What is the best way to decontaminate a keyboard?

I am recovering from a One Person Pity Party brought on by my first cold in about 2 years. I don’t need my husband to get sick. The kids I can handle, but my husband…it won’t do. We have German relations landing this week for two weeks of fun. Sickness is not an option.

How in the heck do I decontaminate my keyboard?

Sequential with this thread, until this posting:

“Better than an orgasm? Really?!? (TMI, maybe)”

Fire. And a bio-hazard suit.

Seriously, I am also seeking some ideas on this as my mouse/PS2 gamepad and keyboard are extremely dirty. I am thinking of some spray-disinfectant which you may find at pharamcies…

I fine it velly interesting that the google ads are showcasing German Shepards.

I’m a bit aprehensive to use lysol to de-germ everything as I am afraid of it gumming everything up.

Rubbing alcohol with a q-tip works very well. Is a bit time consuming, but gets all the little nasties out. I have a wireless, so I just swing it around and the crumbs come out. I did though purchase a “keyboard cleaning kit” which consisted of a bottle of rubbing alcohol and a “specially designed” spongy like thing to get between the keys. Kinda looks like a big q-tip. Imagine!
You could always pry off all the keys and soak them in a bleach solution…

I use those Lysol or equivalent disinfectant wipes.

The key to cleaning your keyboard is NOT to spray anything directly on it. Always spray your cleaning solution onto a cloth or q-tip or whatever and use that to wipe the keyboard.

Believe me… I know from personal experience.

It should be safe to spray (or squirt) pure isopropyl alcohol directly, as long as the computer is turned off and you let it dry before turning it on. I’ve done it to various circuit boards with no ill effect.

I remember some folks used to run their old keyboards through the dishwasher. Seriously. But I’m somewhat dubious about the efficacy of this method with new keyboards, so the advice of the above posters sounds good to me. Especially the “don’t spray directly on kbd” bit.

This depends upon how the keycaps are fitted: some you can remove and replace easily, others you can’t. In the former case, remove the keycaps and apply Amberclense liberally. If you’re just worried about the surface then spray the keyboard with Amberclense and wipe clean. For a deep-down clean, if you live in a soft-water area, run the keyboard under the tap and leave it in the airing cupboard over the weekend.

OTOH it’s a good excuse for a spiffy new keyboard, isn’t it? :smiley:

If you speak to the IT guys at work, they’re quite likely to have many more spare keyboards than they need. Unless they’ve just chucked them all.

Buy a new one :smack:

I’ve done this on a lot of keyboards. There’s a few important things you need to remember.

  1. Make sure you wrap up the cord so that it can’t get tangle in the dishwasher’s moving parts
  2. Don’t use soap.
  3. Obligatory “Hi Opal!” goes here
  4. If the dishwasher has a heat dry option, disable it (often this is labled as “power saver dry” or some such, which you ENABLE to turn the heat off). The heat dry part is usually a big heating element that basically turns the dishwasher into a miniature oven to dry your dishes. You can melt or warp the keyboard’s plastic if it’s too hot.
  5. Make sure you let it dry for a couple of days before using it again

Works wonders, and its a heck of a lot easier than disassembling a keyboard to clean out all the crumbs.

umm-----wouldn’t it be easier to buy a new one for $9.99? (gee…, think of the expense! Ten bucks, every time your relatives come from Germany after someone in the family was sick )

Bolding mine.

Was I the only one who initally read this and though, “Oh, so THAT’s what you call it when you catch a cold in this manner.” :eek: hubbahubbahubba.

I don’t know about the OP, but some of us like to spend a bit more than $9.99 for a piece of hardware we interact with several hours a day.

I’ve done this on a lot of keyboards. There’s a few important things you need to remember.

Doesn’t the water ruin the insides?

For the OP, maybe. But then, what do you do with the old one? Give it a wash and stick it up in the closet in case the new one breaks.

For me though, Mrs Geek and the Geeklings are good at filling their keyboards with crumbs and occasionally spilling things into them as well. I just keep a rotation of keyboards on hand. When they muck one up, I take a clean one off of the pile and put the dirty one in the dirty pile. If the clean pile runs low I run the dirty ones through the dishwasher.

I’ve actually gotten a few really nice keyboards this way too. At work a couple of years ago they bought a bunch of new computers. They weren’t more than a week old before one of my cow-orkers dropped his coffee in his. IT didn’t mess with it. They just replaced it and tossed the old one out in the trash. I took it home, ran it through the dishwasher, and essentially had a brand new keyboard for free. This was a really nice keyboard too, not a $10 cheapie.

Plus, if I can keep one more piece of junk out of the land fill I feel like I’m doing my little bit for the environment. I hate to throw something out if it can be made useful.

Nope. The water from the dishwasher is fairly warm and evaporates fairly quickly. Constant exposure to water would certainly ruin the electrical contacts inside, but a quick dunk doesn’t bother it. You just have to make sure to let it completely dry before you plug it into the computer again.

Excellent! I’ve got a coke ruined keyboard I’m going to try this on.

Can you do the same for mice? What other stuff that can never get wet can you actually clean in the dishwasher?

If the water is hard water, you can get calcium deposits left behind, which is bad.