This something I get asked every now and then; so, I thought I would show you how I clean my keyboard. Now, just as a warning I am not liable if you damage your keyboard if you clean it my way! If you want a safer method then I would suggest you use a can of compressed air and a keyboard duster that fits down in between the keys. Also you probably should not use this method on any of the fancier keyboards that built in screens or other specialty keys/mechanical keyboards.
First off a little explanation of how keyboards are built (not mechanical keyboards). First you have the keyboard case, which is usually compromised of two pieces, the base and top which holds the actual keys. Inside the keyboard there will be a couple layers of film plus a rubber keypad. The top and bottom pieces of film both of electrical contact points for the all the keys while the middle piece of film has holes for the contact points. Pushing keys presses the rubber pad which pushes the top and bottom film contacts together.
To clean the keyboard start by removing the top part of the keyboard case which holds the keys. In my case I have a Dell keyboard with 12 screws on the bottom that I simply remove, then while holding they keyboard together, I flip the keyboard back over, and remove the top. I then wash the top of the keyboard and the keys (not the bottom or the film!), this allows me to thoroughly clean the keyboard and makes the keyboard operate much smoother and quieter. Just make sure the keyboard is completely dry before reassembling! I have tried this on a number of different keyboards and this is the best way I have found of cleaning the keyboard. While it may seem a bit strange to put your keyboard under water, by removing the top with just the keys, the electronic part of your keyboard will remain dry. Although for anyone that is curious you can dunk the whole keyboard in the water as well – you just have to make sure it is completely dry before trying to use it!
Below is my keyboard (or at least one of them…)!
The bottom of the keyboard with 12 screws, 4 along the top, 4 in the middle, and for 4 along the bottom.
Below is the keyboard with the top removed (the part that you are going to wash). You can see the rubber pad in the picture; this is actually what provides the resistance in the keys.
Below is the rubber pad rolled over revealing the layers of film.
Below the first layer of film with contacts is rolled over and the middle layer with holes and bottom layer with contacts is visible. The middle layer is very hard to see because it is almost completely clear.
Below the bottom layer of film with contacts is visible.