How to Clean a Laptop Keyboard
Laptops are amazing machines and give us the freedom to work wherever we want, from our favourite coffee shops to our bedroom.
Their convenience means you use your laptop a lot, and in between lunchtime snacks and evening wine and film night, your laptop will get dirty. In fact, my laptop was definitely not very clean before I wrote this article but after following these easy steps, it went from disaster to disinfected.
First, let’s look at the two main reasons to get your laptop clean as soon as you can.
Cleaning laptop keyboards aren’t as easy as popping off the keys on a traditional desktop.
Grime accumulates unnoticed and as bacteria and germs can grow and build where your fingers type all day. A British study gathered swabs that showed an average London office carried more harmful bacteria in the keyboards than their toilet seats. The survey identified that people cleaned their keyboards very infrequently and their mice even less.
You use your laptop almost every day which means it’s going to have germs and bacteria build-up. To stop yourself getting sick, and to keep the germs away, use a soft, damp microfiber cloth to wipe the screen and keyboard at least once every other week.
Protecting Your Laptop
Regularly cleaning your laptop protects its longevity! No one likes working on a grimy laptop, but your laptop itself might suffer the most! Dust can prevent laptops from cooling down properly as it clogs up fans and vents inside your laptop which cause your laptop to overheat. This could wreak havoc on internal hardware and reduce the life of your laptop. Dust can enter the laptop through the keyboard which is why keeping on top of this will reduce the risk of overheating.
Here’s what to do, and what solutions work best for particular kinds of cleaning — without endangering your laptop.
What You Will Need to Clan Your Laptop Keyboard
- Isopropyl (rubbing) alcohol, preferably 90% or higher
- A microfiber cloth
- Cotton swabs
- Jelly Keyboard Cleaner
Compressed air is another possibility, but we don’t recommend it. It will definitely blast much of the dust and crumbs away, BUT it might also blow much of it further into your laptop, potentially causing more problems for the hardware. A vacuum cleaner is usually a more efficient solution, so start there.
What To Do
1. Shut Down Your Laptop
Sounds simple, and you might think you can get away with keeping your laptop on while you do this, and you may be right—but honestly, this process is much easier with your laptop shut off.
2. Remove Loose Debris
The easiest step of keyboard cleaning! If you’re busy this is a quick step you can do regularly to keep larger bits away from your keys and getting into unwanted places.
- Hold your laptop open and flip it upside-down, so the keyboard is face down
- It’s an idea to get help from a nearby friend nearby as it’s easier to see what you’re doing when you don’t have to hold and clean.
- Take your microfiber cloth and run it back and forth across the upside-down keyboard to dislodge any loose debris that may be hanging out around or under your keys.
- If you notice something is still stuck under a certain key, try tilting the laptop to different angles to get it out.
- Tiny edges on most laptop keys can trap debris, making it hard for larger pieces to escape out the cracks between the keys and the laptop’s chassis.
- If there’s something under there that you can’t quite get out with the microfibre cloth, it’s time to up the ante – skip to “Icky Stic-keys” below. Otherwise, it’s time for a wipe down!
3. Cut Through the Grease and Grime
Arguably the most common type of laptop filth as it’s where our fingers hang out every day. It’s easy to forget about how much built-up dirt, grease and grime your keyboard has. Let’s not wait for someone to point it out!
The solution to grimy laptop keys is simple: a little isopropyl alcohol.
- Wet a microfiber cloth or a cotton swab with the alcohol, and start wiping.
- You may have to go over trouble spots a few times, but you should be able to get rid of most residue (and bacteria!) this way.
- After this step, your keyboard should look good as new!
Note: Isopropyl alcohol over 90% is generally free of impurities. So, although you should be careful and not clean your keys with a dripping wet cloth, there is not too much to worry about because Isopropyl alcohol isn’t harmful to your keys.
Dirt, dust, and grime! If you clean your laptop, you will be doing your own health and the health of your computer huge favour.
What are you waiting for, we know you’ve spotted enough grime on your keys to get scrubbing!!