I Ran My Computer’s Keyboard Through the Dishwasher

1997 Packard Bell Keyboard

My main computer’s keyboard is 10 years old. It works fine, so I haven’t had any reason to replace it as I’ve built and re-built my computer. Besides, over the years it’s adjusted itself to me; there’s even an indentation for my thumb worn down on the spacebar.

But lately the years of dirt build-up have been really disgusting, so I decided to try something I read about a long time ago: cleaning the keyboard in the dishwasher.

It sounds weird, but apparently a lot of people just stick the entire keyboard in the dishwasher, afterwards let it dry out for a few days, then plug it back in with no problems. I didn’t want to do that, mainly because I figure that would make the dust bunnies behind the keys congeal and mess with the keys. And I like taking things apart to see how they work.

Keyboard with the back removed

At least with this particular model of keyboard—the Packard Bell 5131—everything comes apart and goes back together easily. I lifted out the circuit board (even though I’ve read it too can be washed) and the plastic sheet with the key circuits in it (because it wasn’t dirty). The keyboard case and rubber pad went in the dishwasher with just a bit of soap (don’t use soap if you’re putting in the keyboard whole).

Keyboard pieces in the dishwasher

Everything washed up beautifully and dried out by the next morning; check out the before and after pics. Total time disassembling and reassembling the keyboard was probably five minutes, which is a lot less than you’d spend trying to clean the thing with Q-tips. If that’s too much work for you, just stick the whole thing in there, but give it several days to dry out.

BeforeAfter
H, N, and other keyboard keys dirtyH, N, and other keyboard keys clean
caps key dirtycaps key clean
spacebar dirtyspacebar clean

8 Comments

  1. I wonder if my employer will let me put my keyboard at work into the dishwasher in the break room. It could do with a wash.

  2. Well thats one idea. My wife would love me to try it since she keeps talking about this articles that said keyboards are one of the most germ infested places in most offices (spilled food, other bacteria growing etc). Really just think about how many germs come into contact with your keyboard. Yikes.

  3. Ya know… dishwasher is a big machine. Corprates could wash keyboards in bulk in order to clean em. :)

  4. I have that exact same keyboard. I got it a few years ago when someone gave me an old Packard Bell computer. I absolutely love it myself, and I’m glad to see others still use it.

  5. I have put the keyboard intact into dishwashers many times. I just put some plastic around the connections and rubber band it a few times.

    I have never messed up a keyboard doing this. I have only made them cleaner.

    This is something many people should try. I am on a laptop now, so it’s not gonna happen anymore.

  6. I’m going to be brave and try this with my fave keyboard – it’s an 8 year old MS Natural keyboard and it is filthy, I mean totally disgusting but I love that keyboard. I hope the dishwasher doesn’t kill it, I would be really sad…

  7. a good read.

  8. That’s pretty funny. I would have never thought of doing this. :)

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