Jun 8

Keyboard Carwash

Posted by Matty

I’ve been getting ready for my new job, cleaning out my laptop bag and organizing my stuff. I took a look at my work keyboard, and it was kinda filthy. Okay, really filthy. If the CDC were to run tests on it, I’m sure they would quarantine or destroy it.

How would a lazy creative person deal with this situation?

A quick explanatory aside. I work on a computer all day and am picky about the peripherals that I use. I can’t expect a company to cater to my whims, so I’ve always supplied my own keyboard and mouse. Nanc is the same way. End aside.

I had some options for dealing with my virulent keyboard. Obviously, the lowest amount of effort would be to toss the nasty keyboard into the garbage and go buy a new one. I ruled this option out because I have trouble throwing something away that is still useful. Besides, I’m sure that the landfills have enough old computer keyboards already.

The next option is to clean it by hand. I’ve done this in the past. I typically pop all of the keys off, and clean them individually with alchohol. This option was also rejected, due to pure laziness and sloth. I really didn’t want to spend 2-3 hours scrubbing the gack of the keyboard. (I could use that time more productively, for instance writing blog entries!)

I opted for option three, the keyboard carwash. I thought about it, and a keyboard doesn’t have any really sensitive components, so it should be able to survive a bath. I did a quick google just to make sure, and felt pretty confident as I headed to the dishwasher.

This may have been influenced at the Carwash. It’s hard to say.

I put a little bit of Cascade in, and made sure to turn the heated dry cycle off. I had no interest in a Salvador Dali-influenced melty keyboard. I took a deep breath and put the keyboard in the rack and turned the dishwasher on.

As the cycle ran, I started getting nervous. Maybe this wasn’t the best idea I’ve ever had…

After the cycle finished, I turned the keyboard upside down and shook all of the water out. Then I leaned it against a wall on the patio to dry. The keyboard looked good. But would it work or just sit there looking cute?

Every once in a while, I would pick it up and shake off the excess water.

I let the keyboard dry for a few days, then took a deep breath and plugged it in to the computer. I can happily report that it works perfectly. All the keys work and the lights work.

I expect that right about now you’ve stopped reading this article and you’re probably looking down at your keyboard and noticing all of the truly disgusting bits of gunk, hair, an odd Frito crumble, and some mysterious waxy buildup. Sorry to bring it to your attention.

If you decide to try out the keyboard carwash, your mileage may vary. You
might drown your keyboard or kill it in any number of other ways. This is a risk that you have to personally accept. I am not responsible for what you do to your keyboard. I can’t recommend that you try this. But, I especially can’t recommend that you try this parlor trick with anything other than a standard, wired keyboard. I wouldn’t feel good about trying this with a wireless keyboard.

5 Responses to “Keyboard Carwash”

  1. Jen da Purse Ho Says:

    OOOH…car washing the keyboard. i never thought about that. I usually overuse mine and end up needing a new one like 2x a year.. hmmm..i should pop all the keys off and wash them all 🙂

  2. Jen da Purse Ho Says:

    OH…what did you do w/ the end of the cord? did you have it sticking out of the dishwasher as you washed? 🙂

  3. Matty Says:

    Hi Jen,

    Re: the cord. I bundled it up and stuck it in the silverware tray thing.

  4. P-la Says:

    Guessing this probably won’t work with my laptop. *sigh*

  5. Betty Says:

    They just did a thing on NPR about putting your keyboard in the dishwasher a few days ago…
    I guess all the kewl kids are doing it…

    P.S. Did you hear Barry Humphries got a CBE?!! Hoopla Bert!