That ball of neon yellow goop, otherwise known as Cyber Clean, is probably the best keyboard cleaning tool out there. It not only gets rid of dust and crumbs, but germs too. But if you're trying to tighten your bootstraps and stick to a budget, there are plenty of cheap alternatives. How cheap? Well, if you can find one of these 5 common things in your apartment, it's free.
Cleaning between your keys doesn't have to cost a cent. Each of these common household things can do double-duty to clear crumbs and spills from your keyboard.
Heck, they can even pull triple-duty to clean through the tight spaces of any of your electronics gear. Check out how to get started with...
A Paintbrush or Makeup Brush
You don't need to buy a "keyboard brush" to dust sandwich crumbs from your keyboard. Just grab a paintbrush or a makeup brush. You'll want to be sure it's really clean, so shampoo makeup brushes well under warm water and clean paintbrushes with a mild soap. Make sure it's completely dry before letting it anywhere near your keyboard—try hanging it upside down to dry for at least 24 hours.
Have you seen those high-end fancy pants plastic and rubber toothpicks? The ones that have grippy teeth and bend like dentist tools? They're perfect for getting gunk out from in between your keys, as one Lifehacker commenter showed. Although classic straight toothpicks would do in a pinch.
A Cotton Swab
If it can clean your ears, it can clean your keys. Use this to "mop" up any minor spills that may have gotten on your keyboard. But be gentle—you don't want to force any cotton fibers to come off and hang out under your keys.
A Mascara Brush
That fluffy brush at the end of your mascara wand is attached to a really thin wire, making it the perfect tool to get between and under keyboard keys. But just like the makeup brush from above, make sure it's completely clean and dry before going anywhere near your electronics.
Tape or a Sticky Note
If your keyboard is just a little dusty, try getting between the keys with the adhesive side of a strip of tape or a sticky note. Getting every nook and cranny is a little time consuming with this method, but it will be well worth it once you realize you just cleaned your keyboard without getting up from your desk.
(Images: Flickr member iklash licensed for use under Creative Commons, Lifehacker.com, JustAnAsterisk.com, kegogo.com, Real Simple)