how to clean your keyboard

how to clean a keyboard / jones design company

Have you ever looked down at your keyboard and realized that in all the years it’s been sitting on your desk (or your lap, if you’re a laptop user) it’s never once been cleaned? How gross, right?

The computer in my office is what I mainly use to work – blogging, designing, emailing, etc. Once the kids get home from school, it’s also the computer they use for homework, time tests and youtube watching. I try to keep food away, and don’t let the kids snack while computer-ing (computing?), but that doesn’t always happen and inevitably the keyboard has gotten grimy. Three years of daily use without a single cleaning. Oops.

Well, I’m in full-on Spring Cleaning mode and all the little things that have been bothering me are no longer safe from my disinfecting ways. (Side note: as I get older, I become more grossed out by germs. Holding hands during prayer? No way. Hanging onto the escalator hand rail? Not a chance. I have never in my life been concerned with germs and now suddenly I’m becoming weird about things. We’ll chalk it up to maturity. Or something like that).

Okay, back to the keyboard.

This thing was in need of a wipe down. I like having a sleek white keyboard and the narrow depth of the keys keeps it from getting too dirty along the edges, but the tops of the keys were looking not-so-great.

how to clean a keyboard - before cleaning / jones design company

I discovered the perfect solution for how to clean a keyboard without removing the letters, having to take the keys off or worrying if it will mess up the electronics. And also, it only takes about 5 minutes, which is a super great bonus.

Here’s what you’ll need to clean your keyboard:

SUPPLIES: tide to go pen / cotton balls  

how to clean a keyboard in just a few simple steps / jones design company
1. Start by gently pressing down on the pen tip to release the cleaning solvent

2. If your keyboard is angled, you may want to prop it up to make it flat. I just stuck an eraser under the bottom and that worked great.

3. Add tide to go liquid to each key – just drawing over each one and let it soak for a few minutes.

4. After about 5 minutes, wipe clean with a cotton ball. Press the keys to wipe the in-between spaces with the damp cotton ball.


Instant gratification in the form of a sparkling clean keyboard.

how to clean a keyboard - after cleaning / jones design company

No more grimy keyboards around here. Thank goodness for the Spring Cleaning bug.

14 Responses to how to clean your keyboard

  1. Kristen April 24, 2015 at 6:09 pm #

    Germaphobes unite! Microbiology ruined me forever. Before my kids are allowed to read their newly checked out library books, i have to sanitize them with disinfectant wipes!

    The tide pen idea is very clever! Love it!

  2. Christine April 24, 2015 at 11:21 am #

    Love the idea!! btw, where can i find the side tray above keyboard?

    • emily April 26, 2015 at 9:47 pm #

      Thank you! That tray is from IKEA. It’s great for corralling all the little things that litter our desks :)

  3. Rebecca April 24, 2015 at 11:01 am #

    Good idea!
    A while ago I found a key-board cleaning kit, small and pocket-size in a shop I used to work in. On one side of the gadget it has a brush to brush between the keys and on the other side there is a chamois kind of material for the screen and outside and a little bottle of cleaning liquid snapped inside too.
    Best investment ever! But it’s running out and I can’t find it anywhere to buy again! Thanks for the new idea!

  4. Lucy April 24, 2015 at 10:32 am #

    Emily, the germaphobe does come with age, usually when we have a heightened awareness of who closest to us does & doesn’t wash their hands on a regular basis. It carries over to the general public in stages. After reading no hand holding during prayer I don’t feel weird anymore. Thank you for reminding me I need to clean my keyboard. The keyboard has been listed as the number 1 most nasty/dirty/germ laden item we touch on a regular basis.

  5. paula April 24, 2015 at 10:30 am #

    emilyyy i feel the same way about germs! how do you avoid holding hands at prayer?

    • emily April 26, 2015 at 9:48 pm #

      Ha! I guess sometimes you just have to go with it :) But we just fold our hands on our own at our dinner table.

  6. jenn April 24, 2015 at 10:16 am #

    Did you guys know that to actually disinfect using those clorox wipes you have to leave it visibly wet for FOUR minutes?!?!? Yep, it’s true. https://www.clorox.com/products/clorox-disinfecting-wipes/#Cleaning & Disinfecting Product-Clorox® Disinfecting Wipes ID-1-Kitchen

    I use Norwex cloths with just water. They are microfiber cloths and clean amazingly well without any chemicals. Of course I’m usually a slacker when it comes to frequently cleaning my keyboard. My keys are black and it’s not as noticeable.

  7. Gina April 24, 2015 at 10:10 am #

    I have always used a Clorox wipe. I clean my keyboard once a month or more often if someone else has used it (IT guy). They work like a charm and remove 99.9% of virus spreading germs.

  8. suzanne April 24, 2015 at 10:04 am #

    brilliant idea! i didn’t have a tide pen so i used a shout wipe & go towelette. i tore pieces off so it would stay moister while i worked. (had a little piece left over and cleaned my mouse, yay.) ran the cottonball over after cleaning about 4 keys. it’s spotless! i’m so happy. i think i’m even typing faster. i too am a graphic designer + mom and my keyboard grosses me out. i just never wanted to get into the whole key popping thing. thank you emily. ❥

  9. Sandra April 24, 2015 at 9:49 am #

    As soon as I got to work this morning and looked down at my keyboard, I started goggling for keyboard cleaning products–and then I opened my email and say your post – great timing!

  10. Elizabeth April 24, 2015 at 9:35 am #

    What a great idea! Never thought of using a Tide To Go pen. Thanks for the tip!

  11. amanda d April 24, 2015 at 9:15 am #

    Or you could just rub a magic eraser (dry) on it and it cleans up ALL the junk that gathers. :) Works Wonders!!!

  12. Ann April 24, 2015 at 9:14 am #

    I have never thought to use a Tide To Go pen. I have always cleaned my keyboards with rubbing alcohol, Q-Tips and cotton balls. Does the Tide pen leave a residue?

    The eraser idea is brilliant. I just usually use a towel.

    Thanks for the inspiration! Most often, I just swipe it down with a Clorox or Lysol wipe. It gets a surface clean but never gets in the nooks and crannies. Alas, I have a weekend project!!

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