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Clean your keyboard | Rock Paper Shotgun


I’m a grown-up, which in 2021 means that I have a home full of plants, a Strava subscription I rarely use, and a deep feeling of shame I can’t resolve. This latter detail was briefly soothed last night by cleaning my keyboard for the first time in two years, and fishing out an unheimlich mess of which only a small portion can be seen above. I am here, like your mum, to tell you to do the same.

I bought a Corsair mechanical keyboard a couple of years ago, spending too much money on a glowing embarrassment because I was tired of £15 deals breaking every 12 months.

I hadn’t once cleaned it, though. I type on this thing constantly, sometimes sitting in front of it for as many as 12 hours in a day, and I too often eat lunch and dinner in the same chair. The result was that looking between the keys was like looking into a lint drawer. My keyboard’s hair was longer than my beard’s. There were more crumbs in there than in Penfold’s vocabulary.

So I bought a can of compressed air. I bought it because that’s what the internet told me to do, but it was needless. Blowing air under my keys just caused the collected filth to slide around, like a mantle of old skin slipping beneath an alphanumeric crust. I don’t know what I thought would happen.

Instead, I took off all the keys – I used my fingers rather than a key-popper-offer, because by now I no longer trusted the internet’s advice – and stuck fingers and wet wipes directly into the exposed crevices. Honestly, the picture above shows around 20% of the muck I took out. It’s like my keyboard was made by Dyson. I’ve been typing on a plastic sandwich with a fingernail and eyelash filling for years.

Then I washed all the keys in the sink, dried them as best I could be bothered, and spent a relaxing hour re-attaching them while watching an old episode of Castle. The whole experience combined the hairy satisfaction of hoovering skirting boards with the zen-like pleasure of completing a slightly damp jigsaw.

And now, my keyboard is so clean I could eat off it. And, if this experience has taught me anything, it’s that I do eat off it. Strong recommend; will do this again in another two years.


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