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If your keyboard’s got that one (or more) key that sticks, crunches, or won’t bounce back after being pressed, it may be time for a deep clean. Same goes for your mouse. If your cursor is getting stuck on screen, it’s not always your computer’s fault — your mouse could be due for a little TLC.
Cleaning your laptop, keyboard and mouse isn’t just helpful for regular upkeep, it also helps prevent the spread of germs and bacteria. You don’t need to run a full-powered cleaning kit either; just a few little accessories could make a big difference.
How to Clean Your Computer Keyboard
We’re all guilty of eating at our workstations, sometimes even while working. But with time, crumbs accumulate between the keys, as well as dust and general nastiness from spills and various schmutz. The first step to dislodging all that dust is to simply shake it off: Turn your keyboard a little over 90 degrees upwards, so that the bottom edge below the spacebar is now against the table or desk, and gently tap it against the surface, knocking loose the remnants of a thousands snacks from the past months or years.
Canned air, or one of its equivalents, can really be a huge help to get in there between the keys and blast out the leftover dirt that wasn’t shaken loose too.
Once the insides have been aired out, grab a microfiber cloth to clean the keys themselves, because all those times you’ve typed with chip-dust on your fingers add up. Water works well, but if you want to step up the cleaning power with a DIY concoction, you can mix one part water with one part vinegar, or water with a bit of dish soap (just make sure to unplug your keyboard or turn off your computer beforehand).
To really kill anything living on your keys though, you can mix two parts water with one part rubbing alcohol – but if you’re going that route, be sure to use at least 70% or pure isopropyl. Whatever you decide to do, don’t overspray it – a little liquid on the cloth is okay, but getting any between the keys and into the electronics is something to avoid at all costs.
Finally, dive into every crevasse with a cotton swab or specially-designed brush, scooping up any stubborn particles that remain, while drying and absorbing any leftover liquid.
How to Clean Your Computer Mouse
Mice are a bit easier to clean – a swab or brush can be handy to clean the little laser tracker or ball on the underside, and a similar, gentle wipe-down with a microfiber cloth all-around will do just fine.
But to take things a step further and really do an intensely deep clean, we’ve picked out four additional tools to help keep your workstation tidy and debris-free. At the end of the day, clean gear runs better, and lasts longer, ultimately saving you money in the long term.
1. ColorCoral Keyboard Cleaning Gel
Who ever thought dusting could be kind of fun? This gel does the job of removing crud from between your keys, and is reusable over and over. Simply squish the pad into your keyboard, getting its goopy gel between each and every space, and be amazed (and maybe a little grossed out) at what it picks up.
Not only is it satisfying to use, and like a mini-stress ball with each squeeze, it also smells great and is made of biodegradable material.
This goes beyond just keyboards though, and the opportunities for picking up dust and dirt are all around: use it on TVs, stereos, vents, ACs, car cupholders and controls — really any surface, since it won’t leave a slimy residue behind. It also works great for picking up pet fur, crumbs, hair, and any other nasty debris in hard to reach spots.
2. Metro Computer Vacuum/Blower
To really go all-out (or all-in) on cleaning your keyboard, consider this powerful vacuum and blower in one.
At three pounds, it’s lightweight, but probably won’t stray far from your desk anyway. The 19-inch flexible hose makes angling towards any and all keyboard gaps possible, and includes all the necessary tools to really do a deep clean.
On the flipside, you can also blast out the dust too by switching to the blower setting and dislodging stubborn debris that vacuuming couldn’t get. It’s also a nice, (as well as environmentally friendlier) alternative to buying cases of canned air.
This set gets you everything you need to start cleaning out your keyboard and mouse right away.
3. Portable Plastic Handle Nylon Anti Static Brushes
This series of brushes is like an artist’s toolkit, but for cleaning out your keyboard, mouse and even inside your laptop.
The brushes are all anti-static and temperature-resistant, safely designed to not scratch up any parts, and they work well with other electronics too.
The set contains a nice variety of stiff-bristled brushes for sweeping out gunk, as well as tweezers for reaching far back and pulling out the bigger dust bunnies.
Though it can be great for detailed cleaning on its own, it really works best when paired up with an air-blowing product.
4. OXO Good Grips Sweep and Swipe Laptop Cleaner
OXO has been a reliable manufacturer of household cleaning and cooking tools for 30 years, offering well over 1000 products. The company started out designing utensils to be easy to hold, grip, and use efficiently, and this double-sided brush does the job for both keyboards as well as laptop screens.
Both the brush and cloth ends are retractable, easily sliding up or down depending on what you need to clean. The nicely soft brush breezes away dirt, while the microfiber pad can remove smudges and streaks from your screen. When finished, simply retract it back into the center, keeping it protected until the next use.