View Full Version : What's best to use to clean the keyboard?

16-01-2003, 07:40 PM
What is best to use to clean the keyboard? I did a search but came up with all sorts of results but not what I wanted. I want to do it physically with a cloth & some sort of cleaner but what?

Babe Ruth
16-01-2003, 07:59 PM
Pauline, Personally I use a little Isopropyl alcohol and a lint-free cloth for the surfaces and a can of compressed air for clearing the dust dirt out from within the keys etc... all available from Dick Smiths


16-01-2003, 08:01 PM
A damp soapy cloth, followed by a damp non-sopy cloth works fine for me.

Damp means not enough water to run down between the keys. Don't be paranoid about the moisture, after all they are open to the atmosphere which can have a high humidity. Its just commonsense you need to use when doing it.

You can also do it holding the keyboard turned upside down. That way gravity works for you, keeping water out.

Its best if the computer is turned off, and off at the wall.

As an indication of the beneficial effects of water, I once serviced a colleagues cellphone that fell in a milk vat. The agents wouldn't touch it, so I took it completely apart and washed it in warm soapy water, then clean water, then properly dried it. Its still going a year later.

Jen C
16-01-2003, 08:05 PM
First rule - unplug the keyboard before cleaning :D

You could get all high-tech and use isopropyl alcohol, but ordinary cleaning products such as window cleaner (or product suitable for plastic) will also do the trick. Use a cotton bud and moisten lightly with the cleaner and rub this over the keys - try to avoid rubbing on the printed letters/numbers etc.

For behind the keys fluff/last night's dinner/debri I find using an unfolded paperclip and running this along in between the rows gathers up the rubbish and you can then hook it out at the end of the row. High-tech method involves using pressurised can air - blowing hard over the keyboard area also does the trick.

If you find that you are getting a lot of fluff behind the keys, you might want to invest in a plastic removable keyboard cover.

Billy T
16-01-2003, 08:27 PM
Hi Pauline

Apart from vacuuming the fluff etc, the best cleaner by far for keyboards, monitors and general plastic what-have-you's is Spray N' Wipe on a paper towel, tissue or cotton bud (for tight corners). Follow with a wipe with a damp cloth (plain water) and the transformation is magic. I have never seen any product lift soil like S n' W does. Just letting it dribble down the side of something you think is quite clean will leave even cleaner streaks.

I even gave my new laptop the treatment as soon as I got it home and it looks like new!


Billy 8-{) :)

Thinks, since it works that well on plastic,
I wonder if I could pre-treat No 1 son before
he gets in the shower.
Maybe he might then come out clean.:D

16-01-2003, 08:41 PM
I heard of someone that decided to give the keyboard a REALLY good clean, it would be a marvellous idea to remove all the keys at once to be really thorough ;-)

16-01-2003, 09:16 PM
Mr Muscle Window Cleaner was recommended by the supplier of my laptop and I have found a weekly wipe does the trick. Don't spray directly on keyboard, case or screen - dilute in a little water and dip a lint-free cloth in it. Afterwards wipe dry. Still looks showroom fresh after 18 months.

16-01-2003, 09:41 PM
Thanks everyone,
Spray & Wipe sounds good along with the paperclip for debri.

16-01-2003, 09:48 PM
Donít know if you feel up to it Pauline but I just remove the eight or so little screws underneath, lift the top off, (complete with keys) and chuck that bit into a tub of warm soapy water.

Having got it all spick and span I dry it down with a paper towel, allow to sit in the sun for a while, make sure there is no water in any little crevices and reassemble.

Keyboards are nowhere near as threatening as they appear and if you did somehow come to grief you can buy a new one for not much more than the cost of all the cleaners.

16-01-2003, 09:52 PM
Unplug the KB or switch the computer off. Normally when you hit random key combinations nothing bad will happen. When you do the same cleaning a keyboard chances are you'll shut it down and reboot it into dos and format C:

16-01-2003, 11:17 PM
I got given a can of Foamclean by AF ( from the Wharehouse Stationary) and I would truely recommend it as a good product. Cleaned a keyboard in an engineering workshop office and was most impressed.

16-01-2003, 11:27 PM
Research you keyboard
some key boards are dishwasher friendly (i kid you not) mine is

16-01-2003, 11:47 PM
Spot on scOut,



Susan B
17-01-2003, 09:48 AM
I'm another Spray and Wipe fan - that stuff is magic. Also like the suggestion to take the top off the keyboard to get at the crud. After nearly five years' hard use my keyboard is in pretty good nick really and I attribute that to making users wash their grubby paws before using it and not allowing people (apart from me :D) to bring food or drink near it.

Wish I could enforce the same rules at work - I gave the PC there a thorough external spring clean in November and it's back to its disgusting state already :-(.

If you want to know how to clean your hard drive there are excellent instructions here (http://www.pcnineoneone.com/howto/cleandrive1.html). ;-) :D

Babe Ruth
17-01-2003, 09:55 AM
SusanB, In reference to your last post... Only a woman could ever had the 'nous' to think of doing that to a diskdrive eh? ;-) :^O


Billy T
17-01-2003, 10:59 AM
Just love it Susan :D

Just enough detail and seriousness of tone to maintain the attention of the credulous.

It should really be an FAQ: How do I clean the data of my hard drive before selling my computer?

I've always wanted to get my hands on an old hard drive of reasonable size and weight to use as a door stop. I keep an eye on the surplus stores but most of the drives I see are magnificently engineered aluminium works of art weighing about 20 kilos and are too big and expensive. They must have had monstrous storage capacity in their day, probably as much as 20MB.


Billy 8-{) :D :D

I bet Godfather will know the capacity,
standby for factual response.:)

Miami Steve
17-01-2003, 11:03 AM
You may laugh Baldy, but I find that removing all the keys is the quickest and most thorough method. Fortunately, I have a second keyboard for reference when reassembling. ;)


17-01-2003, 11:29 AM
The IBM System/34 HD were about 16 Mb. Too large for a door stopper, and they had a 220v motor on them, of reasonable size as well.

17-01-2003, 12:36 PM
First try turning it upside down and giving it a darn good spanking. A whole Zoo will emerge including the bread crumbs, dandruff and other bits of your dead skin and the various critters (eg: mites) that feast on same

Then proced to the Spray'n'Wipes etc etc

Billy T
17-01-2003, 01:45 PM
Go God () () () () ()

I knew you'd come through for me.

Sounds like that's the model I was looking at. Surplustronics in Auckland had one but they wanted a couple of hundred for it if I recall. I think they must have set that on historic value to a collector thought there was damned near enough scrap metal in it to justify that price!!

Still in awe :8}

Billy 8-{) :D

Anybody notice that Godfather is about to hit
3KB of posts (3072). And every one a gem.
Congratulations Godfather

17-01-2003, 02:10 PM
Anybody notice that Godfather is about to hit
3KB of posts (3072). And every one a gem.
Congratulations Godfather

Noticed and agree :D

17-01-2003, 03:45 PM
I could not agree more with Miami steve, but even more thorough is to, once a year at least, pull the keyboard right apart. There is usually around 12 small screws on the bottom of the keyboard, ( don't loose any as they are all necessary), and when putting it back together, don't overtighten the screws as they screw into plastic not metal.

You will be amazed at the amount of garbage you will find. We have 20 keyboards and the most common fault is that the spacebar fails, no idea why that particular key, except it is the largest in area.

But care is needed, take it slowly and note what fits where when the two halves separate and of course - you do it at your own risk :-)

Graham L
18-01-2003, 02:20 PM
DF-32s hold 32 k words (that's words -- 12 bits, not bytes). They live in a 19" rack unit 10½" high and about 20" deep. Weight, about 60 or 70 lb.

Perhaps you're thinking of something a bit smaller (and more modern) ... RD 31 were 10 MB in a "full height 5ľ" (think 2 CD drives stacked). RD70 have about 130 MB, I think, in the same size. These were Micropolis MFM drives.

18-01-2003, 05:59 PM
I actually own(ed) an IBM System 34, complete with the HD "extension" on the cabinet.

Scrapped the HD unit, wish I had kept it now.

I do stil have a 2k memory core (ferro memory) from a Burroughs E8000.