How to Clean Under Laptop Keyboard Keys

By Sandra Ketcham

Laptops tend to become dirty more quickly than desktop computers, mainly because they are used in a variety of locations. Some laptops have removable keys, while others must be cleaned with the keys attached. If you are unsure as to whether or not your keys can be safely removed, contact the manufacturer for more information and cleaning instructions. While it is nearly impossible to keep a laptop keyboard completely clean, regular cleanings prevent damage and prolong the life of your laptop.

Things You'll Need

  • Dull knife
  • Dish detergent
  • Can of compressed air
  • Lint-free cloth
  • Bottle of isopropyl alcohol

Cleaning with Keys Removed

Step 1

Unplug your laptop from any power sources and turn it off. Remove any detachable devices, including a mouse and any USB drives.

Step 2

Remove the keys from your laptop keyboard by popping them off with a dull knife or other instrument.

Step 3

Place the removed keys into a bowl of warm, soapy water. Dish detergent is effective at removing dirt and oil with minimal scrubbing. Leave the keys to soak.

Step 4

Spray the keyboard with a can of compressed air. Hold the can at an angle, and be careful not to get too close to the keyboard or the pressurized air may damage the laptop.

Step 5

Wipe down the touchpad and surrounding areas with a clean, lint-free cloth.

Step 6

Dampen a cloth with a mixture of equal parts water and isopropyl rubbing alcohol and use this to clean the rest of the keyboard. If you cannot reach all the dirt in smaller areas, such as where the keyboard meets the monitor, use a cotton swab.

Step 7

Rinse the keys in warm water and allow to dry completely before replacing them. Make sure all parts of the keyboard are fully dry before the keys are replaced.

Cleaning with Keys Attached

Step 1

Leave your keys attached if the keys cannot be removed or you are worried you will damage the laptop.

Step 2

Clean your attached keyboard by using a can of compressed air to blow out any dirt and debris from between and beneath the keys.

Step 3

Hold the can of compressed air about 3 inches from the keyboard, at an angle, and slowly work your way from one side of the keyboard to the other.

Step 4

Turn your laptop upside down over a trash can and gently shake it to remove any remaining debris.

Step 5

Wipe down the touchpad and surrounding areas, using a lint-free, dry cloth or towel designed for use on electronics.