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Tips for getting latte or soda out of your keyboard? (Microsoft Ergonomic Keyboard 4000)

I spilled Dr Pepper in my Das Keyboard. They are emphatic about not trying to remove the keys lest you break the mechanism. Any ideas on a way to clean out the sticky residue?

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migrated from Dec 28 '10 at 22:22

This question came from our site for professional and enthusiast programmers.

marked as duplicate by digitxp, random Dec 30 '10 at 0:51

This question has been asked before and already has an answer. If those answers do not fully address your question, please ask a new question. says

How to clean a Das Keyboard

Besides being a typing machine, keyboards have a tendency to attract dust, crumbs and stuff. Let's call it DCS - that’s the technical term. From time to time, your keyboard will need a little cleaning.


  • To clean the enclosure and the top of the keys, use a slightly humid, 100% cotton cloth (like an old t-shirt) or -- even better -- a microfiber cloth. If your keyboard is especially dirty, you can use a drop of isopropyl alcohol or a tiny, little drop of diluted liquid soap. Don't apply undiluted soap or alcohol directly on the cloth.
  • Remove the small key caps(e.g. letters, numbers, not the space bar, return, etc...).
  • Place the keyboard upside-down and shake it so the DCS falls out from between the keys.
  • Use a brush and compressed air (don't shake the can) to remove the DCS.
  • You can also disassemble the enclosure for better access but this will void the warranty.


So now you know the do's. Here are the don’ts. These will void the warranty for sure.

  • Don't remove the large key caps, because they are extremely hard to put back in place.
  • Don't immerse the keyboard in a liquid.
  • While dishwashers serve a good cause, they are not recommended for our keyboards.

If that is insufficient, there is sticky residue in places you can't reach with a q-tip / cotton bud and you are exceptionally brave, you could try this - But only if you are ready to buy a new keyboard.

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My opinion, having worked with electronics over 20 years, is that the 'no immersion' rule applies to any device likely to contain a battery or be plugged into the wall. Accordingly, the keyboard uniquely seems to not qualify. Though I've not practiced this, if there is some syrupy residue on a keyboard, I think rinsing it under hot water would be just fine, since there are no 'hot' wires in the normal use of the keyboard.

By 'hot' I mean A/C or any potential short-circuit to a battery. There are some keyboards, including the one I use now, that rely on batteries -- in which case, I DO NOT RECOMMEND splashing copious water amongst the keys. However, if your keyboard lacks the batteries, give it a spin.

A dishwasher is definitely overkill though. And putting it in the dryer will be sure to scare the bejesus out of the cat.

I recommend at least a 24 hour drying period -- more if it is humid or cold where you are drying the keyboard. I give no warranty to this advice -- and it is worth exactly as much as you paid for it. Use at your own risk. May void warranty of manufacturer. RTFM. Vaya con dios.

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Would there be concern of corrosion if I used water? – Joren Dec 28 '10 at 22:48
@Joren The corrosion itself shouldn't be a problem. To use water for a few minutes wouldn't cause much corrosion. Also, you should associate your account on SU with your SO account, so you can take control over the question. If you can't do it yourself, flag the question and ask for help from moderators. – AndrejaKo Dec 28 '10 at 23:02
I can testify that I've twiced cleaned logitech keyboards in the shower with verifying degrees of success. One worked perfectly thereafter, while the other had a few quirks for the remainder of its life. Other than the items others already mentioned (making sure there's no internal battery), I think the most important thing is that it's 100% dry prior to plugging it back in. – Uninspired Dec 28 '10 at 23:09

I used dishwasher method many many times on all kinds of keyboards. I don' know how Das Keyboard works inside, but I'll provide some information on the dishwasher method, so you can determine if it's applicable.

Basically, inside simple cheap keyboards, you have plastic case which, a simple printed circuit board, several sandwiched plastic sheets with conductors which connect to the PCB and a piece of rubber which goes between keys and plastic sheets. Plastic sheets are often wended together.

The idea is to put the plastic case inside the dishwasher and wash it. I often clean the PCB itself with alcohol. Plastic sheets may be washed in dishwasher, but they should be left todry or they can work incorrectly. Since only the top sheet is exposed to elements, I usually clean only the top sheet with alcohol, since it evaporates quickly.

The "rubber" part often looks to weak to me for dishwasher, so I clean it with warm water and then leave it to dry.

The whole point of my exposition here is that the main damage which can be caused by dishwasher isn't to electrical components but is simply mechanical damage.

I've read this post and it seems that Das Keyboard is internally very different from classical keyboards. There is a picture of keyboard without key caps. To me it seems that the best way to clean the soda would be to detach the top part of the keyboard from the rest of the keyboard and only wash the top part in warm water or something similar. The downside is that you can easily wash away any lubricants that may have been used in the key assembly. Still, I believe that it is preferable to soda residue inside key mechanism. It is also possible that PCB will get wet, so you should let the keyboard dry in such position that air can circulate through the gap between keyboard and top part. Also, it would be smart to turn the keyboard few times while drying and to shake it few times because water can get into the small gaps between mechanical elements and stay there for some time.

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That link is great. Taking it apart definitely seems to be the best options. Thanks! – Joren Dec 28 '10 at 23:35

Is the USB port replicator and LED lights still working correctly? This could at least help you determine if you will need a new one. Also I have had luck with keyboard on side and air fan on it for the night. Probably wont help with sticky thou...

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Yeah the keyboard works fine, but the windows and shift keys are a bit sticky and it actually tires out my pinky. :( – Joren Dec 28 '10 at 22:47
@Joren The sticky problem is most likely going to get worse. Dust can collect to soda residue and at one point, key may even jam in one position. – AndrejaKo Dec 28 '10 at 23:08

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