If it’s good enough for your kitchen floor, it’s good enough for your keyboard – right? We headed off to our local Tesco’s to see what general domestic cleaning products we could grab to disinfect our mucky QWERTY keys.
When buying household cleaners, make sure you avoid ones which contain acid or bleach. Ideally, you want a non-corrosive antibacterial product such as Dettox Surface Spray. A lot of people turn to Acetone for cleaning surfaces too (most often sold as nail varnish remover) – but be very careful of this as it can damage plastics so we wouldn’t recommend its use. Whichever cleaner you decide on, test it on the underside of the keyboard first to make sure that it’s non-destructive.
A regular brush (or even a fine hair brush) is excellent start at getting rid of the dust and dirt inside your keyboard. Flip it upside down and run the brush all around the keys – across and then up and down. Give the keyboard a shake as well and this should dislodge even some of the built up grime.
Left: before; Right: after
Don’t be too firm though as keys can be damaged and will fall off – sometimes beyond repair if you have sprung loaded keys. A hoover can help suck some of this dirt up too, but the same rules apply – push too hard or catch a key and you might end up damaging it, so use the brush attachment if you have one.
Once you’ve got rid of the loose dirt, you need to deal with the grime. A multi-surface antibacterial spray should be moist enough to dislodge this, whilst killing any bacteria (make sure the keyboard’s off when doing this). A lint-free cloth will make sure that no fluff is left behind. This will get rid of most of the dirt on the surface, but isn’t going to do you much good when it comes to the side of the keys. This is where a cotton bud comes in handy- you can use it to rub along the side of each key individually.
Although this method can be effective, it’s by no means quick. Also, using a cloth and cotton bud tends to just push the dirt around rather than remove it completely. However, as you can see from the pictures the results aren't too bad and the more time you spend on it, the better it will look.
Verdict: Not a bad way to clean your keyboard, particularly if you already have the materials at home. It’s slow going though.
Cyber Clean is pitched as a “high-tech cleaning compound” that looks like that funky putty that makes a fart sound when you squeeze it. It’s also got the appearance of something we’d never ever want to put our hands on and that any roving two year olds would want to instantly devour. However, it’s apparently the ultimate in keyboard cleaning products.
To use it, you have to apply the Cyber Clean putty directly to the keyboard and give it a good wibble around. The putty shapes itself around the keys, picking up any dirt. This is then absorbed back into the antibacterial putty – crazy! The putty is reusable and the colour changes to a dark green when it reaches the end of its life.
Left, the Cyber Clean goo; Right: after we'd cleaned the keyboard with it
We were very sceptical about this product, but it pulled out all sorts of dirt, fluff and hair from under our keys and even removed some of the built up dirt on the keys itself. We don’t think it’s enough to completely de-mankify a keyboard, but it’s really good for preventative maintenance. Roll this over your keyboard every few days and it should stay looking pretty sparkly.
Verdict:We think £8 is a fairly reasonable price and it’s both much more effective than the canned air and quicker than just using household cleaning products. It’s also about as fun as cleaning products get, so if you can put up with the odd smell it leaves on your hands, then it gets our recommendation.