Keyboards in schools get a lot of use – by a lot of different people! On top of this, students, especially young students, aren’t known for their cleanliness!
Coming into a new school term is a perfect time to think about cleaning keyboards for students and staff. Use the guide below for steps and tips for a clean keyboard.
How to Thoroughly Clean a Keyboard
Note: If you’re a student remember to ask for permission from an adult and for help if you need it!
Address any safety concerns
Turn off the computer and where possible, unplug the keyboard.
Remove obvious debris
Carefully turn the keyboard key side down and shake the keyboard gently to loosen any matter caught around the keys. Alternatively – where available a can of compressed air also can be used (particularly between keys)
Kill lingering germs and remove grime
Use cotton and rubbing alcohol (Note: be sure to gauge the strength first as to insure you do not wipe off or damage keyboard characters). For especially discoloured characters a pencil eraser can sometimes create enough gentle friction to remove troublesome spots.
Now focus on those keys!
Use a cloth and the alcohol to wipe over the surfaces of the keyboard. Pay particular attention to commonly used keys such as the Space bar. If your keyboard has removable keys now is the time to remove them and clean underneath them. It can be helpful to take a photo of the keyboard beforehand so you can refer to it later when you need to reassemble. The majority of contemporary detachable keyboards allow keys to be removed. If you are not sure if your keyboard has removable keys or what is the protocol for removing them – please refer to the manufacturer’s manual. Removed individual keys can then be washed with soap. Leave these to dry on a cloth surface.
Now it’s time for attention to turn to the Keyboard trenches
If the keys have been removed the “trenches” will now be more accessible. Use compressed air to again remove loose debris if there are places that are difficult to access. Afterwards wipe this area down with rubbing alcohol. If your keyboard does not have removable keys there are still several methods you can use to clean between them. We at EdAlive use Post It Notes and toothpicks to collect dirt between rows of keys.
Reassemble the Keyboard
After you have checked that the keys have been thoroughly dried, reinstate the keys by applying a little bit of pressure and they should pop into place. Keyboard maps are available online if you need to refer to correct key placement.
Enjoy your newly cleaned keyboard
If you disconnected your keyboard you can now plug it back in. Turn your computer on and check all the keys are responsive and in the correct placement.