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Cleaning the Apple Keyboard

Here is a short utorual I wrote a while back to document cleaning the older white and clear keyboard.  This does not apply to the newer think keyboards Apple released in 2007.

I love the design of Apple keyboards. The clean while surface supported by clear plastic looks great. However, after a few weeks of use (and eating at my computer) the keyboard became quite dirty. After a while, the device became so dirty that I purchased a second one. Since I could sacrifice one keyboard to experimentation – I did just that.

I have managed to clean both keyboards several time with no ill side-effects so far. I can’t say that this won’t destroy your nice keyboard, but here are the steps I take.

Things you will need:

  1. dish detergent (anti-grease & anti-bacterial)
  2. a large sink or bathtub
  3. paper towel
  4. salad spinner (preferable)
  5. or a colander
  6. a flat screwdriver
  7. THIS PAGE PRINTED OUT

Begin by using your screwdriver to pry the keys off.  Be careful – the board is resilient but you can still scratch it.


You will notice that some keys have metal clips behind them.  These are to guide the key straight down as you push on them.  Just take these keys off slowly and everything will come off easily.  Once the key is off, just pull the clip off and set it aside.


After taking off the keys, put them in a gallon size ziploc bag with some detergent.


Shake the bag once and a while.  Let it sit for several minutes.


While the keys are soaking, start your bath and fill it with warm water and the detergent.  Move the keyboard around in the water to loosen some of the dirt and then let it soak for a while


After 5 minutes of soaking, take out the keyboard and rinse it off in warm water.  You may need to repeat this step several times to get the soap bubbles out of the bottom part of the board


Next, take the keys and put them in the bowl for your salad spinner.  Run this under tap water for a few moments to get all of the soap off


Here comes the fun part.  Put the spinner together and give it a whirl.  Let it stop.  Shake it.  Repeat.  Do this at least 5 times.


Spread out the keys on paper towel to let them dry.  For food safety reasons, now is probably a good time to clean your spinner as well.


Let the keys dry for a little bit.  They should be done in 30 minutes or so


Remember that page you printed out?  Now is a good time to get it.  You will need a reference when putting everything back together.  If you have an extra keyboard, this will work as well.


Find all of the keys that had the metal clips on the back of them.  Put all of the clips on NOW.  If you do this step while putting keys on, you will find that it is difficult to find mismatched clips.  All of the clips should rotate easily.  If anything feels stiff, try it on another key.


Slide the clips under the hooks on the bard first.  Then, rock the key down into position


One down.  Just over 100 more to go…..


A partially completed board.


Watch out for keys like L and 7.  They look alike and can easily be misplaced.  The same warning for I and the division key.


LET IT DRY.  Seriously.  Let it sit for at least a week.  Stack it vertically so water can drain out.  After it has sat for AT LEAST A WEEK, you can try it out.



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