Sooner or later, every computer user is faced with the need to clean the keyboard globally. In theory, water-soap procedures should be carried out every two to three months. In practice, most of the hands reach the point of cleaning when the keys begin to stick and fall out. By removing a couple of buttons, users discover a brave new world of dirt and dust.
In this article, we will look at how to send the keyboard to the bathhouse, get acquainted with all the methods of cleaning, and analyze in practice how to make keycaps.
What you need to clean your keyboard
There are universal methods for cleaning the keyboard and specific ones that are suitable only for certain types of designs. Let’s start with general methods and the most basic tools.
Wet wipes – it is recommended to wipe it with special equipment wipes. However, the most common ones, with alcohol, are also great. Just do not take antiseptic, with odors. If the distance between the keys is small, the disinfectant will begin to glue the keys after it dries.
USB Vacuum Cleaner – Cheap, but little use. Power is too low, PC or laptop must be turned on during cleaning. The maximum it is capable of is to blow off the dust and remove the cat’s hair from the surface. A car or rechargeable model of a vacuum cleaner will do this much better. Unfortunately, even the world’s most powerful vacuum cleaner is unlikely to clean the inside of the keyboard.
Cleaning slimes are liquid, sticky and not particularly pleasant to the touch clots of chemical slime, which were invented for those who are too lazy to periodically disassemble the keyboard. The method cannot be called fast, but it is really the easiest one. There is only one problem – all the dirt remains on the slime, and the buttons become greasy. But they shine!
Compressed air is another way for the lazy, with a side effect. All dirt is blown out onto the table, on the floor, on the chair and other equipment that is “scattered” around. It is recommended to use only in emergency cases of sticky keys or in a room that is already preparing for cleaning.
A compressed air cylinder can easily replace a hairdryer turned on at maximum power. Just do not bring it close so that the buttons do not melt, it is advisable to turn on the cold mode (there is one, but not on all models).
Push-button punch – surprisingly, the Chinese have created a push-button pick. The process is somewhat similar to slot machines with a tap. It is necessary to pick up the button on both sides and pull it up.
It is a pity that such a device did not go into mass production. We get by with good old nail files, paper clips, flat screwdrivers or, in extreme cases, a small knife. All this can be found in the multitool – it will still come in handy in the future for global cleaning or repair of the keyboard.
We figured out the tools, let’s go directly to the cleaning procedure.
Express keyboard cleaning
If something is spilled on the keyboard, the poor thing urgently needs to be disconnected from the power supply and turned upside down. The liquid will flow out by itself, all that remains is to wipe the keys.
Wet ruffling of keys can be done at least every day, for this procedure you will need napkins or cotton swabs, as well as isopropyl alcohol. The liquid is sold at any pharmacy. In comparison with regular alcohol, it dries faster without leaving streaks. The procedure is simple – carefully, key by key three to shine. To rub from the sides, press the adjacent buttons.
Cheeky sticky keys can be pulled out one at a time by hooking the flat side of a knife, nail file, etc. by the edge. Only without fanaticism, this is not a global cleaning. If there is a thin brush for cleaning any technique, go over the gaps between the keys.
Warning: Makeup brushes are not suitable, they have too thin bristles that easily break out of the mount.
You can ease your back-breaking work with the help of a slime. Take the lump out of the bag and drop it onto a flat surface. After 10-15 minutes (depending on the temperature in the room) it will spread over the keys, collecting dust, crumbs, hairs. Then all this will need to be torn off the keyboard.
The disadvantages of this method are as follows: all the dirt collects on the surface and inside this gelatinous slurry. When the slime spreads a lot, it starts to cling to all the irregularities and breaks, one piece turns into dozens of small sticky lumps on the keys. If you leave it for a long time, it will be easier to do a general cleaning of the keyboard than to pick out this colorful charm. Obviously, this cleaning tool is only suitable for slightly dusty keyboards.
Step-by-step instructions for global keyboard cleaningThere are three types of keyboard keys: mechanical , membrane , scissor . You can clean them in two ways: outside and inside, – the last path is wet and thorny, take heart!
General cleaning principles:
Take out your smartphone and take a picture of the keyboard so that all the keys fit into the frame. “I will remember it anyway” – will not work.Take a flat sharp object and remove all keys one by one.When cleaning the buttons on a large scale, they will have to be folded into a cloth bag or plastic container.
If the numbers and letters on your keyboard are protected by a special coating, you can wash the bag in the washing machine, just tie it tightly. If you are worried about the safety of the Russian-language layout, arm yourself with an old soft-bristled toothbrush and scrub each element to a shine.
Turn over the rich inner world of the keyboard and pour down everything that turns out to be in it. Walk with a brush, vacuum cleaner, you can use a hairdryer. If it doesn’t have a cold setting, place a napkin on the back of the hair dryer and collect the dirt instead of blowing it out. Only carefully, otherwise you will have to clean the hair dryer later.
Features of cleaning different keyboards
Membrane or film – do not have moving mechanical parts, a “pattern” of keys is applied on a flat surface. The membrane is cleaned with a napkin. Can be rubbed with a sponge or cotton swab dipped in soapy water. It is better to remove all buttons.
Scissors are often found in laptops. It is not recommended to remove the keys, they are very difficult to put back. It is necessary to remove the protective cover above the keyboard, unscrew the bolts and carefully disconnect the cable, after which you can start washing and cleaning with a sponge.
Mechanical – already from the name it is clear that with this type of structure everything moves, which means it is disassembled into its component parts. The mechanical keyboard can be expanded into a hundred elements and washed in bulk or thoroughly wiped in a basin.
How to wash the keyboardTurn the “patient” over, unscrew the bolts on the back cover, shake them out, carefully separate the textolite with the wire from the plastic sheath.
The board does not need to be washed, the textolite is possible, but undesirable (contacts may be damaged).
Everything! We send to dry. Then we collect everything in the reverse order.
Solving the problem of stuck / dropped keys
More often than not, keys get stuck due to accumulated dirt, small objects or spilled sweet liquids. It is not necessary to pour directly onto the keyboard; splashing is enough. Sugar in droplets crystallizes over time, dust sticks to it and voila! There is only one solution – cleaning.
If the problem appears after cleaning, the key may not have been fully inserted into the groove. Spaces, backspaces and entertainers have a dual attachment system. You need to get into the groove from both sides at once. Be guided by the principle “it didn’t work the first time, it will definitely work the second or third time.”
Butterfly mounts on laptop keyboards are very flimsy and break easily, be careful not to remove them at all and only wash them outside.
Most often, the cause of breakdown is elementary wear. It doesn’t matter – we carefully take out the key, take a piece of foil 10 by 10 millimeters and roll it up in several layers.
Then we slip it under the button and put the key in place. The smoothness of pressing is regulated by the height of the foil. If the button is large, just a larger piece (you can use paper). On such a crutch, the keyboard can work for years – it’s proven.
Buying new keys will make you feel like a keyboard dentist. Why change them? Usually, the inscriptions are erased over time, sometimes you want something new and unusual, for example, colored keys.
Changing keycaps is easy and simple. The necessary buttons are bought, the old ones are removed by pulling out, the new ones are installed by pushing them on. The easiest way to transplant is mechanical keyboards.
You can make unique kikapi with your playful handles. It is enough to get hold of a mold and UV resin. Of course, you can print on a 3D printer , but who has it?
A step-by-step instruction for a programmer is here , for a creative soul here .
You can learn more about the difference between mechanical and membrane keyboards in this article. And in this review, the author gives advice on choosing the good old mechanics. If you are too lazy to read, watch YouTube .
If you want to replace the switches as well, watch this video:
General cleaning of the keyboard seems difficult only at first glance, in fact it is very simple. Each time, the procedure will go faster due to the acquired experience.
It would be nice to have a spare keyboard or a separate one for games, which can be used while the main one is drying. Do not be lazy to clean your keyboards and then they will not let you down at the most crucial moment!