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Only for Those with Patience

November 1, 2011

Today, I discovered how to thoroughly clean a laptop’s keyboard. No, I didn’t just do it because it sounded like a lot of fun. I did it because I spilled a quarter of a glass of sparkling pear juice on top of it last night.

(By the way, let me put a plug in for Ikea Food’s Kristian Regale Sparkling Pear Juice. DE-LI-CIOUS! Perfect for special occasions or just because. Check it out here.)

Anyway, it’s always a bad sign when you tilt your computer and a waterfall of liquid pours out. I can attest to the success of my cleaning since I am currently blogging on my laptop!

I mopped up what I could and then got a hair dryer out to dry under the keys as quickly as possible since it was late at night and I didn’t want to have to tear the whole keyboard apart at that moment. Today I began the process of taking all the keys off, cleaning them individually and putting them back on. It’s not as easy as it sounds since laptop keys are a bit more complex than those on a full-size keyboard. Here’s the how-to.


1. rubbing alcohol, 2. small plastic bowl, 3. miniature flat-head screwdriver, 4. clean, dry cloth, 5. digital camera, 6. great amounts of patience

First, you need to take at least one picture of your keyboard. No matter how well you think you know it, you may find that it seems much more confusing once you’ve removed the keys. Then you need to pop all the keys off. That is easier said than done on a laptop. To get the first key off, you may need to pop it off with a screwdriver. After the first one, you may be able to do the rest by hand. Try to pop the rest off by starting at the top of each key.

No matter how careful you are, some keys will still at least partially pull off the black plastic that connects each key to the keyboard.

Each key comes in three parts, the key cover and two black pieces that hook together. One of the pieces has two short
pins on either side that fit into corresponding slots on the inner edge of the larger piece.

This is what they will look like once they are snapped together.


This combined piece then snaps onto its corresponding spot on the keyboard.The inner black piece slides onto the bottom hook while the larger black piece has two holes along its upper edge which snap onto the smaller top hooks.

Some of the black pieces were only popped out on one side and could be popped right back in without completely removing it from the keyboard.

Meanwhile, I had the key covers soaking in a little rubbing alcohol in a plastic bowl.

I then poured rubbing alcohol on a clean, dry cloth and cleaned around every key thoroughly. Not only was there sticky sugar, but there was also dust and cat hair. I think it was time for a good cleaning anyway! The great thing about rubbing alcohol is that it dries so fast.

I first put on the larger keys such as the space bar, the shifts, and the backspace. These longer keys had extra metal pins that needed to first be slid into slots before the key could be popped back on.

I felt like I was doing a puzzle, but it worked out quite well. I will warn you – it took me over an hour to do the whole thing although I believe it would go much faster if I tried it again since this time I would know what I was doing. It’s also not a project for the faint-hearted. I’ve always enjoyed a reasonable challenge and decided that this was a great do-it-yourself project for me.


From → Cleaning

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