We all know by now the potential our keyboards have to become cesspools, so we'll skip the gross-out statistics and just say you should be cleaning your keyboard often. Once each month is a good solid goal to start with, increasing the number of cleanings during cold and flu season or if you work in an office/share keys with other members of your household.
It's good hygiene to practice keyboard cleanliness, but make sure you're doing so properly- we don't want you frying the keyboard! It's simple, really: just pick up some disinfecting wipes that do not contain bleach and a box of cotton swabs for cleaning between the keys. Take a solid 15 minutes and concentrate on removing all that gunk, and you'll be good to go! And keep in mind that the more often you do this, the quicker the process becomes.
1. Before you start, be sure your keyboard is unplugged and powered down.
2. If you've got one, blow any excess debris off the keyboard with a can of compressed air. If you're fresh out, just use a dry cloth to knock any dust/debris off the board.
3. Grab a wipe and wring it out really well. You'll want to wring it until you're unable to draw any excess liquid out of the wipe. Then wrap the wipe around your finger and start to scrape the dirtiest keys, pressing hard with your nail. If you see moisture coming out of the wipe, pick it up with a dry cloth and wring the wipe again to prevent moisture from seeping under the keys and damaging the keyboard.
4. All that scraping will work up gunk that will likely fall into the space between the keys. Ever so slightly, dampen a cotton swab and run it along the space to pick up the debris.
5. After you've tackled the problem areas, go back over each individual key and give it a scrub. If it's been a while since you've cleaned the keys this process might take a while, but be patient because the results are not only worth it but necessary! Don't forget to follow up with a cotton swab in between the keys to pick up any remaining dirt or debris.
6. Wipe down the keyboard with a clean, dry cloth before turning the power back on.
Edited from a post by Sonia Zjawinski originally published on May 5th, 2008
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(Image credits: Ashley Poskin)