How to Clean a Sticky Keyboard in 3 Easy Steps


Do you have a sticky keyboard that needs to be cleaned? We are here to help!

With 4 kids that all have computers, the computer keyboards in this house are sticky! From annoying clicky sounds to keys being mis-hit – let’s learn how to clean the dirt and grime from our keyboards iwth this easy tutorial.

How to Clean a Sticky Keyboard

We’re jumping right in with 3 easy tips for cleaning a sticky keyboard. If you thought you had enough maintenance in your life, we’re about to add another thing.

how to clean a sticky keyboard
how to clean a sticky keyboard

Cleaning a keyboard is essential to keep it functioning correctly and hygienic. Dust, crumbs, and grime can accumulate over time, which can impact its performance. Let’s gather a few supplies and get cleaning.

  • Can of compressed air
  • Isopropyl alcohol (at least 70%)
  • Cotton swabs or a soft brush
  • Microfiber or lint-free cloth

Here’s a simple, step-by-step guide on how to clean a keyboard:

Step 1: Disconnect and Power Off Keyboard Before Cleaning

Before starting the cleaning process, turn off your computer or disconnect the keyboard if it’s a standalone one. This will prevent any accidental key presses while cleaning.

Step 2: Shake Out and Spray with Compressed Air

Turn the keyboard upside down and gently shake it to dislodge loose debris like crumbs, dust, and dirt. You can also tap it lightly on a surface to encourage anything stuck between the keys to fall out. The sticky keyboard keys will be no more after we are done cleaning it!

compressed air keyboard cleaning
compressed air keyboard cleaning

Use a can of compressed air to blow out any remaining dust and debris. Hold the can upright and spray short bursts of air between the keys. This will help remove particles that are difficult to reach.

Step 3: Clean the Keycaps and Keyboard

To clean the keycaps and the surface of the keys, make a cleaning solution. Mix a few drops of dish soap with warm water in a bowl. Dampen a cotton ball, microfiber or lint-free cloth with the solution. Ensure the cloth is not dripping wet; it should be just damp.

dirty keyboard photo
dirty keyboard photo

Gently wipe the keycaps with the damp cloth. You may need to press down on the keys to clean around and under them. Be careful not to let any liquid seep beneath the keys as it can damage the keyboard. If you are able to remove the keys, do so gently!

For stubborn stains or sticky residue on keycaps, use a cotton swab dipped in isopropyl alcohol (at least 70%) to clean them. Rub the swab on the affected areas and then wipe with a clean cloth.

Wipe down the surface of the keyboard with the damp cloth to remove any dirt or grime. Be gentle to avoid damaging the keys or the keyboard’s circuitry.

Keyboard Cleaning Gel

While there is a keyboard cleaning gel that you can purchase, think slime that cleans your keys – we’ve personally had the same experience when using just alcohol and a q-tip!

Cleaning a Mechanical Keyboard

If you have a mechanical keyboard and are able to easily remove the keycaps, then take off the keys for a thorough cleaning.

how to clean a mechanical keyboard
how to clean a mechanical keyboard

Wait Until Keyboard is Dry to Use!

Allow the keyboard to air dry completely before reconnecting it or turning on your computer. You can also use a dry cloth to gently blot any remaining moisture.

Once the keyboard is completely dry, reconnect it to your computer or turn your computer back on. Test all the keys to ensure they are working correctly.

Why You Need to Clean Your Keyboard

A keyboard can be a breeding ground for bacteria and allergens, particularly if it’s shared among multiple users. Regular cleaning can help maintain a hygienic workspace and reduce the risk of illness.

How Gross is Your Keyboard?

According to a study by microbiologist Charles Gerba, revealed that keyboards have 400 times more bacteria than an average toilet seat. In fact, a computer keyboard had 3,295 germs per square inch! Source ComputerWorld: Why phones, keyboards and mice make me sick

Dust and Debris

Additionally, debris and dust can accumulate on and between the keys over time, leading to mechanical issues that can affect the keyboard’s functionality.

why clean your keyboard
why clean your keyboard

Keeping your keyboard clean can help restore key responsiveness and prevent accidental key presses, which can hamper productivity. Prompt cleaning after spills is essential to prevent liquids from seeping into the keyboard’s internal components, which can cause significant damage.

Not only does regular cleaning extend the lifespan of your keyboard and save you money in the long run, but it also contributes to a tidy and organized workspace. Neglecting to clean your keyboard may void its warranty if damage is attributed to lack of care or improper maintenance.

In summary, proper maintenance through regular cleaning is crucial for keyboard hygiene, functionality, longevity, and overall user experience. This results in a healthier and more efficient computing environment.

Keyboard Maintenance

A simple way to prevent sticky keyboard issues, is to create a keyboard maintenance schedule. From either monthly or every few months – routinely clean your keyboard using the above tutorial.

For in-between keyboard cleanings, regularly use compressed air to remove crumbs and dirt.

Sticky Laptop Keyboards

Something else I found while searching for how to clean a sticky keyboard was laptop keyboards. I never thought about this, as I really TRY to keep the kids away from my Macbook.

Buy a New Keyboard

If you have a sticky laptop keyboard, Amazon sells new laptop keyboards. I hope this saves someone a ton of money on repairing your laptop keyboard!

If cleaning a sticky keyboard is too annoying, just buy a new one. My favorite is the Logitech Wireless keyboard.

LOGITECH MK470 keyboard mouse REVIEW

Read our Logitech keyboard MK470 review We are big fans of the Logitech keyboards, so much so – we always keep a spare. With four kids, it never fails that someone in the house needs a keyboard for something!

Have Your Kids Ruined a Computer Keyboard?

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Digital Mom
Mom to 4 kids, Molly aka Digital Mom is the blogger-in-chief and meme queen here at She likes to keep it real, overshares on her personal Insta-stories, tries her best to show grace and always appreciates a funny meme. Molly appreciates the unique things in life, and is a Ennegagram 7w8.