I always wash my hands before using my computer, but after 2.5 years the keys have started getting a little greasy from my finger oils. What is the best way to clean this?
EDIT: Clarification - it's a laptop.
Diluted Isopropyl alcohol on a cloth is the best for removing oils and grease. Try to buy it pre-diluted or dilute it yourself using demineralised water. Never use it non-diluted as the alcohol can damage the plastic. 50% is probably the maximum safe mix, 30% Isopropyl alcohol or less on more sensitive surfaces.
Don't use a dishwasher unless you're prepared to lose the keyboard. Every model is different and some have exposed electircal surfaces that if not dried perfectly will short circuit the keyboard.
The easiest way is to run it in the dishwasher.
There's a YouTube video demonstrating this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F_uCvGYherU
Even Jeff Atwood mentions it: http://www.codinghorror.com/blog/archives/001115.html
The video shows the keyboard going in whole - I remove the keys first and put them in the little things holder in our dishwasher - this helps the drying time.
I found the new pledge wipes (looks like kid diaper wipes, but treated with pledge, the electronics one works best) work great on my laptop.
edit... Here is what I am talking about: link text
Perhaps I'm in the minority, but my cleaning process involves simply discarding my existing, nasty keyboard, then cracking open up a new one. The same follows with mice.
Of course, this requires you to have a small stock of keyboards and mice on hand... but they're cheap, so long as you don't need the ultra cool ones. A $10 Microsoft Natural with volume control is all I need.
No, it doesn't have all the crazy buttons... but you can't beat its best feature: it's dispoable!
Since its for a laptop, remove the keyboard. I've done it a lot of time and its remarkably simple.
You have to unscrew some screws to get it out, but (depending on the model) its actually easy to snap/unsnap the keyboard. Just be careful you do not pull the keyboard cable too hard.
Once remove, just clean it with a cloth or cotton swabs.
If you do not want to use alcohol you can always use dish detergent. Pour hot water into a bowl, add some dish detergent into it and soak some cloth with it and wring it out. Wipe your keyboard with the cloth and dry it with a towel. You can use some q-tips to clean the dirt between the keys.
Since laptops are made to be used outside of the usual office environments, they tend to get dirty much more quickly than their desktop counterparts. The keyboards in particular are delicate and should be kept clean to ensure proper operation. - extracted from article How To Clean A Laptop Keyboard
Please read their informative article published in How To Clean Stuff. The comprehensive article will show you:
Alternatively use the Muc-Off Rescue Kit which claims to remove dust, dirt, grime, fingerprints & oily residue to kill 99% of germs.
I generally recommend any plastic safe electronics cleaner.
Moisten a cleaning cloth (preferably lint free) with it and clean the keys.
You could also use isopropyl alcohol, or any plastic-safe residue free cleaner.
WD-40. If its good enough to clean my engine, its good enough for my keyboard too.
Hint: apply with a soft cloth.
Disclaimer: careful not to drip it into your laptop ... take the keyboard out first.