How To Clean Your Laptop Keyboard

Laptop sitting on top of desk with mess on top of keyboard

After any long-term use, your laptop’s keyboard is bound to pick up dust, dirt, and hard to get grime. This is nothing to worry about and will happen regardless of who you are. We are going to layout the safest ways to not only clean your laptop keyboard but maintain it as well.

We have scoured the internet and combined a tutorial on how to properly and safely clean your laptop keyboard. Whether you are just looking to remove dust or completely sanitize it from bacteria, we will show you how!

Prep work required to clean your laptop keyboard

Before you begin cleaning your keyboard there is a little required prep work. This will only take a couple of minutes. It is very important to make sure your device is ready to be cleaned. This will avoid any potential damage to your device.

  • If your laptop is still turned on be sure to turn it off as it will make this process easier and of a hassle.
  • Make sure that your laptop’s charger and any other accessories are unplugged.
  • Find an area that provides you with ample space for cleaning supplies and the ability to move your laptop around.

How to clean your Laptop keyboard

General Dust

Firstly, removing general dust from day to day activities should be your first step. This will allow you to easily identify and stuck on grime. For this, we recommend using a basic air duster that you can purchase from any local electronic store. Most general department stores often carry air dusters that will be safe for your keyboard as well.

For a more cost-effective strategy, we recommend using a vacuum cleaner with a smaller nozzle attachment. If you decide to use a vacuum cleaner be sure not to bring it too close to the keys. Getting too close to the keys may scratch, damage, or knock them off. This solution is just as effective as an air duster but requires a little bit more effort.

Hard to Get Dirt and Grime

Once you have removed any light surface dust from the keyboard, you should be able to easily identify and hard to get dirt and grime from your laptop. This kind of mess can be caused by a variety of sources. This can oil from your hands, food crumbs, coffee drips, and splashes. Whatever it may be it is important to remove it. 

To tackle this we recommend grabbing and a standard tea towel or washcloth and a small glass or bowl of water. Take the towel or washcloth and fold it in such a way that you are left with a fine point. This will ensure precision while cleaning the keyboard. Take the cloth and ever so slightly dip it into the water. Be sure not to overdo it as we do not want to damage the device. When you wipe the cloth across a surface there should be very little to no streaking left behind from water. 

Disinfecting Your Laptop Keyboard

Silver laptop sitting on top of desk

After you have cleaned your laptop from any visible dirt and grime it is time to think about the invisible dirt and grime, bacteria. Throughout our day to day lives our hands pick up germs and bacteria. These germs can be easily transferred over to your keyboard. We highly recommend that you sanitize the keyboard of your laptop regularly. This will prevent your device from becoming a breeding ground for germs. Believe it or not, your keyboard has a lot more bacteria than you think if you take a look.

Of course, you can grab any disinfectant wipe to tackle the job. But we advise against this as they can oftentimes be far too moist and have the potential to damage the keyboard. Our recommendation is to pick up some isopropyl alcohol and some cotton balls or swabs from your local pharmacy, grocery store, or department store. 

Take the cotton ball or swab and lightly dip it into the isopropyl alcohol. It should not be soaked nor saturated, just moist. Rub this over your keys, trackpad, any surface that you believe may have picked up any germs. While doing this you should not be exceeding a significant amount of pressure, this should just be a light application. We do not want this to seep deep into your device as it may have the potential to harm it.  

Underneath The Keys

We as human beings often like to eat food while we may be catching up on some work or watching our favorite show, but with food comes crumbs. It is not uncommon for crumbs or debris to find its way and lodge underneath your keyboard keys. This can cause great distress as it can make the key difficult to press or unable to press at all.

Depending on the make and model of your laptop, the keys may be removed differently. We recommend researching how your make and models keys are to be safely removed from the manual or the internet. Once you can remove the key we again recommend the use of an air duster or a vacuum cleaner with a fine nozzle attachment. If need be grab a cotton swab or a pair of tweezers to get the hard to reach fine areas.  

Why is it important to clean your laptop Keyboard?

Cleaning your laptop is one of those tasks that many computer owners often over-look and disregard but it is a very important aspect of being a laptop owner. Allowing grime to build up will detract from the user experience of the device, also potentially causing the device to work incorrectly. Not to mention laptops are built to be portable, there is a high probability that you will bring your device with you to various locations. In doing so your laptop will likely pick up a significant amount of unwanted germs and bacteria.  

How to Maintain Your Laptops Keyboards Lifespan 

Taking care of your laptop’s keyboard will not only increase its lifespan but the physical device’s lifespan as well. We recommend that you conduct a general basic cleaning of the keyboard every week. This kind of cleaning can be as simple as using a duster, an air duster, or giving it a simple wipe. It will prevent any grime build-up and prevent the need for deeper cleans. 

With that being said we advise that you give your device a more thorough cleaning once every month or as you see fit. If you notice that its cleanliness is staring to lack, give it a nice thorough cleaning. As mentioned above if you are maintaining regular basic clean-ups, your laptop should only need a thorough cleaning once per month. 


Laptop keyboard being typed on while sitting

Overall cleaning your laptop is a quick and simple task that will significantly improve the lifespan of not only your keyboard but your device. It can be as easy as giving it a simple wipe with a cloth or a little more thorough with air dusters and isopropyl alcohol. Regardless of how you clean your device, it is important to stay on top of it to improve your overall user experience.  If you are cleaning your keyboard it might be worth cleaning your monitor at the same time.

If you are looking to clean your mouse be sure to check out our guide on How to Clean Your Computer Mouse Properly.