How To Clean Your Filthy Keyboard In The Dishwasher

Dishwasher? No, I’m a Jacuzzi Cupboard!

Image: Ann Oro


How To Clean Your Filthy Keyboard In The Dishwasher
Your primary school teacher probably asked you at some point if you would put your head in an oven if your mate Billy did it first? Would you? That’s how cults work: cults are awesome: of course you would, duh.

Washing your keyboard in the dishwasher is the 21st equivalent. Because someone online told you it works would you actually do it? You would? I suppose it would give some great content for a blog post. It’s not quite destroying an iPad in lava, but it’s the best you’re going to get in suburbia. Let’s get started.

Why is your keyboard so dirty in the first place?
Your QWERTY (wow that was easy to type) keyboard is supposedly covered in five times more bacteria that your toilet seat according to one report. That’s a lot of things that could make you ill and miss a day of work. We wouldn’t want that would we?

If you have a handy black light around, feel free to wave it around like you are in an episode of CSI.

Ok, that’s enough evidence; let’s get this bad boy in the dishwasher.

Step 1
Let’s make sure we are on the same page here. I’m talking about a computer keyboard. Not a Stevie Wonder keyboard. Washing a music keyboard would just be stupid.

Make sure that the cables are all tied up neatly, and tape up the ends so that no metal is exposed. Metal plus water = corrosion. Corrosion is bad. Also, it’s probably not best if your keyboard is attached to your computer. i.e. a laptop.

Step 2
Positioning of the keyboard within the dishwasher is very important and can depend on which brand of dishwasher you have. As a rule (Which I made up as I went along), make sure your keyboard is flat with the keys facing down (so they don’t drown obviously).

Step 3
Use an economic wash if possible; you don’t want to melt the thing (You might?). Also, for those of you with dishwasher that dries as well, make sure your keyboard isn’t too near the source of heat. Again, this could lead to your keyboards resembling a Dali painting.

Image: Jimmy Baikovicius

Heeelp I’m Meeeeelting

Step 4
Your trusty keyboard will take some time to dry. It could be days. If you live in a damp rainforest, it could be even longer. Who knows? Turn the keyboard over occasionally, shake it to see if water comes out and maybe even blow on it like an old school SNES cartridge. Some people swear by covering their damp electronics in rice to absorb the moisture like an electronic risotto. You may if you wish do the same. Let me know how you got on with this as I didn’t have any hand and I wasn’t sure whether Moroccan Cous Cous was up to the job.

Step 5
Plug your keyboard back in. If it works, you are good to go. If you notice odd behaviour such as a letter rrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrepeating endlessly, then it may need more time to dry.

If your job relies on your ability to type accurately, such as an editor, or a code monkey; churning out fixes for networks, log4j appender software and the like, best to double check, or just buy a new keyboard. Maybe leave it for a few more days. Maybe think about why you attempted to put your keyboard in a dishwasher. Would you put your head in an oven if…

If it doesn’t work after that, at least you have a new anecdote for your next dinner party. What do you mean, you don’t get invited to dinner parties?

James Duval is an IT specialist although he prefers the title Lord of the realm of Nvidia. He currently advises on IT systems that make CERN look low-key and blogs for centeractive.