In the Forums...
Posted: July 21, 2000
Written By: Keith "Farrel" McClellan
There are several ways to clean a keyboard. If it is simply getting clogged up with dust, hair, and other various airborne particles, you can use a screwdriver to remove a few keys from each side of the keyboard and then use the can of compressed air to blow all of the stray particles out of the keyboard. Just be forewarned - it is difficult to pry out large keys such as the shift keys and the spacebar without breaking them, so you probably should probably stick to the smaller keys. To remove a key easily, pry upward gently until the keys pops loose.
If you have spilled 'sticky stuff' into the keyboard or some of the keys are still somehow obstructed or sticking after you have tried using the above keyboard cleaning method, your next option is to remove the screws from the back of the keyboard and fully disassemble the keyboard. After you have removed the plastic molding from around the keyboard, simply remove all of the keys from the front of the keyboard (much easier now) and take a damp cloth and wipe down the plastic covered PCB inside the keyboard as well as the key mounts.
If the keys themselves need cleaning, Dan tells me that you can put all of them in an old stocking and throw them in the washing machine with your clothes (remember to tie a knot in the open end, of course). Then reassemble the keyboard, making sure to put all of the keys back in the right place. If you can't remember exactly where all of the keys go on your keyboard, or you don't have a second keyboard to use as a reference, make sure you take a photograph of the keyboard before you start the cleaning process or you diagram where they go, so you can make sure you put all of the keys back in the right place.
Dan has already covered this subject in his excellent Mouse Tweaking Guide, but I will briefly cover the subject here as well, including some information on cleaning optical mice. Cleaning out the ball tracks on a traditional mouse is a simple endeavor - you simply remove the ball and either scrape the tracks (they are little plastic cylinders) clean or use a q-tip dipped in alcohol to remove the dirt and grime.
If you have a wheel mouse and you find that the wheel just isn't responding like it used to, or the mouse buttons are sticking, you can disassemble the mouse using a screwdriver to clean it. While you have the mouse open, clean out the button connectors, the wheel axis supports, etc., using a q-tip and some alcohol. If the wheel and/or mouse ball feel a bit oily, you can run them under hot water and use dish soap on them to remove some of the grime.