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How to Clean a Computer Keyboard

How to Clean a Computer Keyboard

Daniel Horowitz
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Reading time: 6 minutes
A dirty keyboard is an unfortunate consequence of frequent computer use. Even if you try everything you can to keep your computer's keyboard clean, the dirt, dust, and grime are inevitable.
When this happens, it’s good to have a plan of action in place for how to best clean your keyboard. This will help you tidy up your keyboard and its keys. It may also help reduce any anxiety associated with cleaning electronics.
The good news is that there are several different ways you can clean both external and laptop keyboards, but the method depends on the time and effort you want to put into the job.

Best ways to clean a keyboard

Best ways to clean a keyboard
Whether you own a wired or wireless keyboard, the cleaning process is largely the same. External keyboards are completely detached from the PC, so it’s easier to do a deep cleaning. However, if you don't want to go through the extra effort, there are easier ways to clean your keyboard, too.

1. Manual cleaning

Before we get into the specifics of how to clean a computer keyboard, it is important to understand the different ways in which you can clean it. The first and most basic way to clean your keyboard is manually.
Start by turning the keyboard upside down to shake it, making sure to unplug it and clean out the USB port if it’s wired. If you own a wireless external keyword, take the batteries out before cleaning. And if you own a mechanical keyboard, you can clean the area underneath individual keys by removing the keycaps.
Once you shake everything out, you can get into the deep clean. Use a microfiber cloth, disinfectant wipes, isopropyl alcohol, or a cleaning slime to wipe away any dirt or debris.

2. Use compressed air

Want to thoroughly clean your keyboard? Use compressed air. It allows you to blow out dirt and dust particles from your keyboard as well as any particles lodged in between the keys. Be sure to hold the compressed air can upright and away from your body, and aim it at the keyboard while depressing the nozzle. This will create a strong stream of air that will help dislodge any unwanted particles.

3. Use a dust vacuum

The third way to clean your keyboard is to use a dust vacuum, which is the most efficient approach. You can either buy a dust vacuum specifically made for keyboards or use your vacuum cleaner's hose attachment. Only use the hose attachment on the lowest setting to avoid damaging your keyboard.

How to clean a laptop keyboard

It’s slightly more complicated to clean a laptop keyboard compared to a wired or wireless desktop keyboard because it’s connected directly to your laptop. And if you’re too aggressive with your cleaning, you can damage the device. Here’s how to do it properly.

1. Shutdown the laptop and shake gently

First, you need to make sure you shut down your laptop to avoid damaging it during the cleaning process. Now you can unplug your laptop, turn it upside down, and shake it gently to dislodge most of the debris. You can then use a crevice tool or a narrow brush to clean in between the keys.

2. Use compressed air

If you want a deeper clean, you can continue to hold your laptop upside-down and use a can of compressed air to spray a short blast to get any remaining dirt and dust out. If you run into stubborn debris that won’t come out, you can remove it with a toothpick or similar item.

3. Avoid liquid cleaners

Because your laptop keyboard is directly connected to the hardware itself, you shouldn’t use any liquids, like rubbing alcohol or soapy water, on the surface.
Instead, use a cotton swab or lint-free cloth dabbed in isopropyl alcohol to carefully clean the keyboard. You should then dry it completely to avoid any damage.

Best keyboards from HP

Sometimes, your dirty keyboard may be beyond repair, because the keys stopped working or you may have erroneously used a cleaning product. In that case, HP® has a number of standout keyboards available as a replacement.
After you buy any of these high-quality keyboards, it’s important to keep yours clean to get the most out of your purchase. Whether you want a gaming-specific keyboard or an all-around option for your home office, HP can help.

1. HyperX Alloy Elite 2 mechanical gaming keyboard

HyperX Alloy Elite 2
The HyperX Alloy Elite 2 mechanical gaming keyboard is an excellent pick for gamers, streamers, and video editors. This durable, steel-bodied keyboard features HyperX’s well-balanced mechanical switches, which offer manual responsiveness and speedy inputs for those split-second tasks.
The switches feature exposed LED lights and Pudding Keycaps, allowing the LEDs to shine brighter. But it’s more than just aesthetics, because the LEDs allow you to use the keyboard in almost any lighting setting.
You can even create your own lighting profiles with the built-in HyperX NGENUITY software. You can also set up a Game Mode, which allows you to customize your macros for enhanced gaming and video editing needs.
This HyperX keyboard comes with an additional USB 2.0 port, too, which is perfect for easily connecting additional devices. You can also connect it to your Xbox Series X|S and PlayStation 5 consoles for games offering mouse and keyboard play.

2. HP OMEN Encoder keyboard

HP Encoder Keyboard
The HP OMEN Encoder keyboard is mechanical and designed with competitive gaming in mind. It boasts CHERRY MX Red mechanical switches to deliver a deep red hue while you use it, and it features anti-ghosting and N-key rollover functionality.
This keyboard is also highly durable, with keys built to endure more than 50 million keystrokes. And when you need to clean the keyboard, you can easily detach the keys and get rid of all the debris and dust.
Even if you use it frequently, this keyboard will provide years of use. Plus, chances are you’ll love the USB cable, which is made of flexible nylon, so you can stretch it out without the risk of fraying or snapping issues.

3. HP wireless premium keyboard

HP Wireless Premium Keyboard
What if you’re not a gamer or video editor and just need a streamlined, easy-to-use keyboard? If that sounds like you, you should consider the HP wireless premium keyboard. With a slim and sleek profile, this keyboard will fit into any workspace and is a great option for work-from-home setups.
The keyboard features an on/off switch to help conserve power, and a convenient LED to alert you when the battery is low. This makes it easier to manage the battery life. The built-in rechargeable Li-ion battery provides up to 3 months of use on a single charge, depending on use. It also features a micro-USB Type-B port for easy charging.
The HP wireless premium keyboard excels with durability, too, thanks to scissor keys that can endure up to 10 million keystrokes. Scissor keys are based on membrane keyboard technology, and they provide a low-profile design that’s preferable for frequent typing during long tasks.

Summary

It’s far too easy for dirt, grime, and other debris to find their way into the crevices of your computer keyboard and cause malfunctions or just a nasty appearance. However, it’s easy to clean your keyboard in just a few minutes with the right tools. Just make sure you do it carefully and avoid leaving any liquid on them for too long, especially when cleaning laptop keyboards.
About the Author: Daniel Horowitz is a contributing writer for HP Tech Takes. Daniel is a New York-based author and has written for publications such as USA Today, Digital Trends, Unwinnable Magazine, and many other media outlets.

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