How to properly clean your keyboard

Take some time this weekend to clean your home office equipment

If you’re stuck at home worrying about the spread of COVID-19 like the rest of us, you should take a moment to establish a keyboard cleaning regime.

Your keyboard is easily one of the most used pieces of equipment on your desk, so it makes sense that you’d want to keep it as clean as possible, similar to your smartphone.

That said, you can’t just dunk it in the sink and wash it off like the dishes. Instead, you need to clean it with care, and depending on what type of keyboard you have, this might be a time-consuming task. It’s also worth noting that regardless of you’re cleaning method, make sure your keyboard is turned off or unplugged before wiping it down.

There are two main types of keyboards out there. First, there are chiclet-style keyboards feature shallow keys that don’t disassemble. You commonly see these on laptops and on smaller keyboards. The other type I refer to as large keyboards. This category includes mechanical keyboards and other big keyboards that feature removable keys.

Chiclet keyboards are the easiest to clean since you can just wipe them down with a damp cloth and some soap or some form of cleaner that features at least 70 percent alcohol. Just make sure you follow up with a dry cloth because you don’t want to allow moisture to build up anywhere in the keyboard.

To take things a step further, you can do some spot cleaning between the keys with a Q-tip or a can of compressed air.

If you have a larger keyboard with detachable keys, you can easily pop all of them off and wash them in a sink full of soapy water. Before you take it apart, make sure you snap a picture of the key layout to make re-assembling it easier. If you’ve never taken apart a keyboard before, you can wedge a pencil or popsicle stick under each button and pop it off with a bit of force. There are also specific tools designed to remove keys.

While those keys are drying, you can once again take a Q-tip or some kind of small brush to clear away the rest of the debris and dirt hidden in your keyboard.

If you end up taking the time to wipe down your keyboard at the end of a busy day or week, make sure you don’t forget to give your mouse a little wipedown too.