With anywhere from 40 keys to over 100 individual keys mounted over multiple recessed sections, it doesn’t take long for PC keyboards to accumulate a disgusting amount of dust, dirt, and tiny debris inside those tight recesses. That’s just an inescapable flaw in how they’re designed. Whether you enjoy it or not (chances are, you won’t), you have to clean your keyboard regularly if you don’t want it to continuously harbor an ungodly amount of filth.
So how the heck do you clean a keyboard? Here are some of our favorite ways.
Compressed air cans have long been a favorite among PC users, as you can use them to blow the dust off any nooks and crannies on your PCs, peripherals, and all sorts of electronic accessories. Of course, it’s not a pretty sight, as that powerful air will scatter all that dust and debris across your immediate vicinity, so you might want to do this outdoors (or anywhere else where you will not have to clean the mess again). It’s not the neatest way to do things (just imagine that cloud of dust), but that powerful gust of air will clear out any and all gunk hiding in tight spaces inside your keyboard.
This tiny brush comes with dual tips on either end that you can use to simply sweep off any dust and dirt you can fit its bristles into. One end has soft bristles that will clean like traditional brushes, while the other has an angled silicone tip for scraping dirt off edges, corners, and grooves, among other tight areas. The silicone wiper has a cover to keep it from getting dirtied up or damaged, while the bristles retract inside the handle to keep everything neat and tidy.
A cleaning gel is, basically, a piece of gelatinous blob that you knead into a ball, then press slowly on top of the keyboard, allowing it to squeeze itself into those small cracks and tight spots. It’s able to suction up any dust, dirt, and debris it touches as it fills the nooks and crannies of your typing peripheral, so they come off along with the gel as soon as you take it off. From there, you simply do the same thing on a different area of the keyboard until you’ve covered the whole thing. It does all that without sticking to your skin, by the way, so you can use without leaving a slimy feel on your hands afterwards.
Do note, the gel is designed to accumulate all the dirt and keep it within its squishy confines, so it will get dirty the more that you use it. There are no exact guidelines as to how many times you can use the gel until its too dirty, but the outfit recommends throwing it away as soon as it turns darker in color. Oh yeah, don’t make the mistake of trying to wash off the dirt on the gel with water – it won’t work.
If you just want to get dust, crumbs, and food particles out of the keyboard, you can do that either using a small vacuum or a small air blower. This combines both in one, packing enough suction to draw out most exposed dirt on the keyboard, while being able to blow strong enough air to take out all those dust and debris hidden deep inside the tiny nooks and crannies. You can also use the blower to push out all dirt inside the recesses, till they’re exposed, then use the vacuum to suck them in. Handy. Do note, neither the suction nor the blower are the most powerful (the blower, for instance, won’t hold up to the pressure of the compressed air above). For the purposes of cleaning a keyboard, though, this will do the trick – just don’t expect it to wow you with its power.
Want to use a strong blower, but don’t want those disposable compressed air cans? Pick up this rechargeable cleaning tool from Nitecore, whose blower produces air that moves at a rate of 43.5 mph. That’s way more powerful than what you’ll normally find in battery-powered air blowers, giving you a rechargeable option that doesn’t compromise in performance. This was originally designed for cleaning expensive camera equipment, by the way, so you should have no trouble using it with your much cheaper typing peripheral. It also comes with a brush that you can put on the nozzle, in case you need to wipe down any of the dust that gets on the surface of the keyboard.