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How To Clean Keyboard Keycaps


Are you feeling disgusted looking at your keyboard’s dirty keycaps but don’t know how to clean them? Cleaning filthy keyboard keycaps may appear to be complicated, but this is not true. It is a simple process with promising results in the end.

Quick Answer

To clean keyboard keycaps, unplug the keyboard from the computer. Remove all the keycaps by using a keycap puller. Soak them in soapy water for 30-60 minutes. Afterwards, rinse the keycaps and let them dry for 24 hours before inserting them back into the keyboard.

This article will guide you through cleaning the keyboard keycaps with step-by-step instructions. We have also discussed how often we need to clean the keyboard keycaps.

Cleaning Keyboard Keycaps

If you don’t know how to clean the keyboard keycaps, our two step-by-step methods will help you do this task easily.

Method #1: Washing the Keycaps

You can soak your keyboard keycaps in soapy water to make them clean. Here is the complete method of performing this task quickly and conveniently.

Step #1: Taking A Picture of the Keycaps

Before taking out the keycaps of the keyboard, take a picture of the keyboard so that after cleaning, you know where the keys will go back in. You can also find an image on the internet of your keyboard model.

Step #2: Disconnecting the Keyboard

Disconnect the keyboard by unplugging it from the USB port of the computer. If you have an old computer model, the keyboard will be plugged into the purple-colored PS/2 port. In this case, turn your PC off and disconnect the keyboard from the PS/2 port. 

Step #3: Removing the Keycaps

Instead of using a plastic keycap puller or screwdriver, use a wire keycap puller to remove the keycaps.


You can also remove keycaps by hand. Removing large keycaps like Shift, Spacebar, or Enter is not recommended because they have internal connections that can damage them while pulling. You can use a wet cloth to clean these keycaps gently.

Step #4: Soaking the Keycaps

In the next step, add soap or dishwashing liquid to lukewarm water and completely submerge the keycaps with your hands in the solution. The keycaps should be soaked for 30 minutes to 1 hour, depending on how dirty they are. 

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Please do not use bleach to clean the keycaps because it can fade the plastic color

Step #5: Cleaning the Keyboard Surface

While the keycaps are soaking in water, clean your keyboard surface by brushing the dust, grime, or debris from it. Next, use a slightly dampened cloth to wipe off the remains and air dry the keyboard surface. 

Step #6: Washing and Drying the Keycaps

After the keycaps have soaked for 30-40 minutes, take them out and rinse them with water. If you see any stubborn stains, use a toothbrush to clean them off. After rinsing, spread the keycaps on a towel upside down so they are dried entirely from the inside.

Let the keycaps air dry for up to 24 hours, so even the smallest amount of moisture dries out. If the keys are not dry completely and you insert them back into the keyboard, water can seep into the keyboard and cause damage.

Step #7: Inserting the Keycaps

Open the picture you captured in the first step. Now start matching and inserting the keycaps back in the same direction as before.

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Step #8: Connecting the Keyboard

Connect the keyboard to the computer by plugging the keyboard’s wire into the computer’s USB port. If you have an old computer model, connect the keyboard with the PS/2 connector of the computer.  

Method #2: Cleaning Laptop Keyboard Keycaps

For cleaning a built-in laptop keyboard, you can use cleaning gel or slime in the following way. 

  1. Press the cleaning gel on the keycaps of the keyboard and the space between the keys. 
  2. The dirt particles and debris will stick to the gel as you keep pressing it against the keycaps.
  3. After cleaning the keycaps with the gel, use a soft towel/cloth for the final touch.
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How Often Should I Clean the Keyboard Keycaps?

It would be best if you consider cleaning the keyboard keycaps with a disinfectant every week. However, deep cleaning is recommended once a month.  

Weekly cleaning is essential if you work long hours on the computer or share your keyboard with someone else. This maintenance schedule will help prevent the transmission of germs and will remove the grease, dirt, or food particles from the keycaps.

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To clean the keyboard keycaps every week, spray the disinfectant on the microfiber cloth and rub the cloth on the key for about one minute.

The keyboard keycaps need a deep clean after a month or several weeks. We have explained a complete method to deep clean keyboard keycaps above.  


You can also use a hand vacuum to clean the keyboard surface after dipping the keycaps in soapy water.


In this guide on cleaning keyboard keycaps, we looked into two different methods to do this task; by dipping the desktop computer keycaps in soapy water or removing the dirt on a laptop keyboard with a cleaning gel. We have also discussed how often you should clean your keyboard and the keycaps.

Hopefully, your keyboard is new and shiny now and functions correctly without any typing errors.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do you clean the keyboard under the keys?

You can clean the keyboard under the keys by using clear tape. Take an inch of tape and rub the sticky side between and around a keycap. Rub it back and forth to clean the keys. Take it out and repeat the same steps for cleaning all the keys.

How do you clean oily keycaps?

For cleaning oily keycaps, use a small quantity of isopropyl alcohol (91-99%). Dip a cotton swab in the solution and use it to clean the keycaps. Keep changing the swab after cleaning a few keys. It is recommended to test the isopropyl alcohol by spraying it on a spare keycap as it has a slight tendency to damage your keyboard keycaps.

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