Bill Detwiler: A clean keyboard works better, lasts longer, and is more pleasant to use than a grubby snack-spattered device.
I'm Bill Detwiler, and on today's episode of TR Dojo, I'm going to give you five tips for cleaning up a dirty keyboard.
Cleaning is an essential part of any regular system maintenance -- and that includes the poor, beleaguered keyboard, with its propensity for accumulating crud and harboring germs.
So today, I'll give you a few tips for ensuring that your users keyboards (as well as your own) stay gunk-free. Just remember to disconnect the keyboard from the computer during cleaning and move it to a safe area.
Now, our first tip is to not let the keyboard get dirty in the first place. Users should avoid eating over their keyboards to prevent crumbs from failing beneath the keys. And, they should avoid setting their drinks near their keyboards to reduce the chance of spilled liquids flooding the device.
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 you're already dealing with a dirty keyboard, your first cleaning tool is likely to be canned air. This tool is great for removing dry particles from the keyboard. Just be sure to blow the all the dust and debris into and area that you can easily sweep or vacuum later.
Speaking of vacuum, that's tip number three on our list. A dust vacuum cleaner can be an attractive alternative to canned air -- as you're killing two birds with one stone (debris removal and containment). Just make sure that that your keys are firmly attached. It's just no fun digging through a bag of dirt searching for the missing keys.
Once you removed all the loose debris from your keyboard, you'll often need to tackle the caked on grime. This is when screen wipes can come in handy.
If you really want to make your keyboard sparkle, consider removing the individual keys and scrubbing them with hot, soapy water. Just remember that depending on the keyboard, removing and reattaching the keys may not be possible and even on the keyboards where it is, the process can take quit a while. This tip is only for diehard keyboard cleaners.
If removing each and every key sounds a bit too tedious consider our last cleaning tip, putting the keyboard in the dishwasher.
As strange as this may sound, many TechRepublic writers and members swear by this method of keyboard cleaning.
If you're going to try this method, here are a few recommendations:
First, it is possible that this method will ruin the keyboard. Don't try this on an expensive device that you're not willing to lose.
Second, don't use this method on keyboards with fancy LCD screens. These are definitely not dishwasher safe.
Third, put the keyboard in the dishwasher's top rack and turn off the heated drying cycle.
Fourth, after washing, let the keyboard dry completely before reconnecting it to your computer. You might need to shake it to remove all the water and you can use a hair drier on low. But, you best bet is to place the keyboard upside down on a cloth or paper towel and let it sit for several days -- if not a week.
Lastly, this should go without saying, but you should never, ever use this method to clean a laptop keyboard.
Well, I hope these tips help you keep your keyboards neat and tidy.
For more concise solutions and techniques for making your IT job go more smoothly, check out TechRepublic's Five Tips blog, from which the tips in today episode were taken. I'll link to it from the TR Dojo blog.
And as always, for more teachings on your path to becoming an IT Ninja, visit trdojo.techrepublic.com, or you can follow me on Twitter at twitter.com/billdetwiler.
Thanks for visiting the TR Dojo.