Five tips for keyboard cleanup

A clean keyboard works better, lasts longer, and is more pleasant to use than a grubby snack-spattered device. These tips and resources will help you stay on top of this maintenance chore.

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.

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Jody Gilbert has been writing and editing technical articles for the past 25 years. She was part of the team that launched TechRepublic and is now senior editor for Tech Pro Research.

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