Whether you're working at home or at the office, chances are your keyboard is pretty messy. From crumbs and spilled drinks to dust and pet hair, the keys on your laptop are a magnet for everything around your desk. You know you need to clean it, but what's the best way?
At Asurion, our experts help millions of customers get the most out of their tech and resolve their device problems. Here's their guide on how to clean a dirty or sticky laptop keyboard without damaging it.
What can I use to clean my laptop keyboard?
Before you start cleaning your keyboard, you need the materials to do it safely:
- Microfiber cloth
- Soft paintbrush
- Cotton swabs
- Isopropyl alcohol
- Compressed air
All of these are good items for wiping down your keys, and it's safe to use a small amount of isopropyl alcohol. You can also use disinfecting wipes, but be sure to avoid wipes or any other products that contain bleach—it can damage the coating on the keys.
How to clean your laptop keyboard
Eliminating the grime and debris from your keyboard is simple. Just follow these steps.
1. Turn off and unplug your laptop
You don't want to risk moisture getting into your computer and causing it to short out, and you also want to avoid sending an errant email while you're wiping down your keys.
2. Flip your laptop upside-down and shake it
This should dislodge any large crumbs or dust balls on your keyboard. To make cleanup easier, it's a good idea to do this over a towel or garbage can.
3. Use a soft brush or compressed air to clean out loose debris
Use a soft paintbrush to wipe the dust from the tops and edges of each key. Try to do this while the keyboard is upside down to avoid pushing dirt further into any crevices.
If you have a compressed air can, you can also use that to blow out anything stuck in the keys. Spray the air in a zigzag pattern across the keyboard, then rotate it and repeat the process until you've done all four sides of the keys. Just don't spray the air directly under the keys, as that could cause damage.
How to disinfect a laptop keyboard
Get a microfiber cloth slightly damp with isopropyl alcohol and carefully wipe down each key. You can also put some alcohol on a cotton swab and use it to clean any hard-to-reach areas. Bleach-free disinfectant wipes are another way to sanitize your keyboard, just ring them out first so moisture doesn't get inside your laptop.
How do you clean under the keys on a laptop?
If you're wondering how to clean a sticky laptop keyboard—especially after a spill—the best way is to remove the keys, allowing you to wipe underneath them. Not all laptops have this capability though, so do an online search for your model to see if it has removable keys. And always be sure that you aren't doing anything to your device that may damage it or void any warranty or protection plans. If your laptop does have removable keys, here's how to clean under them.
1. Take a picture of the keyboard
This way you'll know where the keys go when you're putting them back.
2. Pry the keys off
You can purchase a toolkit for this from an electronics store, but a small, flat object like a screwdriver or knife would also work. Be sure to pry them off gently so you don't damage the keyboard.
3. Wipe underneath the keys
Use a cloth or cotton swab dipped slightly in isopropyl alcohol. But only use a little bit of liquid so it doesn't drip into your device.
4. Replace the keys
Wait for your keyboard to fully dry, then set and softly press each key down until you feel it snap into place.