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For the first time in my entire life yesterday, I accidentally spilled some latte in my ergonomic keyboard.

The keys are starting to stick a bit now, and I was just wondering if there was some way to get those keys unstuck short of buying a new keyboard.

Update


Last week I accidentally choked on some ironically named "Berry Blast Naked Juice" and spewed it all over my Microsoft Ergonomic 4000 keyboard at work. This time I had to clean the entire keyboard.

Ah, after watching a video from Russia on YouTube on how to clean the keyboard I tried nearly the same thing on my keyboard. I just took the keys off, and washed them in the sink.

The keyboard still works, but I had to wait an entire week for the thing to dry out enough for use. Although the keys looked dry to me when I initially reinstalled them in the keyboard, my belief is that there was still some water drops lodged in the dark/hollow cylinders that extend up into the key. These water droplets are probably what caused all of the extra j's I would get when pressing the backspace key when I first tried it out a week ago. After a week of letting it dry out, it seems to work again.

A small note about reinstalling the spacebar Also one more tip I would like to add, if you are re-installing the spacebar make sure that the connected side of the wire is attached to the actual spacebar key (it snaps right into place); Also, the disconnected part of the grey wire that lies bellow the space bar should fit between the two planks that jettison away from the back and forward keys/caplocks indicator lights.

  Connect this end to the  Spacebar Key
  ------------------------------------
 |                                    |  <- grey wire from bellow the spacebar.
 |                                    |
  ---                              ---
  | |             |                | | <- planks
                 \ /
            caplocks lights
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This might be interesting: > superuser.com/questions/15609/… –  fretje Jul 31 '09 at 14:40
    
Thanks for coming back and documenting! –  hyperslug Oct 4 '09 at 5:05
    
@hyperslug Sure thing chief! –  leeand00 Oct 7 '09 at 12:26
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5 Answers

Somewhat controversially, Throw it in a dishwasher!

Pro + Howto: Scott Mochella

Against: NPR

Anecdotally: Worked great for me, but make sure you let it sit for a day or two to let it dry completely. Water doesn't hurt electronics, water hurts electronics that have power to them.

Otherwise, yes, pop the keys off and wash/clean those. It's a long process, but it does tend to work well.

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Don't do the dishwasher thing, at least not with detergent in it. The detergent is caustic, and will screw up the contacts in the keyboard. Remember what that new aluminum tray looked like after the dishwasher got through with it? –  joe Jul 31 '09 at 14:23
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Yes, good point, if you go dishwasher-style, avoid high heat and detergents/chemicals. –  Keck Jul 31 '09 at 14:26
    
Don't try this with a laptop (keyboard) –  makerofthings7 Jul 12 '11 at 1:51
    
+1 A dishwasher is what Leo Laporte recommends too! –  BlueRaja Feb 3 '12 at 1:28
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My suggestion is similar to the one above only I suggest using isopropyl alcohol as your cleaning agent. Isopropyl alcohol has several advantages over soapy water. Soapy water is conductive and if you do not remove a sufficient amount of the residue, you will still have issues with the keyboard operation. Generally speaking it is easiest to just take the keyboard apart and separate the key assembly from the backing circuit board itself.

Once you have the circuit board removed from the key assembly, you now have access to all of the contacts the keys use. Use a paper towel or a Q-Tip to scrub the contacts for best results. The picture below shows the most common keyboard contact type. There is a conductive rubberized material that bridges the contacts and registers the key being pressed. At the end of this process the isopropyl alcohol will evaporate within a minute or two. Once this happens, you are clear to re-assemble and then 'keep on truckin'....

PCB Example

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I was going to suggest Isopropyl alcohol too. It is a natural solvent for the contaminant, non-conductive, non-corrosive (won't cause rust!) You can get it cheap at the drug store too. –  Jim McKeeth Aug 1 '09 at 1:19
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Unplug the KB immediately. Use a thin instrument to gently but firmly start popping keys from numeric keypad and work your way left. When you've removes all the keys, soak them and the keyboard in warm soapy water. After a good long soak, pull everything out of the water and allow to dry completely. (This is very important!) the keyboard itself will take quite some time to dry out and may need the assistance of a hair dryer of fan.

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@Krish It's not like the whole thing, just the numeric keypad... –  leeand00 Jul 31 '09 at 14:02
    
I had same experience then i did same thing...sorry remove only numeric key –  joe Jul 31 '09 at 14:05
    
Be careful what you disassemble. It might not go back together the same way. –  bobobobo Jul 31 '09 at 14:19
    
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If you have access to a datacenter "machine room", with a big A/C unit pushing air into a raised floor plenum: After you clean the keyboard, open up the raised floor and put your keyboard right under the blowing air conditioner. It's a great source of high-volume dry air.

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up vote 0 down vote accepted

Well thanks for all the answers, but what I ended up doing was drying off the keyboard and continuing to press the keys as usual. It seems to work fine now. Go figure.

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