Tech

Your keyboard is disgusting. This is why you should clean it with slime


ColorCoral cleaning gel case on laptop.

Adrian Kingsley-Hughes / ZDNET

Your thoughts clean keyboard?

Look back.

If you still think it’s clean, take it into another room – or better yet, a coffee shop or some other public place – and look at it under different lights.

Unless you’re taking care of it, it can get foul.

This is mine, and it’s only been a few weeks since I last cleaned it.

Also: Best keyboard: Find your type

Close-up of keyboard with dust.

Adrian Kingsley-Hughes / ZDNET

Frustrating!

There are many different ways people can clean their keyboards, but the method that I choose is to use a cleaning gel (also known as “slime”).

The the brand of gel i am using here is from ColorCoral, but in my experience all of these gels are pretty much the same and I can’t really find one better or worse than the other.

Why a cleansing gel? For some reason.

First, while the brush and canned compressed air On the surface they can do a good job, I find that they push dirt and grime under the keys and into the keyboard.

The cleaning gel is also gentle on the keyboard, while I did see a cloth catch on to the keycap and lift it off.

In the end, it’s quick and cheap. Canned air is expensive and wasteful, and unless you have a lot of keyboards to clean, electronic wipes extremely expensive (although for handling a lot of dust they can’t be beat).

Also: This tool is better than compressed air for cleaning your dirty tech

The gel is very easy to use.

Turn off your laptop or computer (so you don’t press a lot of keys). Then, remove the gel from the pot and knead it quickly.

Grip gel with keyboard.

Knead the gel quickly before use.

Adrian Kingsley-Hughes / ZDNET

Begin cleaning the keyboard by pressing the gel in and around the keys. I find slow, scrolling action works best. Remember that you are trying to use the gel to remove dirt and debris, not knead it into the keyboard.

Gel being used on the keyboard.

Start working the gel around the keys – work slowly and methodically.

Adrian Kingsley-Hughes / ZDNET

Continue until you are happy. You’ve seen the footage before; This is what the keyboard looks like after a few minutes of cleaning:

Clean laptop keyboard

Adrian Kingsley-Hughes / ZDNET

It’s not perfect, I didn’t go for that, but it’s a lot less dirty for very little effort.

The gel is reusable – just refill it in the pot – and I find it lasts about six months to a year once opened.

Is it safe?

There are always people who worry about using gel on their keyboard. I’ve been using this tool for over a decade and I haven’t had a single problem. If you’re concerned, you’ll need to find an alternative, but this is still my favorite way to clean a keyboard.

And cleaning gels aren’t just for keyboards. It’s great for cleaning things like your car’s dashboard or items you might want to photograph (especially for close-up macro photography).

Also: How to clean a TV or flat screen

It is very flexible!

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