how to clean a laptop keyboard

The perfect guide on how to clean a laptop keyboard safely

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The perfect guide on how to clean your laptop keyboard safely is here; learn recommended products to use, best practices and more.

Cleaning your laptop frequently is essential. We all know this, but not knowing how to clean laptop keyboard the right way will have you paying dearly for your ignorance. Here’s how to avoid that cost.

Laptops are almost as ubiquitous as phones now. We take them with us wherever we go, whether to school or the airport, so it’s no wonder they can get quite grimy. Your laptops are magnets to them, from food debris to spilled drinks to dust oil and everything else.

Not cleaning your laptop frequently can lead to a build-up of dirt and grime, which can lead to sticky or stiff keys, your system not working well, and other things.

On the flip side, cleaning your laptop the wrong way can cause irrevocable damage to it. But don’t fret. This guide covers how to clean laptop keyboard, why you should clean it, and what not to do so you don’t end up damaging your laptop forever.

First, we’ll cover the why.

5 Reasons to clean your laptop now and as frequently as possible

Your laptop is a colossal dirt trap. Think about it. You touch it a lot—most times without cleaning your hands first. Oil from snacks, food crumbs, dust get wedged into the crevices of the keys. Dust readily clings to the screen and outlets. It’s no wonder the research lists keyboards as one of the top five germ-filled spots in an office, even germier than the office toilet seat.

Still don’t see why you should clean your laptop? Well, here are 5 reasons we say you should.

1. Your laptop will look gross and unloved

Imagine taking out your laptop in public, and there’s a layer of filth on it—embarrassing. If your computer looks gross and unloved, you’re immediately viewed in that image, too, as someone awful and incapable of taking a shower to save their life.

Related article: 14 best computer and laptop stands to buy in 2022.

2. Cleaning your laptop becomes a monumental and profoundly gross task

Have you ever procrastinated cleaning your bathroom or doing the dishes? The task got harder and grosser as the dirt or dishes piled up. Well, same with your laptop. If you don’t clean it regularly, it becomes a giant warehouse for filth and grime, taking longer (and more motivation) to clean.

3. Your laptop won’t run well

Over time, dust and lint can build up inside your laptop and clog up the fan that keeps your laptop from overheating. When this happens, your laptop components overheat, which causes a decrease in processing power in response to the increase in temperature. This leads to your system running slower and a reduction in productivity.

4. It can shorten the lifespan of your laptop

Dust and dirt build-up around the keys and other moving components can cause them to malfunction. This can result in you having to spend money on repairs or replacements.

5. You might get sick

Now, we’ll cover what not to do when cleaning a laptop keyboard.

5 things to not do when you’re cleaning a laptop

– Ensure not to use any product that contains bleach, as it can ruin the professional coating on the laptop.

– Do not clean a laptop with the charger plugged in or the system on. This is dangerous to both you and your computer. Ensure you always unplug your laptop before you try cleaning it.

– Do not spray air directly under the keycaps when cleaning. It can damage sensitive electronics.

– Do not spray water or cleaning liquids on the keycaps or the laptop. If you must use cleaning liquids and let the cloth you’re using be damp and not soaked. Also, avoid using Windex or glass cleaners on LCD screens. They are only meant for glass screens. Stick to isopropyl alcohol instead, which you can buy here.

– Do not hurry up the cleaning process. Always exercise patience when cleaning your laptop. If you don’t, you’re likely to damage something which would cost you a lot to fix or have replaced entirely.

And finally, we’ll cover the how-to.

How to clean laptop keyboard—the right way

First, you need to gather all the supplies you’ll need in one place. Here’s a list of what you’ll need:

  • Microfiber cloth
  • Isopropyl alcohol (also known as rubbing) alcohol
  • Compressed air can
  • Soft paintbrush
  • Cotton swabs

You obviously don’t want to damage your laptop and have to spend on something that you could’ve avoided. So here’s how to clean laptop keyboard and not ruin it in the process.

How to clean laptop keyboard properly

Step 1: Power off and unplug the laptop Even though you won’t be putting any liquid on your laptop, you should shut it down completely as a precaution against any moisture that might get into your laptop.

Step 2: Turn the laptop upside-down and shake it. It would be best if you did this to dislodge any crumbs or debris on your keyboard. Do this over a towel or garbage can to make the clean-up process more manageable.

Step 3: Use a soft paintbrush or compressed air to clean out the keyboard. With your laptop still upside-down, to prevent pushing the debris further in, use a soft paintbrush to brush out the dirt and dust from the top and corners of the keys. You can use a compressed air can for this step too. Attach the straw to the compressed air can, then spray in a zigzag motion, making sure to hit all four sides. The force of the air will dislodge any dirt or crumbs trapped between the keys. Make sure the compressed air can is useable for cleaning electronics.

Step 4: Use a microfiber cloth dampened with isopropyl alcohol to clean the keys. Dampen a microfiber cloth (dampen, not soak) with isopropyl alcohol (rubbing alcohol) and use it to wipe down each key carefully. Microfiber is an excellent material for cleaning as it doesn’t shed or leave lint behind, and it’s a magnet for dirt and debris. You can use a lint-free cloth or an old shirt in the absence of a microfiber cloth. You can also use a q-tip dipped into isopropyl alcohol to clean the hard-to-get areas.

And that’s how to clean laptop keyboard.

Bonus: how to clean a laptop screen

Your laptop keyboard isn’t the only magnet for dust and grime. Your laptop screen is bound to accumulate dust and smudges over time. Here’s how to clean a laptop screen safely:

Step 1:

Power off and unplug your laptop before you start any cleaning process

Again, this is crucial as you don’t want to short-circuit your system while cleaning.

Step 2:

Wipe down the screen with a microfiber cloth to remove the dust.

Step 3:

Dip a cotton swab in isopropyl alcohol and use it to wipe down the screen. Or use a computer screen cleaner wipe to make the cleaning process more manageable. Add slight pressure to remove sticky or stubborn stains.


There you have it, a guide on how to clean laptop keyboard. Cleaning your laptop frequently prevents the spread of germs which can make you sick, keeps your system in good shape, and prevents you from spending on things that you could’ve avoided.

For the best result, try cleaning your laptop twice a month. Avoid eating around your laptop to keep food debris from getting on it, and keep cleaning items such as a microfiber cloth close to you.

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