How to Clean a Sticky Keyboard Without Taking the Keys Off

By Shawn McClain

After years of using your keyboard, or much less time if you use your keyboard while you eat, dirt and grime can build up underneath the keys and make the keys stick when you press down on them. The best way to completely clean the keys is to remove each key and clean it individually. However, if you don't want to go through the hassle of removing each individual keys, you can still get the keys fairly clean using the right tools.

Things You'll Need

  • Compressed air
  • Hard-bristle brush
  • Soft-bristle brush
  • Isopropyl alcohol

Step 1

Turn your computer off and unplug your computer's power cable from your computer. If you are cleaning a laptop keyboard, turn the laptop off, unplug the power cable and then remove the battery.

Step 2

Turn the keyboard upside down and hold it securely in both hands. Shake the keyboard gently to force any small particles out from between the keys. Place the keyboard down on the table and insert the extension nozzle into your can of compressed air. Place the nozzle between two keys on the right side of your keyboard and depress the trigger for about a second. Repeat this process as you work your way to the left side of the keyboard, blowing out particles as you go.

Step 3

Dampen the soft-bristle brush using the isopropyl alcohol. Insert the bristles under the top-right key on your keyboard and gently scrub all the way around the key. Remove the brush and depress the key, testing to make sure it is not sticking. Once the key is working properly, move on to the next one, reapplying the alcohol to the brush as needed. Continue until all your keys are working correctly.

Step 4

Dampen your hard bristle brush with your alcohol. Scrub the top and sides of each key to remove any built-up dirt or grime.

Step 5

Check each key one more time to ensure it didn't start to stick after the alcohol had dried, then clean underneath the keys again as necessary.