Monday, July 13, 2009

How NOT to clean your keyboard

NOTE: I composed this a few weeks ago, and was only able to upload the photos just now. Still, it should not take away from your enjoyment of my little story. :)

One Monday night, a few weeks back, I had a fabulous blog post planned, and I was all ready to go post it, when I came into the office with my dinner and dropped a hot bowl of freshly microwaved potato all over the keyboard. I did not have one of those fancy-shmancy spill-resistant keyboards, so the potato spilled all throughout the cracks and crevices.
Now, I had heard a story on NPR, years ago, about how one could put the keyboard in the dishwasher for cleaning. I didn't think this would be feasible, though, so I decided to clean it by hand.

I knew I had to clean it out before any further complications arose, so I unplugged it, brought it into the kitchen, turned on the faucet and used the spray hose. I took great pains not to get the plug wet.

Then I turned the keyboard over on the drainboard to let it dry.

But I got impatient. I wanted to use my keyboard, and I wanted to use it now!!!

So here's what I did: I took the keyboard into the bathroom, and plucked off each key, one by one by one.

I carefully arranged the keys on the vanity so I would know where to place them when it came to re-assembling the keyboard:

Oh yeah, and I also put the keys in a sink full of soapy water to clean them as well.

Once all the keys were off, I used Q-Tips to get rid of all of the dirt that was in every crack and crevice of the keyboard. And there was a lot more than just potato in there. There was a surprising amount of cat hair in there, too.

(See the dirty water right below the number keys? That's how dirty it was in there!)

When I got all the crap out, I used more Q-Tips to get rid of the excess water. I then took the keyboard, flipped it over on the drainboard, and let it dry for half an hour.

But I turned into Veruca Salt again: "Daddy, I want to use my keyboard NOW!!!"

I got my keyboard from the kitchen and took out my blow dryer. I aimed the hot air at the still-wet piece of equipment. This task was made more difficult for two reasons:

1. The blow dryer blew some of the keys off of the vanity and onto the floor, which led to:

2. Gabby playing with the keys as they fell to the ground.

I had to re-arrange the order of the keys at least five or six times. I trusted that my memory worked. If not, I could always go online to find a diagram.

Once I was confident that the keyboard was completely dry, I painstakingly re-assembled all the keys. Then I went back to my office and turned on the computer. I plugged 'er in, opened Microsoft Word, and tested 'er out.

There were about quite a few keys that didn't work. The enter key was stuck, as well as the c,v,b,n, and m keys. And then the beeping started...beep, beep, beep. It wouldn't stop.

It was time for a new keyboard.

Fortunately keyboards aren't that expensive. I picked one up at Staples for $15. I have finally gotten used to this new one, but I miss the clicking sounds that my old keyboard had.

Besides, this new one has a new, important feature:

Spill resistance.


Anonymous said...

oh my gosh, that is something I would do!!!! :-) Isn't it amazing where you find cat hair?!

Anonymous said...

p.s. I have an award for you!!!

GinSpaghetti said...


RunninL8 said...

..And never try to cheat at Rubiks Cube by plucking off and re-arranging the squares!
Despite your impatience, you were incredibly patient!

blueviolet said...

LOL, you ended up doing what you probably should have done in the first place! I'm surprised your cat didn't jump up there and mess up the pieces right away!

Mimi Lenox said...

I'm really really really trying not to laugh. I won't. I won't.
I was doing just fine until the hair dryer and then I could just see you with the keys flying off in the floor.

It was a funny story!

septembermom said...

Oh, you are a thorough cleaner:) That's a lot of work. Those keyboard spills can be a pain.

Vickie said...

Put the keyboard in the dishwasher?! This was hilarious!! Though I did wince for you when the keys blew off the vanity.

We have the cordless laptop. Though I don't think it is spill resistance:)

Mel said...

Heh! Although I didn't spill anything on my keyboard, I did get a wild hair and decide to really clean my one at work one night when I was there late. I also popped all of the keys off and laid them out perfectly so that I'd know how to put them back on. No cat at work to mess up the order (although I cannot imagine what Nick would have done to them given the chance) and I just used a damp cloth, so it worked all right for me.

I totally get your clicky sounds thing. There are some keyboards that are just perfectly clicky.

Jenners said...

I love this post. Too funny. Thanks for the tutorial!

Jodi said...

First of all, the story was even funnier with all the pictures.

I think you should have had "Adrian Monk" take care of the situation. LOL