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.
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).
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.