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How to Clean Your Laptop Keyboard (A Step By Step Guide)

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By Matt Smith

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how to deep clean your keyboard
How do you deep clean a laptop keyboard? Our guide reveals all…

Cleaning your laptop keyboard is important for a few reasons.

  1. The first reason is that the dirt and dust buildup just doesn’t look nice at all, which can cause frustration when you are trying to get work done. “A clean and tidy workspace is a happy & productive workspace!”
  2. Another problem with dirty keyboards is that they become magnets for bacteria and germs. Yuk!
  3. A lot of the time, a keyboard gets dirty because you’re eating over it. This will make your laptop sticky and gross!
  4. Finally, we want our laptop keyboards to look as nice as possible.. Just because. And it’s hard to do that if there’s a layer of grime sat there gathering more dust & grime. So let’s take care of this issue once and for all!…

How to clean a laptop keyboard on a macbook pro or any other laptop

1. Unplug and turn off your laptop.

  • We start off by unplugging and turning it completely OFF.
  • You want to make sure that your laptop is completely turned off before you start rolling your sleeves up to transform it into a sparkling clean keyboard!

2. Give it a Wiggle

First, turn your laptop upside down and open it while its closed. Tap or gently shake the keyboard to dislodge debris which may have gotten in between the keys.

This is an important step because we want to make sure that all of the crumbs, and debris are removed from around our keys before attempting anything else.

Get Rid of Crumbs

disgusting latpop keyboard needs a clean
  • This is the time to remove everything from between your keys. You don’t want anything interfering with a deep and thorough clean, so we need it out of there right now – even if you have crumbs on top too (you’ll be able to get those later!)
  • This step should only take seconds but will make a big difference in a short time.
  • It’s important to be thorough when removing crumbs, as they can cake up and create an even bigger problem down the line if we don’t get them all out now .

2. Step by step options you have to clean your keyboard

Compressed air:

  • The first thing you should do is use a can of compressed air to remove any surface debris. This will also help get rid of some dust that has built up within the laptop over time.
  • The goal here isn’t just cleaning your keyboard, but getting it back in good shape so we’re going for maximum effectiveness by using all available cleaning tools.
  • This is where you want your compressed air – Blast the keyboard with compressed air to ease through this step.
  • Hold the nozzle about two inches from the keyboard, and spray until all of the dirt is gone.
  • Turn your laptop on its side and in a left to right and downwards motion spray with the compressed air so all the debris, crumbs (and god knows what) goes in the same direction – out of the keyboard!

Dampen a cotton swab with rubbing alcohol and clean the keyboard:

cotton bud cleaning laptop keys
  • Clean the keyboard with a cotton swab dipped in rubbing alcohol.
  • This will remove any bacteria that may have grown on top of your laptop’s keys and also help to sanitize them, giving you peace of mind knowing how many people eat at their desk, including the mess you find on kids laptops….
  • We suggest using this type for cleaning as it is far easier than trying to clean the keyboard with a rag or paper towel.
  • Wipe down any other surface of your laptop you want to sanitize, and then turn it back on its base.

A Toothpick:

One of the most common ways to clean a laptop keyboard is by using a toothpick. This method involves poking at and dislodging any debris that may be stuck in between keys, or under them – this includes dust bunnies going down into your keyboards! When you poke out whatever is stuck, you can then use a brush to sweep it off the keyboard.

A Dry lint-free cloth:

clean with lint free cloth
  • A dry lint-free cloth is a great way to clean your laptop keyboard.
  • To use a dry lint-free cloth, you can either take it and brush the keys of your keyboard (making sure not to press too hard on them), or wipe down each key individually. You want make these movements back and forth in order for any loose particles that are sitting on the surface area.

How to use a Dry cloth or towelette to remove the last of the dust and clean a laptop keyboard:

cleaning your keyboard

There are many ways to clean your laptop keyboard, but a dry cloth or towelette is a great way of clearing out any debris.

  • You can start by taking a dry cloth and wiping down your keyboard.
  • This will remove any dust or crumbs that have fallen onto the surface of it, as well some other residue like fingerprints from being used so often over time.
  • You should then go back with either another clean section on same towelette to get a deeper clean.
  • The next step is rubbing the surface of your keyboard in circular motions as you press down on it (gently).
  • This will help lift any stubborn dirt particles that might be stuck onto each key and remove them from their position before they leave marks over time like if sat there untouched.

3. How to use a a Dust Vac to Clean Your Keyboard:

  • A USB dust vacuum cleaner is one of the easiest ways to clean your laptop keyboard.
  • A USB keyboard cleaner has the ability to suck up any crumbs that have fallen onto your keyboard, as well some other residue like dirt from fingers and dead skin cells, from being used so often over time.
  • This vacuum cleaner is relatively easy to use because it plugs into any USB port, so you don’t need an outlet or a long cord plugged in.
  • It’s also great for cleaning up spills that have happened on your keyboard without leaving those pesky stains behind! This method of deep cleaning the dirty keys of a keyboard is conveniently fast!

Dusters: Dusters can be used to suck up all that dust and dirt from your laptop so this is a good option as well!

3. Use a soft-bristled brush to wipe and clean loose debris from between the keys of your laptop.

soft brush for cleaning

The keyboard is so close to your fingers that the gunk and dust can really get caught up in there!

Non-abrasive sponges, specialist vacuum cleaners with microfiber cloth attachments or compressed air are all great ways of removing a lot more dirt than just using water.

4. Wipe across the keys with a lightly-damp microfiber cloth.

microfiber cloth to clean keyboard

This will get off any remaining dust or dirt that is clinging to the keys, and it’ll also leave them a little bit cleaner than they were before.

5. If smudged grime remains on your laptop keyboard, use a cotton swab dipped in isopropyl alcohol.

This should clean up the leftover dirt and grime that is resisting water, without any of those pesky chemicals! You can also use a small amount on your fingertip to do it by hand. The alcohol will evaporate quickly so you don’t have worry about doing damage or leaving marks behind after using this technique for cleaning.

The above options are fantastic if you have:

  • Keyboard Keys That Are Sticky
  • For long-term dust
  • For grime that won’t go away

How to Remove Keyboard Keys:

taking keys off a laptop keyboard
Now that is one disgustingly dirty keyboard!

If your keyboard keys are sticking and proving tricky to remove, read on for a guide on how to remove them.

The many types of keyboard keys:

1. Ribbon and T-bar Keyboard

  • Where keys are connected to a small metal rod via a rubber ribbon that helps keep them firmly in place.
  • These are the type of keyboard you find on most laptops. The keys can be removed by lifting up from their base until they pop out – sometimes this may require some force to do so but once off it’s easy enough for people without much experience working around computers.
  • To do this: Pop off the key caps by gently prying up on one corner of it with something thin and non-metallic (I like using my credit card). Once they pop out from under their clips at all four corners make sure to keep them in order and set aside.
  • For the T-bar, if you look on top of its base (the part that is still attached to keyboard) there might be a small notch or lever which will need pressing with something thin like your credit card’s corner until it lifts up – voila! The ribbon should now slide out easily from the keyboard’s back.
  • Once the ribbon is out, all that you need to do now for these two parts are remove any visible dirt and then re-attach them in reverse order with their clips: first place ‘T’-bar on top of base so it snaps into its designated groove at one end (don’t forget tucking up under the keyboard’s lip if needed) and then the ribbon at its other end.
  • Power up your laptop to test everything is back in working order – that you can hit all keys again, they show on screen as normal (or whatever action/effect it was programmed for), and that there are no more sounds or clicks coming from under-keyboard area.

2. Scissor switch Keyboard

  • These designs come with individual keycaps which snap on to the top plate , with a metal stabiliser piece and sleeve, which hold them in place.
  • Beware that some keyboards use scissor-switch keys with a rubber or silicon sleeve instead of the metal stabiliser, these are usually on lower cost models and may not be durable enough to withstand heavy cleaning solutions – we suggest removing keycaps from this type before attempting any sort cleanup.
  • This type of key is common on Apple Macbook Pro Keyboards and probably shouldn’t be removed because they can break easily.

How to Disinfect a Laptop Keyboard for germs and bacteria:

Dirty keyboards are a breeding ground for germs and bacteria. The laptop keyboard is one of the dirtiest parts of your computer because it’s constantly touched by fingers that have been on everything else in your home or office.

This part will teach you how to disinfect a laptop keyboard for germs and bacteria, so you can be sure that your typing isn’t spreading any nasty germs around the house!

  • You can’t just wipe it down with a wet cloth. That’s not going to kill all the germs and bacteria that are living on your keyboard!
  • Take out your disinfectant wipes and start cleaning away from under keyboard area where dirt can gather underneath keyboards that are on desks or tables, as well as killing off any bacteria/microbes you may come in contact with during the process of wiping down all surfaces.
  • It’s important to clean the entire keyboard and all of its surfaces.

    This includes:
  • The outside edges, which are often used for holding when transporting your laptop or using it on a desk surface
  • As well as inside each key where dirt can accumulate due to the lack of airflow that usually removes dust from other areas within keyboards
  • Lastly, the space between keys, which are also known to accumulate dirt and dust (especially from your fingers) over time
  • It’s important that you use a disinfectant wipe or spray for cleaning as this will kill any nasty bacteria causing smells in keyboard areas!

The Best Keyboard Cleaners You Can Buy Today

Here are our 10 best keyboard cleaning solution products, tools you can buy online today if you’re a clean freak or you have an outrageously dirty keyboard this list will be perfect for you!

The first thing to do is take a look at our list below and buy one or two products of your choice. Once you have these in hand, it’s time to get to work killing off the dirt, grime, germs, etc.

1. Cyber Clean – Disinfects With Ethanol and Picks up Dust and Loose Crumbs

Here’s a great product that will clean even the dirtiest of keyboards. The Cyber Clean Keyboard Wipes are made with alcohol which is perfect for giving you peace-of-mind knowing your keyboard has been disinfected and dirt picked up like it was nothing! With this, it also picks up dust particles as well so all in one go its got everything covered to make your keyboard squeaky clean!

Check Price on Amazon

2. DataVac Electric Duster – Extremely Powerful Gusts of Air + Multiple Nozzles to Choose From

Here is a product that will not only clean your keyboard, but also every device (think the inside of phone cases) as well as every nook and cranny in the room.

The DataVac Electric Duster comes with an assortment of attachments to go along side it so you can get into all those hard-to reach areas as well! It even has different nozzles for different uses, such as a LED light to see in darker areas!

The DataVac Electric Duster is perfect for those who are looking at ways of deep cleaning their desk space and keeping it that way. Plus you never have anything dirty around the keyboard again with this nifty device doing its job effectively every time !!! The best part about all these features is that it’s electric, so there is no need to worry about it running out of gas…literally!

The DataVac Electric Duster will clean your desk space and keep things sanitary without you ever having a dirty keyboard again. It also has different attachments for more specific needs in cleaning all around an area or device.

Check Price on Amazon

3. Good Grips Electronic Cleaning Brush

The Good Grips Electronics Cleaning Brush is another great way to clean keyboards. It has a soft brush for those hard-to reach places and it gets in between the keys easily with its thin design!

It also has a brush attachment for more specific needs in cleaning all around an area or device. The only downside with this cleaner is whether your keyboard is flat or raised.

This will depend on whether you can reach in between the keys to clean them. The brush attachment makes this product especially great for those hard-surface keyboards that have letters and numbers worn off of their surface.

Check Price on Amazon

4. Compucleaner 2.0 – Keyboard Cleaning Kit

If you have a flat keyboard, this is a great option for cleaning the keyboard on your laptop.. It works just like the Good Grips Electronics Brush in that it has a brush attachment for cleaning hard-to reach areas.

The only difference between the two is that this product also includes and alcohol pad to help sanitize your keyboard as well! Compucleaner’s website states, “not just any old QWERTY or AZERIO cover can protect you from dust, dirty and germs, but a clean one can.”

The alcohol-soaked pad is great for wiping down the surface of your keyboard, and it also serves as an added barrier against bacteria that might otherwise cling to key surfaces when you are finished cleaning them up! The brush attachment makes this product especially neat if there isn’t enough room between keys on your keyboard to properly clean.

The best part about this product is that it’s lightweight and easy to carry around in your laptop bag! It also looks sleek on your desk, so you won’t have dust/dirt or crumbs show up in between the keys every time someone walks by or touches them accidentally.

Check Price on Amazon

5. Good Grips Keyboard & Screen Deep Cleaning Set

This handheld set is capable of doing deep-cleaning tasks on your laptop keyboard and several other electrical appliances on the go.

The Good Grips Keyboard and Screen Cleaning Set includes an alcohol-soaked pad, a brush attachment for the keyboard or laptop screen to get in between keys (where dust/dirt can accumulate), as well as cleaning cloths. This is perfect if you want something that will keep your device clean on all surfaces!

The Bad: The microfiber cloth can get in the way when using brush attachment, and some reviewers say they weren’t impressed with it’s ability to clean.

Check Price on Amazon

6. MECO Keyboard Cleaner with Cleaning Gel

This is a great option if you’re looking for something that will put less pressure on your fingers. It comes with an ergonomic design and water-resistant gel to keep the keyboard clean without damaging it or leaving residue behind! It also has its own cleaning cloth, which can help make sure everything’s nice ‘n’ tidy before use.

The Good: This was one of the few models that came with a cleaning cloth, and it’s designed to be easy on your fingers while giving you an ergonomic design for comfort! It also includes water-resistant gel which won’t damage or leave residue behind.

Check Price on Amazon

7. Metro Vacuum MDV DataVac Pro 4.5 Computer Vac/Blower

This is one of the more expensive options, but it’s very high quality. It’ll get all sorts gunk out from under your keys and in tiny nooks that you didn’t even know existed! Plus – this model comes with a lifetime warranty which includes free shipping on repairs for any issue outside wear-and light breakage.

There are some other options, like the Belkin Mini Vacuum Cleaner – but this option has a lifetime warranty and can be switched to handheld mode for getting into those hard-to reach areas. It’s also lightweight enough that you could take it with on your travels without adding unnecessary weight or bulk!

Check Price on Amazon

8. Universal Dust Cleaner – ColorCoral

This is one of the more inexpensive options, but you won’t be able to clean as well. It’s pretty easy to use these packs of gel to keep your keyboard free of dirt or dust bunnies without adding hardly any weight!

Additionally, it’s a good idea to get some sort of protection for your laptop so you can keep the dirt and dust off. The HEX Keyboard Protector is great because they’re thin enough that typing isn’t hindered at all! They also come in different colors – just be careful not too pick one with any bright or neon shades.

Check Price on Amazon

9. Zonon 202 Pieces Keyboard Cleaner Cleaning Tools Set (Brush & Key Puller)

This is one of the more expensive options, but you’ll be able to clean your entire keyboard with this. If there’s dirt or dust that has accumulated on it then these will work very well – and they do get in between keys with ease. The key puller tool enables you to lift keys off safely for quick cleaning. It also includes dampeners to soften the noise of loud clacking keys.

So, if you don’t want to spend a lot of money but are looking for something more gentle and lightweight than the gel solution then this is probably your best option. It also includes alcohol pads which will remove any stubborn stains from it too!

Check Price on Amazon

10. Plastic Portable Brushes Anti-Static Cleaning Keyboard Brush Kit

This comprises 5 anti-static brush tools.

Stiff Bristles – meaning removing tough to move dirt, grime & dust is a breeze with these brushes.

This is similar to the gel solution but a lot more affordable. It’s got five brushes which will help with getting between keys and cleaning them, as well they also are anti-static for removing dust from your keyboard so it doesn’t get into other parts of you laptop or pc where static electricity might cause damage!

Check Price on Amazon

What not to do when deep cleaning your keyboard

  • Never spray liquid cleaners on your keyboard.
  • Never use a liquid cleaner that’s not specifically made for keyboards, this can damage the components in it and you will need to get an expensive replacement which is then only going end up being covered by warranty if done within 12 months of purchase!
  • This also includes water or any other liquids as they might seep into the internal components and damage them.
  • Don’t yank the keys off the keyboard!! This is a really bad idea as you can break the delicate plastic bit which connects your keys to their circuit board and this will also require an expensive replacement.
  • The best way of removing dirt from under those key caps without damaging them, use compressed air or one side with some canned aerosol cleaner spray onto it for more cleaning power! Or getting the proper key removal tool listed above.
  • Don’t use products containing bleach or ammonia as these can corrode the plastics on your keyboard.

Laptop Keyboard Cleaning FAQ

What can I use to clean my laptop keyboard?

Laptops keyboards should be blasted with compressed air and then wiped down with a disinfectant wipe or spray.

Should I use alcohol wipes or something else to clean my laptop?

Alcohol wipes are one of the best ways to clean a keyboard.

Wiping your keyboard with alcohol wipes, q-tips, toothpicks and compressed air will help dislodge any dirt or dust that may be in between keys on keyboards.

How to clean under laptop keyboard?

To clean under the keyboard, you will need to take a q-tip and dip it in rubbing alcohol. Using your finger or an object with some sort of taper (a toothpick for example) use this tool while gently pushing on keys that are still working so they go down as much possible until all dirt is released from its hiding place.

If the keyboard is fully non-functional, you will need to use a flathead screwdriver (proceed with caution – if in doubt, don’t do it) and pop off some of these keys in order for them be cleaned with qtips or swabs.

How to clean my laptop if I’ve spilled water on it?

If your laptop has been submerged in water, chances are it is too late to save the device.

Can you clean a laptop keyboard with Clorox wipes?

Using Clorox wipes to clean your laptop keyboard is ok as long as it’s 70% isopropyl alcohol or Clorox wipes and safe to use. The problem with these types of products is that they contain bleach or ammonia which can corrode the plastics on laptops and keyboards. So your best best is trying it on a very small area first and proceeding with caution.

Can I use wet wipes/baby wipes to clean my laptop?

Yes, wet wipes/baby wipes can be used to clean your laptop. If you’re looking for an easy shortcut we recommend using compressed air or one side with some canned aerosol cleaner spray onto it (apply sparingly!).

What is the best keyboard cleaner?

We believe the Compucleaner 2.0 – Keyboard Cleaning Kit is the best keyboard cleaner alongside good old fashioned elbow grease! The Compucleaner has a variety of tools in the kit, including microfiber cloths and cleansing kits to help you get your keyboard nice and clean. It is easy enough for anyone with little or no experience.

How do you clean under the keys of a laptop?

The best way to clean under the keys on a laptop is by using compressed air, because it allows you get in between spaces and remove any dust or debris. You can also try wiping with your hand if desired but be very careful not scratch anything! If there are certain areas where dirt has accumulated more than others then use a specialist keyboard cleaning brush.

Can I vacuum my laptop keyboard?

Vacuuming with a standard sized vacuum could be a bad idea in case you hoover up the keys by mistake. If you have a smaller attachment and take care in doing so, you’ll probably be ok. If you are interested take a look at our keyboard vacuum review.

What are good alternatives to compressed air to clean my keyboard?

If compressed air is not available, there’s also the option of using a keyboard cleaning kit or a USB powered mini vacuum as explained above. There’s also the option of using an electrical cleaner or cotton buds dipped into rubbing alcohol.

How do you clean your laptop keyboard after spilling Coke?

If you spill a drink on your laptop keyboard and it starts to react, unplug the power cord immediately. The liquid will cause corrosion which can lead problems in future – so remove any excess liquids as soon after spilling them that possible with paper towels or tissues (or something similarly absorbant). Clean off all of it between the keys then get a specialist to take a look.


The keys on a laptop keyboard are more likely to get dirty than those of an ordinary desktop since they are used for everything from fast food crumbs to spilled coffee. The good news is that you really can clean your laptop keyboard with just a few household items and a bit of elbow grease!

This blog post is the conclusion of our article on how to clean a laptop keyboard. We’ve discussed easy ways to clean your keyboard that are also low-cost. We’ve made an easy step by step guide on how to get the most out of cleaning your laptop keyboard. We’ve also gone over some good products you can use for keeping those keys looking sharp, which will no doubt make you never want a dirty laptop ever again!