How to Wash a Keyboard

Step 1:
Remove the screws securing the bottom shell to the topshell of the keyboard case. This keyboard has eight screws, but your keyboard may have more.

Lift off the bottom shell. Be careful in case the shell halves have plastic tabs holding them together. Some cases may come apart easier if opened like a clamshell from either the top or the bottom edge.



Step 2:
Remove the screws securing the status lights board, the circuit board, and the metal backing plate.



Step 3:
Flip the status lights board and circuit board up so you can remove the metal backing plate. Do not disconnect the ribbon cables or the keyboard cable.



Step 4:
Remove the metal backing plate and carefully remove the plastic sheet with the circuit traces. Set both carefully aside.



Step 5:
Lift away the rubber membrane. (This membrane is what gives the keys their return bounce.)

You will be left with the keyboard topshell and its keys.



Step 6:
Using a pair of needle-nose pliers, gently squeeze the plastic tabs that keep each key from falling out of the keyboard. Squeeze and pop each key out the top side of the keyboard shell.



Step 7:
Longer keys, such as the Spacebar and/or Shift keys, may have a metal or (as in this case) plastic stabilizer clip. Carefully separate the clip from the key, then remove the key.

This illustration shows one already-removed Shift key on a paper towel near the other Shift key to more clearly show where the stabilizer bar clips into the bottom of the key.



Step 8:
The separated keys and topshell are now ready to be washed.

My method for washing is to fill the kitchen sink with hot water and a little dish detergent, then dunk the plastic topshell and keys, and let them soak awhile.

(WARNING: Be careful not to remove the sink stopper or you may lose keys down the drain!)

If it is filthy, you may also soak the rubber membrane.

Usually, soaking and rinsing will get all parts clean, though an old toothbrush may help clean gunk out of any crevices.



Step 9:

After rinsing, pat all parts dry with a towel, then let them sit for several hours to thoroughly dry.



Step 10:

Once all parts are dry, reassemble the keyboard.

Reassemble the keys by pressing them back into place through the top of the shell. Then reattach any clips on the long keys.

Carefully align the rubber membrane in place over the bottom side of the keys. Then carefully remount the plastic circuit trace sheet and metal bottom plate, aligning them on the plastic guide posts.

Insert the screws securing the metal bottom plate, then flip down the circuit board and status lights board and screw them into place.

Reattach the bottom shell.



author: Dan Goodell
last revised: 11/24/2016