Cleaning a keyboard

I’d been having some trouble with the left Alt and Windows key on my keyboard sticking the last few weeks.  That’s trouble in programs like Pro Tools where those keys can be very useful.  I got some compressed air and tried blowing out whatever dirt was in there, but it didn’t help.  So I decided to pop off the keys to see if I could clean out the keyboard a bit and fix the problem.  That’s when the disgusting fun began!

I began on the bottom left, since that’s where they keys were sticking.  What I saw shouldn’t have, but still somehow did, surprise me.


The joys of cat ownership. And eating at my desk.

Sensing this was just the tip of the gross iceburg, I began prying off all of the other keys.


Mmm, is that coffee? Notice the smudgy goodness, too.

There was a mixture of cat hair, dust, and what seemed to be some curry or maybe dried tea or coffee.  Either way, it was pretty gross.  I wound up soaking the keys in warm water and then taking a cloth to each one to wipe off the stubborn filth.  And boy, was it stubborn.  And filthy.


Keyboard soup!

When all was said and done, many Q-Tips and a dirty washcloth later, I was left with a clean-as-new keyboard and this pile of whatsit:


Whatsit, hairball style.

Lesson learned:  Don’t go 7-ish years without cleaning your keyboard.  And for goodness’ sake, wash your hands now and then before using the computer.


  1. That is beyond gross Mike. I use a clorox wipe on my keyboard from time to time and try to keep all food away from the computer.

    Hope your computer is feeling better now!


  2. Haha thanks! Yeah, I wipe it off from time to time, but that doesn’t keep the grime from building up! I bet if you popped off your keys, you’d find similar treasures. Maybe less if you don’t have pets.

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