Are You Suffering From a Dirty Qwerty? We Show You How to Clean a Laptop Keyboard


Go on, admit it, we’ve all eaten a candy bar whilst using the laptop, maybe a crumb of delicious Krispy Kreme got stuck to the touchpad , or even *gasp* spilled coffee over it. Use your laptop every day and it’s bound to get grubby. This can cause all sorts of issues, not least of all with your own health.

According to studies carried out by a microbiologist, after examining 33 typical keyboards, he found a mix of bacteria, including E coli and Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus Aureus (MRSA), which can lead to some pretty serious health conditions, least of all are sickness and diarrhea, which, when contracted from a keyboard have been dubbed ‘qwerty tummy’. His research found that the typical keyboard can have more bacteria than an office toilet seat, with one of the 33 having150 times the acceptable limit of bacteria – yuck!

Manufacturers of computers for medical facilities have addressed this problem by developing a washable keyboard and we are beginning to see this trend trickle down into office keyboards and so on.

However, the majority of us have the plain old regular get-me-anywhere-near-water-and-kiss-me-goodbye models, so how can we keep our keyboard squeaky clean and shiny?

How to clean your keyboard

Removing food particles is often solved by giving the keyboard a few quick sprays with a can of compressed air.

  • Unplug your device from the power, remove the battery and any external hardware
  • With the keyboard upside down, give it a few gentle shakes, tilting it back and forth at the same time – you’d be surprised how many crumbs fall out
  • Very gently tap the base to remove any stubborn debris
  • Once you’ve done that, use a can of compressed air around the keys to blow out any last bits. Keep the nozzle about half an inch away, use short sharp bursts of air from different angles, and make sure the can is kept upright or you make be squirting accelerant instead of air

Another simple method to remove debris is to use a vacuum cleaner with the brush attachment, being very careful not to vacuum up any loose keys; if this happens, retrieve them from the vacuum, give them a quick rinse, dry them thoroughly and slide back into place.

However, neutralizing and removing bacteria requires a tougher approach, and Isopropyl alcohol, also known as rubbing alcohol, is the best product for the job. It evaporates and dries rapidly, kills 99.99% of bacteria and viruses within seconds and is readily available at your general store.

  • Make sure your laptop is unplugged with the battery removed
  • Lightly dampen a clean, lint-free microfiber cloth, or cotton swab with the solution
  • Wipe around each individual key carefully, cleaning every surface of it, especially concentrating on the upper surface.
  • Change the swab every few wipes over to ensure cleanliness
  • Instead of a cotton swab, wrap a knife in a microfiber cloth, dampen with alcohol and wipe round the keys. Using a knife allows you to get into the gaps between raised keys more effectively

With all these methods, finish by polishing the keyboard with a clean, dry microfiber cloth.

This brilliant video contains some more great keyboard cleaning hacks, along with something extra special!

The Gadget Nerds