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Tips for Cleaning Your Desktop Computer Electromechanical Keyboard

Hi!

In my post on “Tips for maintaining desktop electromechanical keyboard”, available at: http://www.pctipstricks.com/?p=41, I had promised to write the detailed tips and procedure for cleaning the electromechanical keyboard (to help users who have dirty keyboards due to normal day to day usage and accidental spillover of beverage).

Please note that this post specifically applies to the desktop model of electromechanical keyboard as I myself have the same (Dell SK-8115 keyboard).

I also want to point out that I cleaned my keyboard myself by opening it and cleaning it thoroughly. It was not a very dirty keyboard (you can see the pictures available at – http://www.pctipstricks.com/?p=41 to judge its initial state few days back when the previous post was made).

I would bring to your notice that if you have extremely dirty keyboards (due to dust, dirt, hair and food etc.) and have never cleaned it in last few months, then it can take few hours to clean it thoroughly. As the keyboards are cheap, my advice would be to simply buy a new one. I am giving this tip at the beginning as I see no point for the users to spend time and energy in cleaning their keyboards (if they can simply afford to buy new one – under $ 10).

The tips for cleaning the electromechanical keyboard is for the users who maintain and take care of their keyboard daily and want to have an almost new keyboard again by doing some hard work. The procedure here will also help those users who have costly keyboards or those who can’t afford the luxury to buy new keyboards after few months or users like me who are extremely cautious when spending money.

- To clean a not very dirty/non wet keyboard, you can use the tips as given next:

– Switch off the computer and plug out the keyboard. Remember the port (USB, PS2 or DIN etc.) from where you are pulling out the keyboard connector and the connector orientation as you need to put it back too without wasting your time making efforts in fitting it correctly. Please note that it’s very important to remember the port and the way the keyboard was connected in the PC’s connector as putting it wrongly by applying too much force can cause damage to both the keyboard connector (male) of the keyboard and the keyboard connector at the PC end (female).

Pulling out the keyboard cable gives you the freedom to carry it at convenient place and do the cleaning.

- Place some big enough paper (typically three times bigger than your keyboard) so that when you open its parts you can easily place them on the paper and the dust and dirt etc. falls on the paper itself. Invert the keyboard so that its keys faces the paper placed on floor or table etc. Tap the keys gently and rub the keys with a good quality soft brush (fit enough to go in the keys gap without getting stuck) to make the dirt, dust and unwanted material come out on the paper. The hair of the brush must be firm and should not break while doing the cleaning of the keyboard. Throw this junk in the dustbin before proceeding to the next step.

- Pour some isopropyl alcohol/keyboard cleaning solution (get it from the hardware shop) in an open mug/cup or container etc. and dip the soft cleaning brush in it (any good quality brush – drawing, painting or cleaning etc.). Remove the extra cleaning solution from the brush by rubbing the brush against the edges of the container having the cleaning solution so that the brush is dry and liquid is not dripping from it. With the keyboard in inverted position, rub the brush to clean the keyboard thoroughly (in the keys gaps, top, side and the keyboard body – front, back and sides).

- If you don’t have the cleaning solution and the brush, then you can use the vacuum cleaner – its blower to blow the dust first and then using its brush to clean the keyboard and sucker to move the unwanted dust, dirt etc. But, for best keyboard cleaning results , you should do the cleaning with the soft brush wet with the keyboard cleaning solution.

After cleaning with the solution, let the keyboard dry for sometime.

- Inspect the keyboard and just press and release the keys to test it. Also, check the keyboard visually for cleanliness. If you are satisfied then you can connect the keyboard and use it. If not, then follow the procedure given next:

Procedure to be used for thorough cleaning of the desktop electromechanical keyboard – very dirty (dry) or wet (due to spillage of beverage):

- Switch off the PC and pull out the keyboard by noting its connectivity – the port and the orientation. Place the keyboard on a paper three or more times bigger than it and invert it. Unscrew the small screws at the back of the keyboard. You will need a small star bit screw driver to open the small sized screws. Use only the bit that accurately goes in the screws otherwise the cuts of the screws will get damaged. Keep the screws safely as you will need them after cleaning to fit the keyboard.

opened computer electromechanical keyboard uncleaned Tips for Cleaning Your Desktop Computer Electromechanical Keyboard

- Clean the liquid from the plastic sheets and the chips with the soft cotton cloth. Inspect the keyboard plastic film for the damage. If you see that the tracks on the plastic sheets has burnt or has cracked, then there is no point in cleaning it as the keyboard won’t work. Also check the small PCB with electronic parts (chips, capacitor and cable etc.) visually. If you see that it has damaged – burnt cable, burst chip or capacitor then also the keyboard is damaged and cleaning operation is of no point.

- If the plastic PCB and the keyboard matrix etc. looks OK, then clean all the layers of it with the soft cotton cloth and then use isopropyl alcohol/keyboard cleaning solution to clean both sides of the plastic layers.

- Using cleaning brush, wet with the cleaning solution/isopropyl alcohol, clean the top and the bottom keyboard cover and keys pad (top and bottom), i.e., everything that is part of the keyboard.

You can also clean the keyboard covers (made of plastic) and the keys pad (made of rubber) with light soapy water (utensil cleaning detergent solution) – Notice that you can only clean the plastic and rubber parts with water and soap and not the electronic parts and the thin plastic sheets having the tracks.

computer electromechanical keyboard keys pad and rubber pad being cleaned Tips for Cleaning Your Desktop Computer Electromechanical Keyboard

- After cleaning the keyboard covers and keypad (either with isopropyl alcohol or soapy water), leave them to dry in shade or under a running fan. For quick drying, use a dry soft cotton cloth to wipe the water before putting the keyboard parts in shade or running fan.

- After the keyboard parts have dried (visually inspect) completely, assemble the keyboard ( the bottom cover, the keyboard plastic PCB sheets, the rubber keypad and the top cover in the sequential order from bottom to top). Check for the keys pressing action and fitting of the parts visually.

- Invert the keyboard, hold the the top and bottom covers with your fingers and tighten the screws one by one. Before tightening, again make sure that the cable and the keypad etc.    have got fitted in their respective places.

Cleaned computer keyboard packed Tips for Cleaning Your Desktop Computer Electromechanical Keyboard

- Connect the keyboard connector to the respective port on your PC and switch ON the PC. Check for the functioning of all keys (in a Word Processor and other applications). If you cleaned the keyboard and fitted the components properly then all the keys should work properly.

- If you had a spill over on your keyboard and it is not working after cleaning and fitting, discard the keyboard and buy a new one.

Hope that these detailed tips helps you in cleaning your desktop electromechanical keyboard properly.

Note that if you don’t have 1-2 hours for cleaning your keyboard, then the best would be to buy a new one as the normal keyboards are not very costly ($5 to $ 10).

Do let me know if this post was helpful to you in any way?

Rajesh Mago

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Tags: cleaning dusty and dirty keyboards, cleaning PC keyboard, how to clean the computer wet keyboard, procedure for cleaning desktop electromechanical keyboard

This entry was posted on Friday, November 14th, 2008 at 12:48 pm and is filed under Hardware, Keyboard. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

2 Responses to “Tips for Cleaning Your Desktop Computer Electromechanical Keyboard”

siva January 5th, 2009 at 10:07 pm

Your tips were really useful for me. Was thinking how to clean my keyboard for months….

rajeshmago January 6th, 2009 at 12:19 am

@Siva: Delighted to know that you got the knowledge from here for cleaning your keyboard. It’s essential to have a clean keyboard without much dust under the keys otherwise one would end up applying more force in typing that could be used somewhere else. Go ahead and clean it and you will be glad you did it as you will feel more comfortable in using your keyboard. Or else, if it looks really difficult, go for a new one, as keyboards are really cheap.

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