My keyboard is sticky. Obviously, since it is electronic, I can't use an abundance of soap and water.
I've tried a damp cloth, but it is not effective. How can I clean it, without ruining it?
Personally, I have always used rubbing alcohol 91% to clean my keyboards and other peripherals. Some cotton wool balls, some cotton swabs (the kind you use to clean your ears with, but know you shouldn't) and some gentle rubbing will pretty much remove anything off of your keyboard (nothing escapes the wrath of rubbing alcohol).
Use the cotton wool balls to rub your keys in a circular motion to remove remnants of potato chips and whatever else is causing gunk build up on your keyboard. Only use small amounts of rubbing alcohol at a time, you don't want to soak the wool in it or it will drip inside of your keyboard and could cause havoc.
Using the cotton wool tips/swabs, you can get in between the keys and other hard to reach places. A soft rubbing up and down motion with a slightly damp swab/tip will remove basically everything from your keyboard that didn't come with it from the factory.
If your keyboard is seriously gunked up and gross, you are going to have to remove the keys themselves by prying them off and soaking them in rubbing alcohol. I have only had to do this twice or so in the last few years.
An alternative solution if rubbing alcohol is not your thing:
I have a friend who swears by those magic erasers, having used them myself around the house, they actually work really well. Simply get yourself some Mr. Clean (or whatever they're called locally) magic erasers which are simply just Melamine foam, slightly dampen them, squeeze out any extra water and slightly rub your keys and anywhere else to remove the gunk.
Be mindful not to push too hard as Melamine foam (magic erasers) tend to shed when you use too much force, a little pressure goes a long way with this magic foam. While it does work, I prefer the rubbing alcohol approach because you can use cotton swabs/tips to get in between the keys which you would struggle to do so with a magic eraser.
If you recently spilled something sticky inside your (laptop) keyboard, the surface will not only be problematic. Under the keys, all sorts of goop will accumulate. This tutorial is also good for regular cleaning, but is better suited for emergencies.
This guide was sourced from many places online, in addition to my own experience with a laptop covered in soda.
A method that has been safe for all standard and mechanical keyboards I have owned is to actually run it through the dishwasher - no joke. You can find some articles online with suggestions about the best way to do it but I do not know anyone who has nor have I ever had any of my keyboards end up being damaged by the process.
An alternative to dishwashers that worked for my keys was a clothes washer: I simply put all of them in a cloth bag and made sure that it was properly knotted and washed them with some regular 30°C programme with non-colouring laundry.
If I recall correctly, the keys already came out amazingly dry. Otherwise, I suggest an extra spin cycle in another dry bag. If that’s not sufficient either, there are wind, sun and hairdryers (beware of overheating though).
Obviously, this only works for the keys and possibly some other small non-electronic components. I also cannot not vouch for this to work with all materials and labellings.
Well anyway, the first step to cleaning is avoiding the habits that got it nasty in the first place -
With the keyboard UPSIDE DOWN, give it some hard taps, to dislodge the dry crumbly stuff, an air blower can to squirt out the easily movable dry stuff. You can, ever so slightly, twist flex the keyboard as you shake/tap it.
Wear Gloves For the sticky, soda issues, again with the keyboard upside down, get a small sponge soaked in at least 70% rubbing alcohol and sop all over the keys with slight pressure, getting some alcohol in via the squeezing, but it immediately flows back out...depending on how long the soda was there, the sponge will show the icky effects but your keyboard will be sparkling clean again!
I use Isopropyl alcohol (99,9%) for these tasks. It cleans well and evaporates completely within a few minutes. So you don't have to be afraid to destroy anything. You can get it in any hardware store, big supermarket or pharmacy.
Only be careful if your Keyboard or device to clean has some rubber coating. Isopropyl dissolves it! But this can also be wanted e.g. if the rubber coating of your old mouse became sticky you can easily remove it.
In my experience, magic erasers work wonders for this sort of stuff.
Take out any batteries, if possible, and/or turn off wireless keyboard. Rinse it off with very warm water in the sink for about 3 minutes. If you have a sprayer function on the faucet ....better. Take outside and shake out as much water as possible and let dry in sun for about 4 hours. Do this on a hot summer day. I've successfully done this twice over the years. Blows me away. I have Apple products.
After disconnecting keyboard from the computer, my opinion is that we should use a small brush of about 1" size. Firstly, we should apply dry brush across all the gaps between the keys thoroughly to remove all the dust in between the keys. Then,we should soak the brush , very slightly, with alcohol and apply it along the keyboard and all the gaps between the keys. Finally, we should wipe the keyboard with soft cotton piece of cloth.