How to Clean Under Keyboard Keys

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Updated February 10, 2023

It can take a long time to research and find the best keyboard that fits your setup. And one of the most common ways to ruin a keyboard is by allowing debris or liquid to stay trapped under the keys. This common issue is why all keyboard owners need to know how to clean under keyboard keys. The good news is that this is a straightforward process, and you shouldn’t need to take your device to a service professional.


  • Cleaning under the keys is a crucial part of keyboard maintenance.
  • To do this, you need a tool to remove the keycaps.
  • With the keycaps removed, wipe the switches with rubbing alcohol.
  • Owners must be careful not to damage the switches during removal and reinsertion.

And just a heads up, this article will focus on how to solve this issue for non-Apple devices. Not to worry, though; we have another article covering how to clean under a MacBook keyboard for all Apple users.

How to Clean Underneath Keyboard

If you’ve ever spilled coffee, soda, or juice on your beautiful keypad, you may be familiar with how to clean a sticky keyboard. But many people only clean the surface and forsake the bigger job of getting under the keys of mechanical keyboards to the switches. And while it might sound like a complicated process, follow the guide below, and you’ll be back in business in no time.

Insider Tip

To quickly remove loose debris like crumbs, you can fold a piece of scotch tape so that the adhesive is facing outward. Place it between the key gaps and slide it around to trap any food crumbs.

Also, because different keyboard keycaps attach in different ways, it might be handy to review our article that dives into how to reattach a keyboard key before you get started.


Get out your keycap removal tool. Use a keycap puller for raised mechanical keyboards, and for chiclet keys, use a flathead screwdriver. Raised keys will come right off when pulled. Chiclet keyboards require you to pry the cap off gently for the clips to pop off. Either way, be very careful not to damage the switch underneath.


Remove each keycap that needs to be cleaned.


Take a small brush or Q-tip, douse it with rubbing alcohol, and wipe the key switches until all dried liquid and debris are eliminated.


For chiclet keyboards, keep in mind that the larger keys, like the space bar and shift key, will have more clips on them, as well as support bars, making them easier to break.


Soak the keycaps in a plate of hot water. Doing this will loosen any dried liquid. Then take your cleaning tool and wipe off any remaining grime.


Place the clean keycaps on a towel and dry thoroughly.


Once the keycaps are completely dry, place each keycap back on the computer. Then test to make sure you put them on properly.

STAT: A study found that 46% of computer owners clean their keyboards less than once a month. (source)


Is it ok to vacuum a laptop keyboard?

Vacuuming will work for dust, dirt, and crumb removal. Although, it won’t fix sticky keys.

Are there alternatives to compressed air?

Some household alternatives to compressed are vacuum cleaners and hair dryers (but on a cool setting only).

Is it ok to clean a laptop keyboard with Clorox wipes?

Clorox wipes are perfectly fine to use on your keyboard. Just make sure that any wipe you use doesn’t contain bleach.

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