How to Clean Oily Keyboard

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How to Clean Oily Keyboard

Having a greasy and oily keyboard on your laptop or desktop computer can both slow down your workflow and even break your laptop keyboard or desktop keyboard in the long run. Cleaning your keyboard can be much easier if you know what to do.

If you have a Mac Book laptop, it is very important that you clean that computer keyboard on a regular basis. The keyboard keys are known to get stuck because of dust and oil build-up around it.

Certainly chemicals you do not want to use on your keyboard like rubbing alcohol because it can strip the color of your keys and even break down the glue that holds the keys down. Below will a step-by-step guide on how to clean any keyboard with pictures.

Cleaning Supplies Needed

Vacuum Cleaner

Compressed Air

Magic Eraser or Paper towel

Cotton Swab

Dawn Dish Soap 

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Degreaser (optional)


Different Types Of Keyboards Switches 

On modern computers today, you will find two different types of keyboard switches. The switches are what activate the keys when you press them and depending on what keyboard switch you have, one will need a more thorough cleaning.

 If you are not a tech person who buys a mechanical keyboard by choice, you will have a normal keyboard all the time.

Mechanical keyboard switches –

 mechanical keyboards are computer keyboards that have a switch underneath the keys. The keyboards are used on desktop keyboards because the keys are much larger and taller.

Normal keyboard switches –

Normal keyboards are more common on both desktops and laptops because mechanical switch keyboards can be much more expensive to make. Normal keyboards have a membrane underneath each key but have a more mushy feeling.

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How to Clean Greasy Keyboard

Below is the 4 step process to clean your oily keyboard and remove grease, dirt build, and any other foreign objects that might be stuck on your keyboard.

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Step 1- Gather all the cleaning supplies

* To make the cleaning process much easier, get all the products I recommended above. If you do not have a degreaser or compress air, you can work around it by using the vacuum to suck up dust that might be underneath the keys.


Step 2- Clear the area around the keyboard

* Clear the area around your computer and keyboard so that you do not get anything else dirty or knock over anything. This will give you enough space around the keyboard so that you can bend in the proper way to get the dust-out and oil properly.


Step 3- Cleaning the keyboard 

* The first thing you need to do with the keyboard is to disconnect it from the computer or shut the computer off totally.


Vacuuming keyboard

* Use the vacuum you have with the end that has the brush on it. Do not apply too much pressure to the keyboard because you can accidentally break one of the keys off.

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cleaning keyboard with toothbrush

* Use a soft toothbrush and brush the keys gently to loosen up any dust that might be there.


* Mix some dawn dish soap in a bowl with warm water and dip the microfiber cleaning cloth or a small part of the paper towel in it. If you have a Mr clean magic eraser, dip half of it in the water, but make sure you shake off any excess water that might be there.

using cotton swab to clean keyboard

Wipe the oily keyboard down with the microfiber cleaning cloth until you see the grease starting to come off. If you start to see too much water on the keyboard, wipe it up immediately. Repeat the wiping process until the grease is gone. If you cannot reach some areas around the keys, use a cotton swab to do that.


Step 4- Wipe with a warm towel

wiping oily keyboard with wet towel

* The best way to wipe off any soap that you might see that is left from the dawn, is by using a warm damp towel. This will also help to remove any oil that you might have missed.

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* To damp the towel, wet it underneath the kitchen sink with hot water and squeeze out any excess water that might be in it.

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Reasons why Your Keyboard is Oily?

macbook greasy keyboard

* Using your laptop in the kitchen whenever someone is cooking. The grease from the stove will circulate in the air and eventually get on your computer. When you touch the keys, you will spread the grease onto the others.


* Eating greasy food and using your computer or laptop right after. Make sure to wash your hands thoroughly before using the computer again.


* Not cleaning your keyboard for a long time will definitely make your keyboard feel mushy to the touch and sticky as well.


* Using your keyboard with sweaty hands can cause oil build-up and even damage the electronics underneath the keys as well. Use a paper towel if you have sweaty hands.

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How to Prevent Keyboard from Getting Oily?

* Avoid eating while using the computer because you will accidentally touch the computer.


* Clean your keyboards more often to prevent the build-up of oil and grease.


* Keep your hands as clean as possible, because this is the number one reason why we have oily keyboards.


* Add a keyboard cover on your computer to protect the physical keys from getting oily. These covers can be removed and washed.



Having an oily laptop or desktop keyboard is not good for the keyboard and you. Try cleaning your keyboard more often with this cleaning method that you can do in less than 5 minutes and if you are on the road and got oil on your keyboard.

Wet a washcloth or use a wipe and wipe off the keyboard. If you wet the washcloth or any cloth you can get with warm water from a bathroom, this will remove even more of the grease until you get home to give it a proper cleaning.

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