Regardless of how careful one is to keep a laptop clean, the keyboard inevitably attracts dust, food particles, fingerprints, and germs from hundreds of different locations. The laptop's portability, which is its distinguishing characteristic, is also the main reason that laptops are much more susceptible to getting dirty than regular keyboards. From a light dusting to complete removal of the keys, there are many ways to clean a keyboard.
The thoroughness of the cleaning required depends on the state of the keyboard. Even when the keyboard is full of dirt and grime, removing all the keys is rarely necessary, and certainly not highly recommended. Many products exist to make it possible to clean around, between, and under all the keys without removing them. There are six basic products, which can be used separately or together, to achieve every level of cleaning during the life of a laptop. By learning about these cleaning supplies and how to buy them online, laptop owners can keep their keyboards sparkling clean and in perfect working order.
Melamine foam is a synthetic substance that is used to maintain a number of surfaces that are usually hard to clean. Melamine foam has a slightly abrasive surface, much like extremely fine sandpaper, that gets into any kind of uneven surface and picks up dirt and grime. This foam is the basis for many of the 'magic' erasers and sponges on the market.
Some melamine foam cleaners are specially made for keyboards. These have indentations the size and shape of regular keyboard keys, and are made to be passed over the key so that the top and sides of the key are cleaned. Since laptop keyboards generally have flatter keys than regular keyboards, make sure that the indentation on the sponge fits the keys on the keyboard. Of course, if needed, the sponge can be cut to fit as well.
Cyber Clean is a patented putty that moulds to any surface, and pulls off the dirt and grime on it. The putty, or gel, holds together so no pieces are left in the electronic equipment. As it is used, the bright yellow colour slowly gets darker, and eventually has to be thrown away when it is too dark to pick up more dirt.
There are also products similar to Cyber Clean on the market, which go by the name 'Magic Putty' or 'Magic Cleaning Gel'. There are no guarantees that these products perform as well as Cyber Clean, and they should be used with caution. Cyber Clean is formulated to lift dirt and grime without becoming too sticky or disintegrating. It is most useful for reaching cracks that the melamine sponge cannot reach. Like melamine foam, however, it also basically cleans the tops and sides of the keys (as well as the palm rest and external casing).
A vacuum is one of two cleaning products that can be used to get dust and particles out from under the keys. It works for all particles that are already loose and trapped under the keys, such as dust or crumbs. The other products often used to get dust and crumbs out from under keys are canned or pressurised air. While canned air is commonly used in offices for cleaning electronic equipment, there are several reasons why it is better suited for laptop keyboards. Canned air is under so much pressure that it can actually blow dust and particles deeper into the laptop if not aimed correctly. There is no such risk with a keyboard vacuum . Also, canned air is not actually just air. It is a mix of chemicals that are actually very dangerous and flammable. Vacuums are much safer, and involve no such risks for the user.
Small vacuums the size of a pocket knife are available especially for keyboards and other electronics. These make it easy to reach into the small crevices between keys and are powered through the USB port. The convenience of this little device makes it easy to keep up with keyboard maintenance, instead of only cleaning when the performance of the keyboard is already starting to suffer.
Along with a keyboard vacuum, a small specially shaped brush is invaluable in getting out crumbs and trapped particles. The combination of a brush and vacuum are just as efficient at cleaning, if not more, than the canned air that is often used. Look for an anti-static brush with soft bristles that are long enough to reach under the keys. Since every laptop keyboard is different, a variety of brush sizes are available and the user needs to make the choice. Slightly stiffer brushes work well for getting under the keys, while fluffy round brushes are good for general dusting. Some keyboard vacuums come with a brush attachment, and these options typically offer great value for money.
When the problem is caked-on grime and not loose dust and particles, a vacuum and brush are not enough for the job. A liquid keyboard cleaner is needed. The simplest liquid cleaner for keyboards is isopropyl alcohol. This should be used to slightly dampen a lint-free cloth, which is then passed over and around the keys. The laptop should always be turned off before using any liquid cleaner, unlike vacuums and brushes which can be used when the laptop is on.
Liquid cleaner can also be used with cotton buds or some cleaning sponges. However, do not use liquid cleaner with a melamine foam sponge, unless they are formulated to be used together. Never use the liquid directly on the keyboard, even if it comes out in a fine spray. Many liquid cleaners are made to be used with both the screen and the keyboard.
Microfibre is a material with the soft nap of terry cloth, but without the lint and fuzz of terry cloth. Microfibre can come in various thicknesses, and quality really does vary widely. The highest quality of microfibre is split microfibre. This means the cross-section of the fibre has an asterisk shape. The spaces between the fibres make microfibre cloth exceptionally absorbent as well as soft. The lowest quality of microfibre cloth is basically just a soft cloth that can be relied on to not scratch any surface. Good quality microfibre cloth has fibres that are positively charged so that dust and other tiny particles cling to the cloth until it is washed out. Keyboard wipes are a related product that can do the same job. However, since wipes are made to be disposable, they are more expensive over the long term.
The easiest way to find keyboard cleaning supplies is generally online at websites like eBay. eBay makes it easy to order cleaning supplies from a reputable and established seller, ensuring that the items arrive at your doorstep as soon as possible. You can also get free shipping on many items, depending on your location.
To find keyboard cleaning supplies on eBay, just enter a search term like ' keyboard vacuum ' in the search box on any eBay page. You can then refine the search even further with other search criteria, and by choosing the appropriate category and subcategory. Another option is to look for a kit that already contains the most essential items. These may come out to cost less than each of the items bought separately. Some sellers may offer discounts for items that are bundled together. These are all eBay options that make it easy for you to find just what you need at a great price.
eBay's unique seller feedback system makes it easy to find reputable sellers. Those sellers who have a history of excellent customer service, and fast shipping times, are awarded 'eBay Top-rated seller' status. These sellers have an award icon next to their names, and on their listings as well. As with any transaction, be sure to check the return policy on the item, and ask any questions you might have, before buying.
Ideally, the keyboard and casing of a laptop would be a single piece, allowing no room for dust or dirt to enter the laptop's interior. Unfortunately, this is not the case for most laptops, and so, keyboards are among the dirtiest parts of any computer. Not only does the dirt on and under a keyboard pose a health risk by transmitting germs between users, but particles or liquids spilled under the keys can interfere with the proper functioning of the keyboard. To avoid this eventuality, laptop users need to clean their keyboards at regular intervals.
There are literally dozens of tools on the market, claiming to achieve this task. Six tools in particular are essential. These tools include: the melamine foam sponge, Cyber Clean gel, a keyboard vacuum, a keyboard brush, liquid cleaner, and a microfibre cloth. With these six items, one can achieve any level of cleaning necessary. By learning to shop for these items on eBay, one can take advantage of the huge selection and competitive prices offered online by experienced and trusted merchants all over the world.