Cleaning is an essential part of any regular system maintenance schedule -- and that includes the poor, beleaguered keyboard, with its propensity for accumulating crud and harboring germs. Here are some suggestions for ensuring that your users' keyboards (as well as your own) stay gunk-free.
Note: These tips are based on the article The worst foods to eat over the keyboard (and the best ways to clean it up).
1: Keep the canned air handy
Canned air is brilliant for removing dry particles from the keyboard. Have a dog nearby to eat the crumbs as they are blasted into space.
2: Use a vacuum cleaner -- carefully
A dust vacuum cleaner can achieve the same result as canned air -- but make sure your keys are firmly attached. It's just no fun digging through a bag of grot searching for the missing keys.
3: Take on grubby keys with screen wipes
Be sure to power off the computer first (pressing a key repeatedly as you clean could have some undesired results). Individual keys can be removed and scrubbed with hot, soapy water for a more thorough cleaning.
4: Try the dishwasher
As strange as this may sound, some people advocate the use of the dishwasher for thorough keyboard cleaning. Tech support blogger Joe Rosberg shared his experience with this trick.
5: Cover it up
For dirty or dusty environments, it may be worth investing in keyboard covers, although these do tend to make typing a less pleasant experience.
- If your laptop keyboard has gotten somewhat sticky, check out this technical note describing a thorough approach to getting it back to its former snappy self.
- 10-point cleaning checklist for keeping equipment healthy -- Stretch equipment life, reduce repairs and service calls, and keep users happier by periodically running through the steps on this list.
- Input this: Wild and wacky keyboards -- Who says that keyboards have to be boring?
- Dirty computers: Revenge of the dust bunnies -- Break out the canned air, anti-static wipes, and mini-vacuum -- these computers are dust-covered nightmares.
- 101 uses for canned air -- That little can of compressed air can come in handy in a remarkable number of situations.
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Jody Gilbert has been writing and editing technical articles for the past 20 years, including a stint with The Cobb Group/ZD Journals. In 1998, she won Ziff-Davis' Chairman's Circle Award for Editorial Excellence for her work as author of several Microsoft Office how-to publications.