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Dear Aunt TUAW: Help me keep my keyboard clean and white

Dear Aunt TUAW,

Got any good tips for keeping the white keys of the Apple keyboard clean? Having switched to a desktop setup, I'm no longer using the black keys of my MacBook and typing basically constantly trying to write my thesis is starting make the white keys of the external look a little grubby.

Do people just use household cleaners or does isopropanol or something similar work better?

Muchos gracias,

Your loving nephew,

Sam

Dear Sam,

Oh my, my, my. Auntie is going to answer as seriously as she can. And that includes her admonishment to wash your hands before touching expensive electronics.

Before getting to that however, she recommends that you get out a white sheet of typing paper. Or "printer paper" or "Xerox paper" as it now seems to be known among you youngsters. Place it on a table and invert your keyboard over it and gently tap the bottom of the keyboard or (if applicable) your laptop.

Just tap, tap, tap.

Start watching things fall out. Hair, dried sneezes, bits of dandruff -- truly it's horrifying what gets into our keyboards.

Auntie's solution is to hit the liniment and pretend that gross stuff just isn't there. If she can't feel it while typing, then logically it doesn't exist. There's probably even a scientific theorem about that. The non-observation principle.

However, if you're bound and determined to clean your keys, here are a few tips.

First, most keys on modern keyboards can be removed, and scrubbed individually. Some people even use the dishwasher for this with a small cage. You probably want to photograph your keyboard before de-keying it, the better to return each key to its proper home.

Second, melamine sponges (e.g. Mr. Clean in the US, but they probably have something equivalent there in the UK), are wonderful for re-bright-ifying white Apple products. Be careful at the top of your keys because they may scrape off existing letter names (all the better for Dvorak users). You can try using an eraser, if you're willing to vacuum afterwards.

Third, never underestimate the power of good suction. A small handheld vacuum can de-yuck your keyboard like nothing else.

Finally, if you're trying to remove items from surfaces, you can use simple rubbing alcohol or miniral spirits (like Goo Gone). Uncle Victor suggests that alcohol is probably your best bet as it won't kill the paint but will loosen the grime.

Hugs,

Auntie T.



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Dear Aunt TUAW, Got any good tips for keeping the white keys of the Apple keyboard clean? Having switched to a desktop setup, I'm no...