How to Clean a Keyboard with Compressed Air

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Updated August 16, 2022

You’ve probably heard it said of your devices before that keyboard is dirtier than a toilet seat. As such, we’re not too proud to remind you that even the best keyboards need to be cleaned. So below, we’ll show you how to clean a keyboard with compressed air.

KEY TAKEAWAYS:

  • Compressed air is one of the quickest and easiest ways to keep a keyboard functioning properly.
  • Clean and disinfect your computer around 2-3 times monthly.
  • Older MacBook keyboards need extra attention because their switch mechanisms are more susceptible to debris.

Of course, compressed air isn’t going to do much good if you’ve just spilled your coffee all over your laptop. For that, you need to know how to clean a laptop keyboard after a spill.

Insider Tip

After cleaning your keyboard with compressed air, it’s always a good idea to wipe it down with isopropyl alcohol.

Cleaning Your Keyboard With Compressed Air

For those wondering why your keyboard isn’t working, it’s essential to know that common malfunctions are often caused by loose debris, food crumbs, and dust falling into the key switches. This causes the key not to press down all the way, interrupting the signal.

Fortunately, figuring out how to unstick your keyboard keys is simple and takes nothing more than a can of compressed air, whether you have a MacBook or PC. It takes only a few minutes and can completely solve many key switch problems.

That said, if you are looking for a new keyboard because yours has finally died altogether, we have an excellent hand-wired keyboard guide for those interested.

Cleaning a PC or Mechanical Keyboard

STEP 1

Before starting the cleaning process, power off your laptop or remove the power cord of your external keyboard.

STEP 2

Once the power sources are switched off, flip the keyboard over and shake it lightly to help dislodge debris or crumbs.

STEP 3

Insert the plastic nozzle into the can of compressed air. Then, keeping the nozzle close to 1/2 inch above the keyboard, begin to blast air across each row of the entire keyboard, left to right. As you do this, keep the keyboard held at a 75-degree angle.

STEP 4

Run a vacuum cleaner across the keys to remove any lingering crumbs after spraying.

Warning

The butterfly switch design used on MacBooks from 2015-2019 leaves switches more open to loose debris getting into the hardware. Apple users should be aware of this and exercise proper caution.

Cleaning a MacBook Keyboard

STEP 1

Power off the computer, flip it over, and lightly shake the keyboard to loosen up the debris.

STEP 2

Position the keyboard at a 75-degree angle and spray the entire keyboard, left to right, keeping the nozzle 1/2 inch from the keyboard.

STEP 3

Flip the keyboard on its left and right sides and spray the entire keyboard.

STEP 4

Use a vacuum to remove any remaining crumbs.

STAT: The average keyboard has 3000 bacteria every square inch. (source)

How to Clean a Keyboard with Compressed Air FAQs

How frequently should I disinfect my keyboard?

Disease experts recommend using either isopropyl alcohol or disinfecting wipes on your keyboard 2-3 times per month.

What is it that makes keyboards so filthy?

The keyboard becomes contaminated through human touch, food contact, and exposure to humidity and moisture.

Can compressed air damage a keyboard?

Compressed air cans designed for use on electronics won't damage your keyboard. But more powerful and pressurized forms of compressed air may cause damage to your device.
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