A Simple Trick for Cleaning Under Your Keyboard’s Keys

Dave LeClair 03-12-2015

Do you clean your keyboard regularly 5 Curious Facts You Didn’t Know About Your Keyboard We all take our keyboards for granted. Here are a few factoids to help you regain that appreciation! Read More ? Whether you’re the type of person who snacks in front of the computer, thus getting crumbs everywhere, or you’re a neat freak who never puts anything dirty near their keyboard, stuff always gets in there.


Cleaning the actual keys is simple: A paper towel will do the job without a problem. But how are you to clean under and between the keys? Compressed air is a solid option, but what if you don’t have any available, or what if you don’t want to blow the stuff under your keyboard around the room?

The answer is shockingly simple, and it comes from something we all have around the house.


Clear tape! You simply need to tear off a small piece (about an inch or so), fold it in half so the sticky side faces out, then rub it around between your keys. Because you’re working with tape, you’ll be able to see all the nasty stuff that’s been hiding all of this time. It’s a little gross, but at least it will be gone!

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Make sure you don’t use duct tape or any other highly adhesive tape, as you can leave residue under your keys, which is obviously not good. Stick with the standard clear tape that you would use to wrap a present, and you’ll be safe!

What kind of nastiness did you find under your keyboard? Share the horror with us in the comments!

Image Credit: Khomkrit Phonsai via ShutterStock

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  1. guidenextdoor
    October 21, 2017 at 10:37 am

    If you aren't really into the quirky ideas like 'washing' the keyboard or if you only need to clean under a few keys then just take a fine needle lift up the keys from the side slightly ( NOT FROM THE TOP OR BOTTOM) and blow air under it using a fancy god-given tool called mouth. Do so by (almost) kissing the key. It works always ! Thank me later...

  2. Wobbler
    December 21, 2015 at 3:03 am

    I have a cheap artist's paint brush, a 1" wide one, that I use to clean under my laptop keyboard. It gets the most amazing collection of cat hair out from under the keys! And dust!

    I have a skin on my desktop keyboard, and I replace it every 6 months or so, whenever it gets really grungy and ucky feeling. In between I just spray surface cleaner on a paper towel and wipe it down.

    I really should get a keyboard skin for the laptop...

  3. MN
    December 7, 2015 at 5:19 pm

    Just before you through away your next post-it note, use the adhesive at the top the same way you would use the tape.

  4. David Bridges
    December 6, 2015 at 7:38 pm

    Buy a new one!

    • Wobbler
      December 21, 2015 at 3:04 am

      Oh, conspicuous consumption. I thought we knew better than that now!

  5. alex d'souza
    December 4, 2015 at 6:31 pm

    HUMBUG i dismatle the top part of keyboard and leave it in soapy bubbly water for 1 -2 hours and then pressurized water baby!!.
    then micro wave 1 min its done.

    • Bob
      December 4, 2015 at 9:49 pm

      Actually you can pour DI water (or distilled water) over the keyboard until clean followed by 90% isopropyl alcohol to remove the water then spray it with canned air until dry. I did that once after the kids spilled orange juice on my keyboard. I'm not sure I would use this technique for a laptop. :)

    • Anonymous
      December 7, 2015 at 4:26 pm

      Do you really have time for that? 1 to 2 hours? ;)

  6. Anonymous
    December 4, 2015 at 6:01 am

    A good idea!

  7. megablue
    December 4, 2015 at 1:14 am

    Just unscrew the case and clean it from inside. much easier than using a clear tape...

    • Deborah Graham
      December 4, 2015 at 12:18 pm

      My keyboard has 12 screws and I have no screwdriver at work. I do have (and have used for years) the tape method. Figuring 15 seconds (at least) per screw (not counting the time to find a screwdriver), that's at least 3 minutes to get it undone (and don't lose any screws) And another 3 to get them re-done. I can clean the whole thing in about 1 minute or two.

  8. Dacker
    December 3, 2015 at 11:29 pm

    Some people have luck simply running their keyboards through the dishwasher. I wouldn't do this with your $100 keyboard with mechanical switches but if you're using they cheap-o keyboard which came with your PC, what the heck. You can always buy a replacement for $15 if it gets ruined. if not -- clean keys!

    Use Google to find the details....

  9. Ed
    December 3, 2015 at 11:23 pm

    tip the keyboard upside down and shake it side to side. you will see crumbs and tips of fingernails drop out or dead skin

  10. Steve
    December 3, 2015 at 11:21 pm

    I use a used toothbrush; the bristles fit nicely between the keys and it picks up a LOT of, for example, cat hair. (He doesn't use the keyboard, he just likes to get hair in it.)

  11. Sebastian
    December 3, 2015 at 8:48 pm

    Also the vaccum cleaner on the keyboard is a good method.

    • Anonymous
      December 4, 2015 at 6:02 am

      Haha! Nice one.

  12. Carol Robshaw
    December 3, 2015 at 7:57 pm

    It's easier to just pop the keys off and clean under them. If you are removing more than a couple at a time, take a picture of your keyboard so you know where they go when you pop them back on. :)

  13. Anonymous
    December 3, 2015 at 2:24 pm

    Another solution is vacuum. Instead of blowing, suck.

    • Bobbins
      December 3, 2015 at 11:53 pm

      Vacuum tend to suck anyway

  14. Anonymous
    December 3, 2015 at 11:43 am

    We have dogs. Their hair is attracted to my laptop keyboard like a magnet! I usually give it a blast of air once a week, but the tape is a good tip for spot cleaning.

  15. rw
    December 3, 2015 at 11:06 am

    Get a cheap brush used for applying make up.

  16. Wezlar11
    December 3, 2015 at 10:56 am

    Tried this, and worked well. Did have trouble keeping the tape folded enough to fit between the keys, and became a little fiddly as my keys are larger than the keyboard in your picture.
    Use a bulldog clip to hold the tap and manoeuvre it around a lot easier.

    • Dave
      December 3, 2015 at 1:13 pm

      Double-sided tape works well, no problem with holding tape folded.