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How To Clean A Laptop Keyboard - Laptop Keyboard Cleaning Products

Updated on September 24, 2014

That Old Laptop Keyboard

Cleaning up your laptop keyboard is fairly simple, with the aid of a couple of products and some tools. Whether you do this because you are a germaphobe, or because your keyboard is just disgustingly dirty, or just because someone mentioned you should, you have to know that you found the right page. i have seen a few how to's on the Internet and I wasn't impressed, so I decided to share my experience, (I have been the IT guy for a company for more than 15 years).

You have to understand that cleaning computer keyboards wasn't always as easy as it is today, the products that we have today, weren't available a few years back. So it was either a tedious work, or a simple replacement.

Metro Vacuum 500-Watt Electric Duster

Metro ED500 DataVac 500-Watt 120 volt 0.75-HP Electric Blower Duster
Metro ED500 DataVac 500-Watt 120 volt 0.75-HP Electric Blower Duster

If you dust things regularly, or if you need a powerful dusting solution, this electrical duster, is the perfect solution.Environmental friendly, without bittering agents that leave marks, more powerful than the canned air, and safer than canned air, this is the perfect solution.Another great advantage of the electric duster is that you don't have to worry about the blowing angle, so when you dust a keyboard, you can actually blow air from underneath the keyboard, so things can fall down. With the canned air the can should be kept in a 90 degrees angle, that is very restrictive, trust me I know from experience.The most annoying thing with canned spray is probably the waiting time, when the can cools off too much and loses pressure. You have to wait for it to warm up before you can use it properly. I have adjusted to it, and i have two cans all the time, but the best is to use and electric air blower.

Laptop Without Power and Battery
Laptop Without Power and Battery

Step 1 - Disconnect All Power

Before starting to clean, power off the laptop, disconnect the power adapter, and take off the battery. This ensures that the laptop is not connected to any power source during the cleaning.

This step is critical, because it protects the laptop from damage. There are many ways you could damage your laptop during cleaning, the most common is associated with the shaking during the various manipulation; this could cause the hard-drive to break.

OXO Good Grips Electronics Cleaning Brush
OXO Good Grips Electronics Cleaning Brush

This is a general purpose cleaning brush with a silicone tip, that can help you reach in small spaces. The brush will help sweep dust and crumbles away, and the silicone wiper will help grab dirt when is stuck.


Step 2 - Dust Your Keyboard - MAX Professional - Air Duster

I start cleaning my keyboards with this product. This forces off of the keyboard spaces any small particles and the newer dust, that is not yet stuck on the keyboard. This step is just in preparation for the second step of the cleaning. While dusting with canned air, make sure you keep the can in a 90 degrees angle, otherwise you lose all the compression agent before the air, and you will froze the cleaned object.

Eventually, the can will cool off and lose pressure. You need to wait for a few minutes to warm up. Or have a second one at hand, and use them alternatively.

If you want, you can skip this step, and go straight to the second step - the keyboard slime.

MAX Professional 7034 Winchester Gun Firearms Air Duster, GD-007-034 (10 oz)
MAX Professional 7034 Winchester Gun Firearms Air Duster, GD-007-034 (10 oz)

The product is advertised as a gun cleaner, but it is perfect for your keyboard too. The reason is that this canned air duster does not contain any bittering agent, which usually leaves some residue on the cleaned surface. The price is fair, and the bottle is quite large.

Laptop with External Keyboard and Mouse Attached
Laptop with External Keyboard and Mouse Attached

Alternatives To Cleaning Your Laptop Keyboard?

Prevent Cleaning Your Laptop Keyboard

If the computer keyboard gets dirty, it's fairy simple, you just disconnect it from the computer, clean it as well as possible, and at the end plug it back in. If it works it's great, you solved the problem, if it doesn't, it's fine you can always get a new one, they are not that expensive nowadays. If the laptop keyboard gets dirty, it's a little more complicated to get it replaced. Firstly they are a little more expensive than the regular ones, secondly, you need someone who knows computers to replace it for you. It's not that trivial to take the old one off of the laptop, and install the new one.

If your laptop is brand new, I would suggest you to buy right away a plug and play keyboard, and use that one instead. This extends the life of your built-in keyboard, and it offers a little more comfort while typing than the tiny laptop one. I would suggest buy one anyway, even if your computer is older. The only disadvantage is that you would have to spend on a mouse as well, it is not very productive to use an external keyboard and the built in mouse. You will thank me forever if you start using an external keyboard. While on the road, of course, you would still have to use the built in input devices.

Schneider Industries Micro Vacuum Attachment 7 Piece Kit
Schneider Industries Micro Vacuum Attachment 7 Piece Kit

For a powerful suction, you need to use your regular vacuum to suck dust and dirt. The problem is that the regular attachments are too large and they miss precision. This can be fixed with an attachment kit for micro vacuuming.


Step 3 - Clean Keyboard With Special Compound - Cyber Clean - Home & Office Slime Cleaner

Now it's the time for cleaning the dust that is stuck on the surface of your keyboard. For this we will use a special compound, that is very pliable and fluid, but it is still elastic enough to get recovered in one piece from all the orifices.

To start cleaning, just place the slime on the keyboard and gently push it in the spaces between the keys. The special compound will stick to the dust and dirt on the keyboard's surface, and it will capture it.

Gently remove the compound off the keyboard, and wonder at the view of a shiny, clean keyboard. Just fold over the slimy compound, and the dirt will be encapsulated inside it, and you can use it again. the compound can be reused many times.

Cyber Clean 25054 Home & Office Foil Zip Bag - 2.65 oz.
Cyber Clean 25054 Home & Office Foil Zip Bag - 2.65 oz.

Cyber Clean is a compound that holds together pretty well compared to other products I used, and it is easier to recover after use. It changes the color when it accumulates too much dust, so you know it's time to get a new slime. The compound comes with an air-tight resealable bag, for storage.


Video - Cleaning a MacBook pro Keyboard After a Drink Spill

Other Computer Cleaning Products

Computer keyboard cleaning, can require more than one product, especially if you are doing it for many people, such as in a corporate environment, or if you have a computer shop. Here are a few products that can help you carry on the task with ease and productivity, without breaking the keyboard.

The 3M keyboard cleaning kit is a very easy to use product, and it can be used for cleaning the keys. It cannot reach under the keys, but it cleans the key very easy, you'll have a set of key brand new and shiny.

This is a great micro vacuum, one of the best on the market, considering the price is a great find. At this size you can't have all the power needed for heavy duty suction, but it does the job of picking up dust and dirt from small spaces such as between the keyboard keys, usb jack, and media card reader slot.

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    • aesta1 profile image

      Mary Norton 4 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      Thanks for the different products you've placed here. Time to do it.

    • norma-holt profile image

      norma-holt 4 years ago

      This is a great subject and one I have recently had to undertake. Because I use my computer every day I leave it open and the dust accumulates. I have a can of air and something else now to clean it and try to do it regularly. Never knew about the electric air so I will make some inquiries at the computer shop. Nice work.

    • shellys-space profile image

      Shelly Sellers 4 years ago from Midwest U.S.A.

      I have been using a wet cotton swab to clean my keyboard and it is still very dusty! Thanks for the cool keyboard cleaning tips and tools!