You likely use your keyboard every day. Whether you’re typing up documents, playing games, or just surfing the web, your keyboard is integral to using your laptop or computer. While you’re constantly banging your fingers down on the keys or simply tapping them softly, they’re bound to end up with a bit of grime and dirt beneath them. It might not be your fault. You might be shoving it in dirty places, not using it and having it pick up dust, or just using it with dirty fingers. It happens to the best of us. However, the worst thing that can occur when this happens is that you end up with sticky keys.

Sticky keys can lead to having buttons that don’t work or buttons that are hard to push down because of what’s underneath them. This is super annoying, so you might be wondering how to clean your keys and fix them. There are a few things that you can try to do to get rid of sticky keys. Here are a few suggestions.

Fixing your Sticky Keys

All of these suggestions require you to have a keyboard that is not attached to a power source. If you’re using a desktop then you can merely unplug the keyboard from the computer. If you’re using a laptop and turn the laptop off and disconnected from a charger.

Using Compressed Air

This is one of the first things that you might want to try. Compressed air is usually purchased in a small canister that you spray like you would air freshener. It’s air that is kept under a pressure that is greater than atmospheric pressure, and this allows you to be able to spray it outward. Aim the compressed air at an angle at your problem keys on your keyboard. This air is powerful enough to push any grime that may be causing your keys to be sticky out from underneath the key.

Because you want to dislodge the grime from underneath it without taking off the keys, this is one of the easiest things for you to try. If your keyboard isn’t horrible, then this should work if you have minimal amount of stickiness.

Using Cotton Swabs and Some Light Cleaner

If air isn’t enough to dislodge the stickiness on your keyboard, then you can use a cotton swab and some cleaner. You’ll want to be careful so that you don’t mess up your keyboard. This means don’t drench your keyboard in cleaner or roughly jam the cotton swabs underneath the keys. Here’s what you want to do.

1. First, gather some cotton swabs.

2. Then, see what you have laying around your house to use as cleaner. You can usually safely use rubbing alcohol or dish soap.

3. Now, pour some of the cleaner into a cup and mix a tiny bit of water into it. This dilutes the cleaner into something safe for your keyboard.

4. Dampen the cotton swab with the cleaner.

5. After you damp in the cotton swab, run it along the edges of your sticky keys. Do this for each one until they are no longer sticky. You might need to press the button down while you’re cleaning it just to help dislodge the grime underneath.

Using Water and a Damp Towel

If your entire keyboard is kind of sticky because you spilled something on it, then it can be very tedious to use a cotton swab on every single key. To avoid how tedious that is, you can be safe using water and a towel. Dampen the towel with the water and run the towel across your keyboard a few times. Be wary of catching any of the keys and pulling them up. You might need to do this a few times just because you might miss a few specific problem keys during a general wipe down of your keyboard. Make sure you press down all of the keys on your keyboard when you’re done just to ensure that you cleaned all of them. This might be a great method to use with the compressed air so you can dislodge the grime and then use the damp towel to wipe up anything that loosens.

Removing your Keys

If you want, you can remove the keys from your keyboard. The issue with this is that you can’t just yank up your keys. You often need a keycap puller, which you’ll need to purchase. If you don’t want to purchase this, then you can often use floss to pull the keys up safely. This isn’t a great method to use for a laptop just because you will need to read the manual and see the specific instructions for the make and model of your keyboard. You also need to take a picture of your keyboard before you do all this so that you can place the keys back on it properly. If you do choose this method, individually clean under every single one of the keys and replace the keys as you go so that you don’t have a huge mess.

Whichever method that you use, just make sure that your keyboard isn’t being damaged by any liquid. You might benefit from remembering that, while you’re using a liquid cleaner with an electronic, less is better when it comes to cleaner.