5 Ways To Clean A Sticky Keyboard

We all can agree that working with a sticky keyboard can be frustrating. Aside from the typos it causes, it is also not hygienic. While the screen on a computer is often well taken care of, the same cannot be said about the keyboard.

Over time, the keyboard accumulates crumbs and grimes from when we eat/drink and work. Unfortunately, we ignore it until the keyboard keys are sticky.

Not much can be done when a considerable amount of liquid spills on a keyboard, but there are other ways to clean a sticky keyboard safely. We will be recommending five ways to clean a sticky keyboard.

Cleaning a Sticky Keyboard

When it comes to cleaning electrical devices, it is pretty tricky. Most devices require precision and utmost care so as not to get them damaged.

Typing on a sticky keyboard makes typing less fun; you won’t be able to type in passwords, some keys become so stuck you won’t be able to press them, while other times, you end up having a lot of typos.

As part of general maintenance for your computer, you should clean your keyboard regularly. While some cleaning methods include removing the keyboard keys, others do not. Today, there are tons of ways you can use to clean your keyboard without messing with the key.

As mentioned above, when it comes to cleaning electrical devices, you have to be careful not to mess with any wiring or leave the device plugged in while cleaning. So, most importantly, it is always advisable to shut down the computer whenever you clean the keyboard to avoid electrical shock.

How to Clean a Sticky Keyboard

As tempting as removing the keys on your keyboard might be, do not attempt it. Not all keys on a computer are removable, and while others are, they require special tools.

Attempting to remove the keys on your keyboard to clean them might lead to you breaking the keyboard. Instead, you can follow the steps below on how to clean a sticky keyboard.

Things Needed to Clean a Sticky Keyboard

  • Cotton swabs
  • Wet wipes
  • Rubbing alcohol
  • A lint-free cloth
  • Toothpick
  • A can of compressed air

Cleaning a Sticky Keyboard with Compressed Air and Cotton Swab

Below is a step on how to clean a sticky keyboard using the materials above:

  • Unplug the Keyboard
  • Turn the keyboard upside down to get rid of any loose debris
  • Use a can of compressed air to blow loose any additional debris
  • Take a cotton swab and dab a small amount of isopropyl alcohol on it
  • Use it to clean around the keys
  • Discard the cotton swab once it has picked up enough dirt
  • Repeat the cotton swab and alcohol step till you are sure you can get out any dirt with the swab
  • Then use a toothpick to remove any debris carefully
  • Take a wet wipe, use it to clean the tops of the keyboard keys and the surrounding areas
  • Finally, use a lint-free cloth to remove any residual dust and polish the keyboard

When using compressed air, it is advisable to tilt the can at an angle a few inches from the keyboard instead of holding it upside down then directing the air on the keys.

Cleaning a Sticky Keyboard with Water

Alternatively, you can use this simple method of soap and water

  • Power off the computer
  • Put a small drop of liquid soap in a small bowl of water
  • Take a clean cloth and dip it into the soap solution
  • Wring it, then wipe it gently on the keyboard
  • Repeat the process until you are sure the keyboard is clean
  • Then wipe the keyboard with a dry cloth

Cleaning a Sticky Keyboard from the Inside

Sometimes, the methods described above might not work if a considerable amount of liquid seeped under the keys of the keyboard. If this is the case, it can be pretty challenging to get rid of the sticky substance. Cleaning the keyboard in this instance can be labour intensive as you may have t remove all the keys.

Fortunately, you can clean the keyboard from the inside without glitches, especially if it is a mechanical keyboard. To do this:

  • Unplug the keyboard
  • Using a screwdriver, remove the back part of the keyboard
  • Remove the key and place them in a strainer
  • Rince the keys with water
  • Then dry the keys individually
  • Clean the blank faceplate of the keyboard lightly with a small amount of alcohol and water
  • Place back the dry keys
  • Then close the keyboard and screw it in place

This process requires precision. Ensure to keep all loose screws safely to avoid losing them. Also, make sure you dry the keys well enough before replacing them.

Cleaning a Sticky Keyboard with a Microfiber Cloth

A microfiber cloth can clean dirt better than regular clothes. When used alongside a washer and disinfectants, it will keep your keyboard clean. Generally, a microfiber attracts and removes oil, dust, etc., from any surface.

Below is how to use a microfiber cloth to clean your keyboard:

  • Fold the cloth into four sides
  • Dip a side of the cloth lightly into a bowl of liquid solution
  • Use the cloth to clean the keyboard gently
  • Then use the dry side of the cloth to clean the surface of the keyboard

Cleaning a Sticky Keyboard with a Mini Vacuum

Although vacuum cleaners were initially created to clean floors, they’re starting to come in handy for keyboards. Sometimes you need a little extra force to remove the dirt on your keyboard. But don’t use a regular vacuum!

Fortunately, there are USB vacuum cleaners that can help you clean your keyboard. Cleaning with a mini vacuum is pretty straightforward:

  • Take the mini vacuum cleaner
  • Run it all over the keys to lift away debris
  • Then use a small brush to remove dirt residual

Never use a house vacuum to clean your keyboard.


With our recommendations above on cleaning a sticky keyboard, cleaning your keyboard will be hassle-free.

Remember to always unplug your computer from its power source before cleaning. Use only isopropyl alcohol, do not leave in water and ensure the keys are dry before plugging in and powering your computer.

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