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Possible Duplicate:
How to clean a keyboard

I have a bunch of sticky keys from a coffee spill months ago. What is the best way to clean up?

What brand of alcohol should I use and do I have to remove every key or can I just dip the keyboard into a solution?

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marked as duplicate by allquixotic, Tanner Faulkner, haimg, Dennis, soandos Jan 18 '13 at 0:43

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.

Laptop or desktop system? – Dave M Jan 17 '13 at 20:52
desktop system. – colleen wilson Jan 17 '13 at 21:35

Disassemble the keyboard, removing the electronics. Wash every other piece thoroughly. Reassemble after fully dry.

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Given the cost of keyboards in most places, I would suggest replacement.

If it is a laptop then you need to do as suggested by @Ignacio Vazquez-Abrams. And do it very carefully.

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If it's a laptop, I'd suggest replacement (of the keyboard). They're too difficult to clean properly. – Ignacio Vazquez-Abrams Jan 17 '13 at 19:56

You could go Ignacio's way which may be the best (but lengthy).

Instead I would probably do this:

1) Buy lots of Isopropyl Alcohol 91%+ (Available at most gas stations in the US).

2) Thoroughly wash the keyboard with said Isopropyl Alcohol

3) Get a lot of rice

4) Fill an area with that rice, just a thin layer would be fine (perhaps a cardboard box base)

5) Set the keyboard lightly in it and let it sit a day or so. (Obviously don't submerge, that would be counter productive)

Isopropyl will evaporate very quickly and the rice should absorb any remaining moisture.

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Is the rice still consumable afterwards, either as food or as a homeopathic remedy? Just curious. – Snesticle Jan 17 '13 at 20:15
@Snesticle I wouldn't consider it safe to eat anything that had been exposed to isopropyl alcohol. – Michael Hampton Jan 17 '13 at 20:42
@Snesticle - Haha, perhaps if you're desperately attempting to lower the grey matter in someone. :) – nerdwaller Jan 17 '13 at 21:16

You can use soap and water on all of the non-conductive pieces, but I would recommend rubbing/isopropyl alcohol. You will have to remove every piece and wait until fully dry before reassembly, but that should take care of any residual java juice.

With newer keyboards, they have stated they are dishwasher safe. WARNING: make sure EVERY piece of electronic is out before trying this one.

As for a brand, I usually just grab whatever's cheapest.

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Unless this keyboard is a custom style (gaming, split hand, etc) I would suggest just replacing it. The cost of a new USB keyboard can be below $10US. Compared to the cost of purchasing alcohol and the time spent disassembling, cleaning and reassembling the keyboard, I think it would be well worth the price. Search sites like Amazon, NewEgg or Ebay for cheap keyboards.

If it's a special/non-replaceable keyboard, or you are set on going with the cleaning method, keep these tips in mind. Isopropyl alcohol is only really necessary if you are not going to remove all of the electronics first (because the alcohol is less likely to damage them). If you are using it, you should aim for high % of alcohol (90% or greater, the rest is water). This can be found in most drugstores or grocers with a personal care section.

If you are going to remove the electronics, you can wash using water and mild detergent, as long as you dry it thoroughly before reassembling. The suggested rice method is a good way to remove the water quickly. After removing the electronics, whether you decide to remove all the keys is up to you, but it would get cleaner with them removed. Use caution with large keys such as the space bar, shift and enter, as these often have springs or support bars that can be bent or broken if not removed carefully.

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