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Are Keyboards Dishwasher Safe?

Zonk posted more than 6 years ago | from the dishwasher-safe-like-a-fox dept.

Input Devices 534

i_like_spam writes "Computer keyboards are a breeding ground for bacteria. Studies have shown that keyboards often contain more bacteria than toilet seats. Common cleaning methods, such as pressurized-air canisters and damp rags, help remove some of the dirt, but they also leave behind plenty of grime. National Public Radio describes a recent experiment by a reporter who used a dishwasher to clean her keyboard. Following the advice on Plastic Bugs, she placed her keyboard in the top rack, didn't use the heated dry cycle, and air dried the keyboard for a week afterwards. Her keyboard is now squeaky clean and functions perfectly. Has anyone else tried this or any other alternate keyboards cleaning methods? For those not willing to air dry for a week, dishwasher-safe keyboards are now available. Would you ever do this to your peripheral? "

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534 comments

At last! A story *made* for slashdot! (5, Funny)

jthill (303417) | more than 6 years ago | (#19528391)

Post it again in a week!

Re:At last! A story *made* for slashdot! (5, Funny)

qbwiz (87077) | more than 6 years ago | (#19528677)

Ae keboas ishashe safe?

o.

Re:At last! A story *made* for slashdot! (4, Funny)

Anpheus (908711) | more than 6 years ago | (#19528837)

Wow! How many times do you have to refresh the post reply page before you get a captcha you can type?

So cheap (1)

hansamurai (907719) | more than 6 years ago | (#19528399)

Keyboards are so cheap I wouldn't think twice sticking it in the dishwasher if I felt like it. Heck, mine is so nasty I probably should, but I don't really feel like air drying it for a week... might as well buy another 15 dollar Logitech keyboard at that point.

Re:So cheap (1)

Deltaspectre (796409) | more than 6 years ago | (#19528425)

Ah, sounds like you didn't inherit a Model M.

Model M (1, Informative)

Llynix (586718) | more than 6 years ago | (#19528623)

I thankfully did. I can attest that these are somewhat dishwasher safe, however with the rugged yet semi-modular design it isn't exactly necessary. With some patience and soap and water you can take it apart and get it fairly squeaky clean.

I also feel obligated to make a shout out to http://www.clickykeyboards.com/ [clickykeyboards.com] I'm not affiliated with them or anything, but when I emailed to complain about ordering key caps for a couple of keys I'm missing because they require minimum orders they said to just mail them a self addressed envelope.

So if your considering buying what is hands down the best made, most rugged, best and loudest keyboard on the planet please consider them.

Re:So cheap (5, Insightful)

MillionthMonkey (240664) | more than 6 years ago | (#19528563)

I keep holding onto my keyboard because if I buy a new one, some kid in Asia is going to be roasting this one over an open pit coal fire to get the gold out of the capacitors.

Re:So cheap (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19528825)

Not an option if you have a kinesis or any other real ergonomic keyboard.

Shower (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19528405)

I usually just take mine in the shower with me when it gets extra dirty. Give it a thorough rinse and let it sit for a day and it's good to go.

Re:Shower (5, Informative)

NoOnesMessiah (442788) | more than 6 years ago | (#19528695)

I use to shower keyboards all the time, since the late 80s, when they'd been peed on or drooled on by special needs children. Give them an isopropyl alcohol rinse, let'em dry, and you're good to go. Also works with Apple ][ motherboards, joysticks, and the occasional 5-1/4" floppy that had jello shoved inside it (don't ask...). A few rules apply; no mechanical systems (there's a special cleaning solution for those), no power systems, no monitors (unless you LIKE grisly death), no headphones, no speakers, et cetera. Just solid state components and key switches only please. Q-tips, Vaseline, canned air, and isopropyl alcohol are all still tools of the trade. It's amazing what you can do with them even on modern hardware.

Old news (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19528407)

I thought this would be common knowledge among Slashdot readers. This is a pretty old technique.

Bad Idea (2, Funny)

maz2331 (1104901) | more than 6 years ago | (#19528409)

My wife put a keyboard in the dishwasher and killed it dead. Never did work again.

Re:Bad Idea (1)

Ticklemonster (736987) | more than 6 years ago | (#19528493)

I've taken quite a few apart, and put the plastic parts in a dishwasher and washed them, then put it back together again.

Re:Bad Idea (2, Interesting)

coleblak (863392) | more than 6 years ago | (#19528573)

I kind of do the same, though it's more pull off the keys, take off the top unit, then clean the top half of the plastic and maybe the bottom half if it needs it by hand. I can put most of the keys back on from memory but occasionally I just look at another keyboard in the house to get the last few I may not remember goes in what place.
Putting it in whole to a dishwasher just seems to scream bad idea. Who knows what hasn't been properly coated and will end up corroding in some way. Even putting in just the plastic makes me leery. I've seen some extremely hot water in units destroy some pretty sturdy plastic items.

The evils of soap (4, Informative)

Chairboy (88841) | more than 6 years ago | (#19528411)

Contrary to popular belief, water isn't the real danger to the keyboard here, it's soap. The soap is conductive, and if it isn't fully rinsed, could short out contacts and render the keyboard unusable.

So the modified checklist is:
1. Keyboard you can afford to lose.
2. No soap
3. Shake empty of water, then air dry.

Re:The evils of soap (2, Informative)

keithjr (1091829) | more than 6 years ago | (#19528449)

The water isn't going to be distilled, so odds are it is still electrolytic and thus can just as easily bork a keyboard by itself.

The key step (pun intended) is the air drying. As long as the water no longer bridges contacts, you're fine.

Re:The evils of soap (5, Informative)

JesseL (107722) | more than 6 years ago | (#19528683)

I work in electronics manufacturing.

Every printed circuit board we make gets washed in a sink with tap water then dried with compressed air. In over 20 years, it's never been a problem.

It could be more of an issue in places with harder water, but in that case ordinary distilled water would be a poor choice too. You really want deionized water as the ordinary distilled stuff is ridiculously reactive.

Re:The evils of soap (4, Informative)

Mr. Freeman (933986) | more than 6 years ago | (#19528785)

That's because they boards aren't powered when they're washed.

Keyboards are dishwasher safe in the same way that flash drives or these printed circuit board are dishwasher safe.

If they can physically survive being immersed in water (I.E. they don't contain stuff that will dissolve) then the water won't destroy them.

The problem occurs when the keyboard is powered. The water will short every connection in the board and that will cause a very large problem. Someone will probably mention that you could use distilled water to clean it because distilled water won't conduct electricity. However, one website tried running a computer while it was immersed in distilled water. It worked for about 5 minutes and then the water started to dissociate and it shorted the machine out.

Bottom line, if you want to wash your keyboard then just make sure it's dry before you try to use it.

Re:The evils of soap (2, Informative)

aaarrrgggh (9205) | more than 6 years ago | (#19528827)

Compressed air is the key though... not the lack of tap water or soap. Many places use nitrogen instead of compressed air, but either way you have a very clean, dry airstream to clean it.

Re:The evils of soap (2, Interesting)

Doddman (953998) | more than 6 years ago | (#19528491)

so what about something like rubbing alcohol? or hydrogen peroxide? that would kill bacteria AND evaporate pretty quickly

Re:The evils of soap (2, Informative)

rbmorse (833877) | more than 6 years ago | (#19528543)

I follow the dishwasher with an isopropanol rinse and then compressed air, and then give it 24 hours drying time. Never had a problem.

Re:The evils of soap (4, Interesting)

yuda (704374) | more than 6 years ago | (#19528689)

I once accidentally put a USB pendrive through a washing machine cycle (cold with detergent) and dryer (hot spin). I assumed I would have killed it and lost some pretty important work related stuff. But no, after plugging it in a couple of times it mounted perfectly and is still working a year later.

Water = Fine for Electronics (1)

SydShamino (547793) | more than 6 years ago | (#19528691)

Indeed. Until a few years ago, my company (a producer of electronic test and measurement equipment) washed every circuit board we made, just after they were assembled. This was with de-ionized water, and was used to clean the flux off the boards.

We only stopped because using no-clean flux and skipping the wash is cheaper.

Using de-i water might be better, but I've gotten electronics completely drenched before without a problem (car stereo soaked in a rain, digital camera underwater for several hours). In all cases, just making sure they are completely dry before being powered is fine. (Make sure you take the batteries out so asap!)

Re:Water = Fine for Electronics (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19528757)

1) If there is no power, there is no electricity. No electricity, nothing to conduct.
2) De-ionized water doesn't conduct, because it is ... wait for it ... de-ionized. Tap water is not de-ionized.

Re:The evils of soap (2, Interesting)

mnmn (145599) | more than 6 years ago | (#19528741)

I'd question this.

I washed a few keyboards, most notably my IBM Model M.

Some did not quite work well afterwards and the plastic layers with copper encrusted in it must be cleaned carefully and dried. Rust forms on that layer fast (and so water was the more dangerous element in my case). If it is dried quickly enough there's no reason why it should not work.

Re:The evils of soap (2, Funny)

stumblingblock (409645) | more than 6 years ago | (#19528815)

Take it in the shower with me, set on a box fan for several hours to dry. Has worked fine several times.

Yes. (3, Informative)

evanbd (210358) | more than 6 years ago | (#19528415)

I've done this before. You can air dry it for only 24 hours in most climates, and a lot less if you're willing to take it apart after. If you use it before it's fully dry the worst that seems to happen is keys behave weirdly -- if that happens, it's not done drying yet.

At my current job I have access to an ultrasonic alcohol bath cleaner; that was quick and simple, and dried out even faster.

Compressed air nozzles also work well, though that's more for dust and debris and doesn't do much about the grimy stuff.

Slight complication (4, Funny)

rescdsk (34079) | more than 6 years ago | (#19528417)

What about laptops?

Re:Slight complication (5, Funny)

BerkeleyDude (827776) | more than 6 years ago | (#19528575)

Jst tae ot the eyboad, and wash it sepaately.

Bt caefl, thogh - the keys may fall ot, so it's easy to lose them. :(

Re:Slight complication (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19528627)

Well, if this technique works, I don't see any reason why you couldn't disconnect a keyboard from a laptop and do the same thing. It seems like laptop manufacturers are making it harder and harder to do these days though. Still, it's generally not all that difficult if you're comfortable taking things apart.

Re:Slight complication (2, Funny)

Vulva R. Thompson, P (1060828) | more than 6 years ago | (#19528817)

Trust me, it works great! Just put the whole unit (don't forget the power supply and bag) on the top shelf and be sure to use extra soap in the dispenser.

Give it a try tonight and let us know how it worked out.

Re:Slight complication (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19528819)

I left my laptop outside, on during a pretty bad storm cause I got distracted... I took a poo poo in my pants when I realized what I did, ran and grabbed the laptop, took it apart, and let it air dry. (The laptop was open, the rain went straight into the keyboard cracks, the motherboard was soaked).... I decided I should take it apart and let it air dry, I left it for about 48 hours in pieces, put it back together, worked better then before! (the wireless antenna wasn't in right before and by taking it apart and putting it back in fixed the wireless)

I was shocked. Its been about 2 years since I did that... no problems with the laptop ever since. I wasn't really thinking about it at the time, but I guess that ended up giving it a good cleaning! ;)

-UCF Knights

Dunno (1)

artem69 (187604) | more than 6 years ago | (#19528427)

I would not recommend putting your peripheral in a dishwasher. Not as dangerous as sticking it into a vacuum cleaner hose, but no fun nevertheless.

Mostly pointless (1)

dedazo (737510) | more than 6 years ago | (#19528431)

I know this is intended to be partly funny, but unless you have a > $30 keyboard, and very few people do, this is pointless. Keyboards are disposable nowadays. I go through two of the cheapo HP/Dell ones that overflow the bins at company's parts warehouse every year. As soon as they get a little grimy or the feedback response starts fading (I like mine springy, but quiet), to the trash it is.

I can see something like this with a IBM Model M or a Unicomp customizer or a happy hacking keyboard, but most people probably are just better off getting another one.

Re:Mostly pointless (1)

evanbd (210358) | more than 6 years ago | (#19528467)

Maybe you don't mind throwing out $20 worth of hardware every year or more, but as for me, if all I have to do is toss it in the dishwasher, I'll save the money and spend it on something else.

Re:Mostly pointless (1)

dedazo (737510) | more than 6 years ago | (#19528593)

Most keyboards that ship with PCs these days cost about $5, if that. The "higher end" ones must be no more than $10-15. Have you seen the ones that ship with the new HP boxes? They're basically a laptop keyboard with a numeric pad and the "special" keys on top. Tiny and fragile, and they can't be tilted. Talk about saving money. Those things can't be more than $5 in bulk.

If you went out and bought a keyboard you like, then by all means wash it and stuff. In my experience most people use whatever came with their PCs until the machine is replaced.

Pop the damn keys off!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19528435)

Really just pop the keys off and wash them, you might want to take a pic of your layout so you can put back together easily.

Re:Pop the damn keys off!! (1)

Waffle Iron (339739) | more than 6 years ago | (#19528549)

Really just pop the keys off and wash them

I did this with a Microsoft Natural Multimedia keyboard, which has a bunch of funky shaped keys. I closed them up in a silverware basket. It worked great, and they all came out spotless. However, like most projects, it took about 5X the amount of time that I originally expected. 104 keys ends up being a lot more than it seems. I'm not sure that I'd bother going through that effort again; I'll probably just try poking around with some Q-tips next time.

One thing I learned: pay close attention to the exact arrangement of the metal wire clips that keep the long keys level. If you don't, it can be a real puzzle getting them all back in their correct spots.

Re:Pop the damn keys off!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19528587)

I killed a keyboard this way, just washed it manually in a sink of warm soapy water & dried it. Even after weeks of drying it would no longer work :(

Re:Pop the damn keys off!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19528783)

a keyboard, after already frying it, further drying fixed does not make

No, but.. (3, Insightful)

calebt3 (1098475) | more than 6 years ago | (#19528437)

seeing as my keyboard is a bit attached to my laptop, most people in my situation probably would not.

A Week??? (3, Funny)

Tablizer (95088) | more than 6 years ago | (#19528457)

and air dried the keyboard for a week afterwards

A week? That's probably more fossil fuels consumed than a new keyboard would be.
     

Re:A Week??? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19528487)

What do you think "air dried" means?

Mine is Dishwasher Safe (1)

chubs730 (1095151) | more than 6 years ago | (#19528463)

The keyboard I use on a daily basis is dishwasher safe, it's one of those flexible silicon ones. Many find it uncomfortable or hard to get used to , but after becoming accustomed to the little amount of feedback, I'm quite satisfied with it. Search flexible keyboards on ebay or somesuch if you want one yourself.

Washing the Coca-Cola Out (1)

gyrogeerloose (849181) | more than 6 years ago | (#19528465)

I once used water to rinse the Coke out of the keyboard of one of my coworkers, figuring that there was nothing to lose. It worked--once the thing dried out, which took days. This makes me think that using a dishwasher is perfectly feasible and that getting it good and dry before attempting to use it is the key.

toilet-seat comparison (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19528483)

You know, in the wide range of bacteria-infested areas, toilet seats are remarkably clean. Handles in bathrooms are where bacteria really grow... so saying that a keyboard harbors more than a toilet seat doesn't really say much. How 'bad' do they really get?

oh the irony (1)

notanatheist (581086) | more than 6 years ago | (#19528489)

Just discussing the same thing earlier with someone. Mechanical keyboards typically fair better than membrane keyboards for the dishwasher. The Keytronics I through in and let dry for a few days ending up half working. All the letters worked but special keys like Shift, Ctrl, Alt, Etc didn't. Would have been adequate for most Slashdot posters.
If it's a cheap membrane keyboard just send to the recycling center.

Did it many MANY times. (1, Interesting)

really? (199452) | more than 6 years ago | (#19528501)

Not the dishwasher route though. I put them in the sink and wash them well; I usually use "Simple Green" as a detergent.

Shake well, or run a shop-vac over them after cleaning, and put them in a warm place with decent air circulation for the weekend. On Monday plug in, turn computer on ... NEVER one problem.

Re:Did it many MANY times. (1)

really? (199452) | more than 6 years ago | (#19528529)

Forgot to mention, I do that with wireless keyboards as well. Again, problem free, as long as they are dry before reinserting the batteries.

Re:Did it many MANY times. (4, Funny)

ralfg33k (646670) | more than 6 years ago | (#19528583)

I just lick mine clean.....kinda like the family cat. Sometimes the cat and I take turns licking the mouse, too. Never got sick, though I did get a second taste of some cashew chicken from last month. Mmmmmmm.

Better disinfectant : ethanol or propanol (1)

digitalderbs (718388) | more than 6 years ago | (#19528503)

I rinse my keyboard with 200 proof Ethanol and let it try for an hour or so. Propanol is easily accessible and would work too. Soap is conductive, as another poster pointed out. Besides, who has a week to let their 30 dollar keyboard dry?

Re:Better disinfectant : ethanol or propanol (2, Insightful)

Bacon Bits (926911) | more than 6 years ago | (#19528841)

Better question: Why are you wasting 200 proof Ethanol on a $30 keyboard?

most things are cleaner than a toilet seat (5, Insightful)

llZENll (545605) | more than 6 years ago | (#19528513)

"Studies have shown that keyboards often contain more bacteria than toilet seats."

Don't you get tired of hearing how things are cleaner than a toilet seat? As proven on Mythbusters, almost everything is dirtier than a toilet seat, the floor, the counter, your mouth, your hands, all contain more bacteria than a toilet seat. So people, stop with the toilet seat analogies, they are meaningless!

Re:most things are cleaner than a toilet seat (5, Funny)

Moe Yerca (14391) | more than 6 years ago | (#19528723)

Obviously you've never seen my toilet seat.

Re:most things are cleaner than a toilet seat (4, Funny)

fimbulvetr (598306) | more than 6 years ago | (#19528831)

Not true! I've seen it leave your apartment when you're gone. It likes to go on a stroll, sometimes even takes the dog out. I wouldn't worry until it starts answering the phone, though.

Re:most things are cleaner than a toilet seat (1)

rustalot42684 (1055008) | more than 6 years ago | (#19528777)

Mythbusters doesn't 'prove' anything... A few uncontrolled experiments isn't good enough. Careful study is need before something is true. Hell, even *gravity* is just a theory.

Re:most things are cleaner than a toilet seat (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19528779)

So people, stop with the toilet seat analogies, they are meaningless!

But it is funny when you think of the germ-sissies that populate modern day life assiduously laying toilet paper down on the seat and smugly congratulating themselves for taking two full minutes to wash their hands afterwards, and then not even flinching as they tie the shoes that just walked across the bathroom floor just minutes before, and hike up their pants by the same belt that they lifted their pants with after taking a &$*# on their toilet paper covered seat.

Washing your hands is a good practice, but we've given it magical properties in this culture when you put it in perspective with what we actually expose ourselves to in everyday life.

Re:most things are cleaner than a toilet seat (2, Funny)

j00r0m4nc3r (959816) | more than 6 years ago | (#19528795)

As proven on Mythbusters, almost everything is dirtier than a toilet seat

The fallacy here is that having bacteria does not necessarily make something "dirty" (unhealthy). There's probably more bacteria in my stomach right now that my toilet seat. Does that mean I wouldn't want to get food in my stomach? There's good bacteria, chaotic neutral bacteria, and chaotic evil bacteria.

Even worse than dishwashing (1)

necro81 (917438) | more than 6 years ago | (#19528519)

I've had to look into finding a keyboard that could be repeatedly autoclaved (high pressure steam at 250-350 Fahrenheit) so that it could be used in an operating room during surgery. I had limited success with that - you can find different keyboards that are encased in silicone. They become unusable after a handful of cleaning cycles, however. The harder part was finding a pointing device - mouse, trackpad, etc.

I tried this before... (1)

CTalkobt (81900) | more than 6 years ago | (#19528523)

the keyboard came out just fine... But the laptop display didn't come on and the laptop fan didn't show up..

*Doh* I just read the article... _Regular_ keyboards... :-)

Common Technique (1)

Pooua (265915) | more than 6 years ago | (#19528537)

I've washed several keyboards over the last decade, and I've known about the dishwasher technique at least that long. I don't actually use my dishwasher, though, because I regard that as a waste of water and power. When I feel like washing a keyboard (which isn't very often), I take the whole thing apart and hose it down, first with water, then w/ some water-displacer, like circuit board cleaner.

I once had to wash my computer's motherboard, too, after my male cat sprayed it (the case was off, so the motherboard was exposed). I was amazed it worked at all after that, but it kept running for several more months, until the metal contacts began to corrode too badly.

Works fine (1)

pboyd2004 (860767) | more than 6 years ago | (#19528539)

Yup, I've done it. Had no issues and I only let mine dry out for about 24 hours, of course I also took the keys off to help it dry faster.

Of course now I use a wireless keyboard and I'm not willing to try it.

For how long? (1)

Foerstner (931398) | more than 6 years ago | (#19528559)

I've always heard that automatic dishwasher detergent was extremely caustic. Combine that with the presumably delicate traces on the circuit board that underlies a keyboard, and what happens after a few weeks?

No really, what happens? What happens if you do this two or three times? Inquiring minds want to know.

At my university (5, Informative)

debile (812761) | more than 6 years ago | (#19528569)

At my university (Sherbrooke) we work late, drink coffee and eat things like chips or our diner in front of the computer. Keyboards get dirty quickly because the security guards cannot enforce the law.

What IT does to clean the keyboard is much the same but probably less damaging. The have a big plastic box they fill full of water. They just immerse the keyboards for a few hours, lt them dry for 72 hres.

Everything is clean and they don't brake often with this method.

Turns out F6 does have a use after all. (3, Interesting)

Plug (14127) | more than 6 years ago | (#19528577)

Good point about F6. It hasn't even been loved enough to be given a Function function on my Thinkpad T60.

Turns out it moves between focusable frames in Windows, and in Firefox, can be used to focus on the task bar - and hit again to focus on the page! Useful, yet unloved.

Someone needs to start a F6 fanclub. That key will get a complex.

It might work out... (1)

flar2 (938689) | more than 6 years ago | (#19528581)

About three years ago I found an decent athlon box on the side of the road. It had rained the night before so it was all wet. I let it dry for a week, turning it every day to make sure all the water drained out. When I was sure it was dry, I fired it up and it worked perfectly. It became my mythtv box for over a year. After I retired it, its various parts found their way into cheap computers I built for students, still in use. Most computer parts will withstand water as long as there's no electricity around to short thing out. I was surprised the hard drive still worked, it must have been sheltered enough from the water that it didn't rust.

I've done it many times. (1)

basotl (808388) | more than 6 years ago | (#19528597)

I've done this many times.

In fact I inherited a dozen keyboards once and they were all a mess. Tossed 'em in my dishwasher and dried on my drier rack for 24 hours. They all worked perfectly. Real easy and hardly any work. I then used them on some budget system builds for people. They still work a year later.

Model M (1)

billh (85947) | more than 6 years ago | (#19528601)

The Model M is dishwasher safe, at least so far. I have put two of mine in the dishwasher. No soap, top rack, air dry for a few days. Put the keycaps in the silverware holder.

I thought it was a joke when I first heard it, but I had a keyboard that was in bad enough shape to risk. I now use that keyboard at work. The second one I use at home, and it is due for another dishwasher cycle soon.

Re:Model M (1)

Oswald (235719) | more than 6 years ago | (#19528645)

Well, I was about to say that I would never do such a thing to my precious Model M. Even after reading your post I'm still not anxious to try it.

Does it really get clean without soap?

Re:Model M (1)

HBI (604924) | more than 6 years ago | (#19528839)

I had better luck with mine with the following methodology:

1: disassemble using a 7/32 long stem nut driver. You'll pay a few bucks for this but it's worth it.
2: put the upper and lower key caps, and shell in the dishwasher.
3: clean the base that the mechanical key switches are mounted on using alcohol + q-tips
4: Reassemble when the stuff is all dry.

Quick, easy, works like a charm, no risk of damage to the keyboard itself.

Model M, Laundry Bag (1)

spacemky (236551) | more than 6 years ago | (#19528609)

I use the old clickity IBM model M keyboards, and I just pop off all the key caps and wash them in a garment bag with the rest of the laundry. Nice, white and beautiful when they come out. I've also done this with MS Natural keyboards. Works like a charm. Make sure to lay the keys upside down to dry.

The whole keyboard? (0)

ktakki (64573) | more than 6 years ago | (#19528613)

I've heard of people popping the keycaps and washing those in a dishwasher, but not the whole keyboard as a unit. As mentioned elsewhere, the soap is conductive, and I have no doubt that even if you didn't add soap you'd still have some soapy residue in the dishwasher. Not to mention that the minerals in tap water are conductive, too.

I've also resurrected electronic equipment that was involved in a flood. We had to immerse the gear (MIDI keyboards and guitar pedals) in distilled water and then dry them off with hair dryers. At best, we had a 50% revival rate.

Pop the keytops and run them through a dishwasher. Better yet, pop the keys and wipe them with Windex Wipes. Blow out the keyboard with compressed air. It's how I've kept the IBM Model M I'm typing on clean and working well since 1993.

If anyone tells you otherwise theZ1058sg d gh$$%*@&Yg s96#(HA)G*DS HJ

k.

Cleaning works (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19528615)

Most electronics can take a good washing. Water and electricity dont work well though so make sure its dry before you put it back to use. Anecdote: A friend of mine was working on his rig and left it on its side with the side panel off. His cat decided that it was similar enough to a litter box. Subsequently cat urine made the machine not boot. Very carefully the motherboard and video card were washed, without soap, in the sink and left over the electric heater for a week to dry. The machine was reassembled and the box is still in use today.

Do to possible legal action:
Yours truly,
Anonymous Coward

Yes, mostly (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19528617)

Best advice is to disassemble the keyboard before running it through the dishwaher.

You don't need to remove all the keys, you just want to pull out the membranes and the circuit boards. Not because they'll get damaged, but because they're the parts that take forever to dry.

If you don't trust your keyboard not to melt in the dishwasher (and some plastics will, even without the drying cycle), you can fill a bucket with hot water and some automatic dishwasher detergent, pop off the key caps and plastic parts, swish them around and they'll come out spotless. Then it's just a matter of rinsing, drying and reassembling.

If you do run your keyboard through the dishwasher, you should pop off some of the larger keys (shift, enter, spacebar, etc) and reapply a dab of grease to the ends of the little metal clips that hold them level.

Formula 409 (1)

blavallee (729704) | more than 6 years ago | (#19528625)

Back when key caps could be removed with out damaging the spring mechanism...
I found that soaking the key caps in 409 and water would remove any finger crud.

While the key caps are off, tap and shake out the (INSERT FAVORITE SNACK) seasonings and give the other surfaces a quick wipe down.
The key caps dry in about an hour. Hopefully you know the layout of your keyboard when putting the key caps back on.

With later model keyboards I use 409 and cotton swabs to go after all accessible surfaces.

We have nothing to fear but fear itself (2, Insightful)

DerekLyons (302214) | more than 6 years ago | (#19528637)

"Would you ever do this to your peripheral?"

Nope. But then I don't share the [seemingly] common pathological fear of bacteria that's been created in the last decade or so.

Subject (1)

Legion303 (97901) | more than 6 years ago | (#19528665)

What's wrong with prying your keys off, tossing them in a net bag and throwing the whole bundle in the washer? That's what I did, when we had a dish washer.

Bonus points for getting the keys back where they belong.

coffee stains! (1)

stefanlasiewski (63134) | more than 6 years ago | (#19528669)

Last week I washed my cupholder to get rid of the coffee stains. It's been air drying for the last week, and I can't wait to use it again!

Formula 409, a brush, and paper towels (1)

MagusAptus (456895) | more than 6 years ago | (#19528671)

I've done this for years, works great, no risk to the keyboard:

A couple of sprays (mist, not stream) of Formula 409 on the keyboard (I've found Formula 409 works the best). Let the cleaner sit for a 30 seconds to a minute or so. Then take a brush like you'd use to clean your fingernails (short, hard bristles) and use it to scrub the keys, being sure to get in-between them. Then wipe up the mess with paper towels, being sure to get as much of the cleaner out as possible. Repeat process as needed (I've had some keyboards take 3 or more tries to get really clean).

...Back in high school 10 years ago... (1)

NNland (110498) | more than 6 years ago | (#19528685)

I knew a girl that had younger siblings whose favorite passtime was dumping juice into the keyboard. Or at least that is what she claimed. She would take the juicy keyboard, hose it down in the shower, then let it dry in front of a fan overnight.

From what I understand, she did it more than a dozen times by the time I heard about it. If it works, it works.

I do it once a month (1)

borcharc (56372) | more than 6 years ago | (#19528771)

I have IBM type M's and pop one in the dishwasher every month. After about a week sitting in the basement they are dry, ready to use, and look brand new. I have done this for the last 10+ years and never had a issue. Just put the keyboard in facing down and use the cool dry cycle with regular liquid detergent. Works great. I have also done this with non-buckling spring keyboards with good results (new cheep ones.)

welcome the bacteria overlords (1)

bl8n8r (649187) | more than 6 years ago | (#19528805)

The resistances your immune system is building up from eating off the keyboard may save you some day.

IBM Keyboards are forever! (1)

FlyingGuy (989135) | more than 6 years ago | (#19528813)

Well at least they used to be...

I have my 12 function key Model M and my original IBM-PC ( 10 function keys up the side in two rows ) and they are both still the in great shape. The model M has had just about everything spilled in it, from Coke, Coffee, Beer, Jack Daniels, hell I even spunked all over the damn thing once ( pre-internet ) with an actual female participant! Its been through the dishwasher ( NO dishwasher detergent as its far too corrosive ) with a few drops of liquid dish washing soap several times, as has the original PC keyboard.

With things like pagers and cell phones it you drop it in toilet or into the sink or whatever, REMOVE THE BATTERY as fast as you can! If it was in a hostile environment such as a toilet full of piss, rinse if well under cold clear running water.

Once you are satisfied the contamination is removed, put it in a clean dish cloth, slingshot style, and twirl it at as high a rate of speed as you can produce using centrifugal force to get as much water out as you possibly can.

Turn the over to its lowest setting and let it pre-heat. When it has pre-heated, turn the oven OFF and place the electronic gizmo in the oven, top rack, once the temp has settled below about 70C, close the door and leave it in there until the oven is cold.

Put a new battery in the device, since most batteries have vents these days and there is around a 99% probability that the device will come right back to life.

Toilet seats and bacteria. (1)

Mr. Freeman (933986) | more than 6 years ago | (#19528821)

The mythbusters showed that the toilet seat actually has very little bacteria compared to every other surface they tested (bathroom floor, kitchen floor, kitchen table, etc.) Thus, the problem that "keyboards contain more bacteria than most toilet seats doesn't really matter very much.

Furthermore, the amount of bacteria doesn't really have anything to do with how healthy the surface is. Most dairy products have insane amounts of bacteria, but it's all bacteria that isn't harmful to humans. The bacteria you'll find in the toilet is probably more harmful than the greater amount of bacteria in your mouth.

i'm tttyigg tthis noooow (1)

Skapare (16644) | more than 6 years ago | (#19528833)

wel i'mm givvig ttthis grettt idea aa ttry tooo se oww welll ittt wokss... sinc ii cantt ussse itt untttil aaftr it driess i hav t us aan oldd keyybarddd for nnow.

Tea + keyboard = broken (1)

ChameleonDave (1041178) | more than 6 years ago | (#19528851)

I once spilt a small amount of tea onto my keyboard and it never worked again.

It was one of those cordless ones though. Still, I wouldn't trust a dishwasher with any keyboard unless it was marked dishwasher-safe.

Keyboard cleaning (1)

sjipca (913723) | more than 6 years ago | (#19528861)

Just have a keyboard layout pic in front of you then just clean each one individually every once in a great while.
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