn’t contain any bleach in them. You should also not use a disinfectant spray, as these may have too much moisture.

Don’t try to remove laptop keys

You may be wondering why I haven’t mentioned anything about removing the keys and cleaning under them. That’s something that is generally easier with mechanical keyboards. It’s quite difficult to do so, and sometimes not even possible, with most laptop keyboards.

If you find that a key is stuck, try cleaning around it with a cotton swab dipped in isopropyl alcohol. If that doesn’t work, I’d recommend getting the keyboard repaired and cleaned by a professional. If a key isn’t working on a laptop, there’s usually a software or hardware problem and not an issue caused by dust or debris.

And that’s all it really takes to keep your laptop keyboard clean!