How to Clean Your Keyboard

Isaac Fernandez

Typing can get messy. Whether you’re a freelance professional, a gamer, or a student, you’re bound to get your hands dirty before typing away at your keyboard. If you’re a meticulous typer, kudos, if you’re like the rest of us, take a seat. When all that muck becomes too much, a simple blow into the keyboard is not going to cut it. You’ll have to get down to the nitty-gritty and clean your keyboard all the way through. 

The good news is that you can do it with tools that you’ll find around your house. However, if your keyboard gets sticky, you may need to treat it to a deep clean. That might mean getting a few inexpensive cleaning supplies. Today, we’re going to look at some handy ways on how to clean your keyboard without overspending.

Clean your Keyboard - under construction sign

The Old Upside Down Tap Out

Start by unplugging the keyboard from the monitor. Place a towel that you don’t mind getting dirty under the keyboard. Then, hold up the keyboard, flip it with the keys facing the towel, and tap the bottom (gently) at different ends. That should get the bulk of the loose stuff out. If your keyboard has detachable keycaps (mechanical keyboards, especially, tend to feature these), take them off and shake the keyboard out the keyboard. If your keyboard still looks gunky, keep scrolling. We have a few more things for you to try.

Brush It Out 

Keyboard brushes are designed to help you sweep out the bits and crumbles you’ll find in your keyboard. Available both in cleaning kits or sold separately, these keyboard cleaning brushes can resemble a compact handheld duster. To save a few bucks, use household replacements, such as a toothbrush, to clean up your keyboard. Simply run the brush through the space between your keys, and you’re set.

When in Doubt, Blowout It Out

If you didn’t know, you’re about to know. Whether you want to clean out your keyboard or other electronics, canned air is a necessary purchase. It can blow much of the gunk out of your keyboard in just two sprays. All you have to do is insert the straw-like flexible hose that it comes with into the can and blow away. 

Although extremely efficient, canned air won’t get rid of all of the settled dirt under the keys, but it will blast away everything else. Take some precautions first – the blown debris will disperse across your desk, so it’s best to do this outdoors. If your keyboard has removal keys, do that first then blast it away (how to remove keyboard keys). After a few blows, tap it out and shake it out once more. You’ve probably pushed the debris into other corners within the keyboard. 

The Handy Goo Keyboard Cleaner

When all else fails, consider investing in some of that goo everyone’s been talking about. You know, that bright-colored sticky stuff known as cleaning gel or cleaning gum.

This sticky tool picks up much of the dust and dirt by squeezing between the tiniest cracks of your keyboard and suctioning up any bits or dirt it encounters. Feel free to use the blob until it turns dark gray, or until you can’t touch it anymore.

Although remarkably efficient, there are a few caveats when using the goo to clean your keyboard. For example, some may leave a greasy residue behind. Also, the goo itself will get dirty, so you’ll have to replace it sooner rather than later.

Bathtime: Dismantle and Clean

If you have a keyboard with detachable keys, good, these keys are so much easier to clean when removed. Before you take off any of the keys, be sure to snap a picture of the keyboard so that you know where to replace them all after bathtime. You can clean your keys by dipping them in soapy water. Make sure you give them a good scrub. Then clean them with a small brush or cloth once they’ve had a good soak. After that, let them air-dry thoroughly.

What to Avoid

There are a few don’ts when it comes to cleaning your keyboard. Keep these in mind when planning to clean your keyboard:

  • Never spray fluids onto the keyboard. It will cause severe water damage.
  • Never submerge the keyboard in water or soapy fluids.
  • Try not to yank the keys off the keyboard — it could break them.
  • Stay away from any cleaning products that have bleach.


Your keyboard is just one of the various things that are covered with germs. Here is more on how to clean your phone screen, clean computer inside out or how to clean mousepad .

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