How to Clean a Greasy Keyboard? – Easy Guide

Last Updated on March 4, 2021

With gradual usage over time, you may observe that your laptop keyboard or an external one (wired or wireless) can become greasy or oily.

This could result in annoying experiences while using the keyboard and even lead to problems such as the keys not pressing properly or your keyboard may generally ooze unhygienic vibes. Thus, it becomes necessary to understand how to clean a greasy keyboard to utilize the peripheral in optimal working and in hygienic condition.

You can clean a laptop keyboard by wiping through cloth dampened in a mixture of dish detergent and water and making use of the Q-tips. An external keyboard can be de-greased by using Q-tips and cloth dampened with rubbing alcohol. You can also remove the keycaps and rub them with a dry or dampened cloth before inserting them back (for a mechanical keyboard with removable keycaps).

Let us look at the process and tips in details

How to Clean a Greasy Keyboard?

Grease and oils on a keyboard are a common problem that people often face. Here’s how to clean and restore its condition whether you use a laptop keyboard or an external one.

Cleaning Your Greasy Laptop Keyboard

How to Clean a Greasy Keyboard

Here is the procedure to clean a greasy laptop keyboard:

Items You Need:

  1. A Bowl
  2. Dish Detergent
  3. Microfiber cloths
  4. Q-tips
  5. Rubbing Alcohol

The Cleaning Process:

  1. Before the cleaning procedure, you need to shut down the laptop and unplug it from all the power sources. Also, remove all the other cables and devices attached to it.
  2. Hold the laptop in your hands and tilt it upside down. Then slowly shake it. This will help to bring out any large oily food particles and other residues that are hidden in the nooks and crannies of the keyboard.
  3. Pour warm water into a bowl and add some dish detergent to it. Mix it well.
  4. Take a piece of microfiber cloth and soak some portion of it in the mixture.
  5. Then squeeze the excess liquid out of it by pressing and turning. This will result in a damp cloth.
  6. Wipe the laptop keyboard with the cloth and make sure it reaches the crevices. You will notice that the keyboard will appear clean because the mixture of detergent will remove the grease.
  7. Use another cloth to dry the keyboard after the cleaning is done.
  8. Additionally, use Q-tips carefully to clean the oily dirt that’s still lying between the keys.
  9. When the keyboard has dried completely you can start using your laptop again.
  10. Finally use the rubbing alcohol on a clean microfiber cloth or with cotton buds to sanitize the keyboard with rubbing alcohol.

Cleaning Your Greasy External Keyboard

External Keyboard cleaning

Here is the procedure to clean a greasy external keyboard. Note that we will use rubbing alcohol as a solvent to dissolve the grease that’s deposited on the keyboard.

Items You Need:

  1. Q-tips
  2. Rubbing Alcohol
  3. Microfiber cloths

The Cleaning Process:

  1. Before cleaning you need to make sure that the external keyboard is unplugged in case of a wired one. For a wireless keyboard, you also need to remove the batteries as a precautionary measure.
  2. Slowly turn and shake the keyboard upon holding in your hands so that the large particles and other residues come out naturally.
  3. Take a Q-tip and dip it into the rubbing alcohol to make it dampened. The Q-tip should not be overly wet.
  4. Use it to clean the area around the keyboard keys. You can see that the Q-tip will accumulate dirt and you may need more than one Q-tip to cover the area around all the keys.
  5. Once done properly dispose of the Q-tips.
  6. Dampen a microfiber cloth with rubbing alcohol, making sure that the cloth is not excessively wet. Otherwise, the alcohol can cause damage to the keys.
  7. Use the dampened cloth to clean the keys and the areas between them.
  8. Take another dry microfiber cloth and use it to remove the wetness on or around the keys. You will see that the keyboard appears cleaner than before and free of grease and oil residues.
  9. When you are sure that there is no wetness left on the keyboard, you can insert the batteries (for a wireless one) and plug it again.
  10. Start using your clean keyboard again.

Cleaning a Mechanical Keyboard with Removable Keycaps

If you have a mechanical keyboard with removable keycaps, you can also remove them through a keycap puller.

Take a photo of the keyboard first and then remove the keycaps. Use a dry microfiber cloth to gently rub all the keycaps.

You may use a bit of solvent like rubbing alcohol on the cloth but be careful not to overuse it otherwise it can affect the keycaps and the printed letters.

Allow the keycaps to dry completely before inserting them on the keyboard. The photo you took earlier would help you for this purpose.

The Causes of Greasy Keyboards

Keyboards tend to become greasy or oily over time. There could be different reasons for this and that is what we will elaborate on here.

Your fingers produce natural oils that form a layer of oil and grease on the keys with usage. This can be a concern if you have oily skin and you use a laptop or an external keyboard. As this can be damaging to the peripheral, you need to clean it regularly to make it free of oils and grease.

Another reason is that people often eat food while working on their computers. This causes the oils to be transferred from the food to the keyboard through your fingers leading to a buildup of grease and oils on and around the keys. That’s why experts advise that you should not eat or drink near your computers.

There could also be an oil spill on your laptop keyboard or the external one. This could prove to be more damaging and you need to shut down your computer and clean the keyboard as fast as possible.

The oil could have gone under the laptop’s keyboard and caused damage to the internal components. Therefore, you can take your device to a recognized computer repair shop and have it cleaned there.

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We anticipate that the information described here on how to clean a greasy keyboard would help you to maintain the working condition of the peripheral.

After you follow the methods above, it is expected that the keyboard should appear clean, shiny, and without greasy or oily residues.

Take note as the methods are different for laptop keyboards and external ones. So, perform the steps accordingly.


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