Laptop keyboards are known to have some of the highest failure rates among all laptop parts. This is usually because keyboards are a very easy place for dirt and grime to get stuck in, eventually rendering them useless. So here is our guide on how to clean your laptop keyboard of all unsightly debris!
Laptops are the most convenient computer choice for most people, and it’s not hard to see why. Over the years they’ve only become thinner, lighter, and yet more powerful. While laptops are easy to own and carry, you need to be very careful about making sure it stays clean, especially when it comes to the keyboard.
Before you begin with any cleaning, it’s best to ensure that your laptop is safe to be messed around with.
- First up, turn your laptop off.
- Remove all plugs and devices connected, and if possible, unplug your battery.
- Once that is done, press and hold the power button for about 20 seconds, and then release it.
- This will get rid of any static energy present in the circuitry of your laptop.
- If you’re having trouble waiting for your laptop to cool down, we have a guide on how to cool it down!
Once you’re done, before we get to the actual cleaning, make sure that you determine how dirty the keyboard is, and choose the appropriate method.
For Cleaning Dust
When it comes to dust, it’s ideal to remove all loose dust first
- Flip the laptop upside down, and tap lightly on the back to shake off the loose debris on the keyboard.
- Once you’re done, you can use a microfiber cloth to clean out the keyboard.
If the dust is a bit more stubborn, you can use a can of compressed air. You’ll usually find these easily at office supply or hardware stores.
Spray between the keys, ideally with the laptop in a position where the dust can fly away from the keyboard, and not just into a different part of it.
For Cleaning Dirt
Even when trying to clean dirt off of a laptop, it’s ideal to get rid of the dust first using the methods I’ve discussed above.
- Once you’re done, grab a microfiber cloth, or sponge, and dampen with some water or cleaning solution. Make sure that the cloth or sponge is damp, and not wet, so that the liquid doesn’t flow into the keyboard when cleaning.
- A safer alternative is to use isopropyl alcohol solution, ideally 90%. You can find it in most hardware stores, and even supermarkets. Use the solution with a ball of cotton, and gently swipe it along the edges of the keys.
If the dirt won’t budge with any of these methods, you might want to try a few steps from the next section.
For Cleaning Liquid Spills
If you’ve had a liquid spilled on your keyboard, immediately follow our safety instructions mentioned in the first section.
- Once you’ve done that, it’s best to let the laptop dry, at least for a couple of days.
- Then, determine the type of laptop keyboard you have. If your keyboard is a one-piece, there’s a chance you can pry it out of your laptop for further cleaning.
- However, if it’s an island-style chiclet keyboard, where the laptop’s frame separates every key from each other, then you’ll have to pry open every keycap one by one.
Note that you should do this only if you’re comfortable with it, and sure of not damaging the laptop, as laptop keyboards generally tend to be fragile. In order to remove the keyboard or the keycaps, make sure you refer to the service manual or repair guide for your laptop model. Never use too much force.
Once you have the keyboard/ keycaps removed, clean them with either a damp microfiber cloth, or a cotton ball dipped in isopropyl alcohol solution.
Make sure you know the right way to put the keyboard/keycaps back into place – it’s best to take a photo of your keyboard. That way, you also have a before and after to see how good a job you’ve done!
Don’t Forget the Pros!
In case you’re not sure of cleaning up a liquid spill yourself, it’s best to give the laptop for a professional cleaning and repair. In most other cases, you should be able to clean up the dirt yourself.
If you’re looking for more laptop cleaning guides, be sure to check out our guide on how to clean your laptop screen for good.
Palash is a technology and entertainment journalist who loves to geek out over the latest gadgets, TV shows, and movies.