Sunday, April 16, 2006


Bathtime for keyboard

We've all done it. That sandwich with email, the coffee with the essay... the entire lunchtime spent in the office eating a sandwich and browsing your favourite blogs. The crumbs mount up, and your keyboard starts to look grim.
[A recent development has been the proliferation of black keyboards - they don't show the dirt!]

If like me you've decided your keyboard constitutes a greater hazard to your health from the micro-organisms living within than RSI, and you're feeling adventurous, it's time to strip it down and wash it out! You could put it in the dishwasher, but I'm not that brave.

[If your disgusting keyboard is owned by someone else - i.e. it's an office computer and you're not self-employed, I would advocate some form of hot-beverage-based sabotage, and requesting a shiny new replacement from IT. Don't tell them I told you to do it though]

  1. Unscrew your keyboard. There will be a number of screws on the back, mine has the unholy total of sixteen - why it needs this many I have no idea
  2. Prise the two halves apart and you should have a base with lots of rubbery buttons, and a top half with keys rattling about in it
  3. Either soak this in hot soapy water, and wipe with a washing up sponge, or start popping the keys out into a sink filled with hot water with a dash of washing up liquid
  4. Dry the keys off, and leave overnight spread out on a towel. Look out for little bits of wire under some of the larger keys, and note how they fit into the keyboard
  5. This is my method - you may wish to proceed differently from hereon, there are some faults in my method:
  6. Once dry, start fitting keys back into the keyboard.
  7. Realise you only have a shaky understanding of where all the keys go. Sheepishly refer to someone else's keyboard for guidance.
  8. Proudly connect your now-gleaming keyboard to your PC and boot up
  9. Realise you've put some keys in the wrong places when you can't type in your windows password
  10. Remove all those screws and prise the keyboard open
  11. Check the position of all the keys, and realise that the top row should read 'QWERTYUIOP', not 'QWERTYIUOP'
  12. Re-arrange keys, turn keyboard over and spray screws all over the floor
  13. Find most of the screws, and spend some time searching for the remaining single fugitive screw
  14. Be embarrassed by your younger sibling being able to find the screw without any trouble in the running shoe you already looked in
  15. Blog about the entire experience, and then discover a new keyboard can be had for less than the price of a pint of beer
DISCLAIMER: If, like me, you decide to take your keyboard apart, you are, like me, quite stupid. If you persist in this though, bear in mind that with drying and re-assembly time, you're looking at about 24 hours where you can't use your PC.

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