While keyboards are electric components that have fragile circuitry, the short answer is that you generally can use a dishwasher to clean them.
However, the long answer is that it depends on the type of keyboard, how much time you have to wait, and what you are willing to sacrifice in case things go wrong.
In this article, we’ll dive into how exactly you should use a dishwasher to clean your keyboard, what precautions you need to take, dishwasher safe or waterproof keyboards you could purchase, and some alternatives you could apply instead of using a dishwasher to clean your electrical components.
This post contains affiliate links
Table of Contents
Yes, You Can Use A Dishwasher To Clean Your Keyboard. However…
This needs to be said. It’s generally not recommended you use a dishwasher to clean a keyboard, for several reasons:
- It could damage your keyboard if it’s not specifically made to be cleaned in this manner. (Such as mechanical keyboards, and other keyboards with fragile components and cheap plastics).
- You may have to wait for longer than one week to have the keyboard dry out. (Especially if it’s not waterproof.)
- You may void any warranties you may have with the keyboard you are attempting to clean.
- There are other methods for cleaning keyboards that are safer and faster.
With that said, you’ve reasoned out that this is the best way for you to clean your keyboard. After all that was just said above, it is useful to clean your keyboard if the grime is caked onto it and inside through spills or other factors.
Using a dishwasher to take care of the problem would be okay to do, but there are a few guidelines you should follow to make sure that you don’t break the board. So, without further ado, make sure your dishwasher is empty, and read on.
Before You Wash Your Keyboard
Washing Your keyboard is pretty much as easy as unplugging it from your computer and putting it in the dishwasher. However, before you do this, make sure you do a few more things:
- Grab a spare keyboard in case things go wrong, or if you still need to do work. – After washing your dirty keyboard, you may still have to wait for a long time to make sure your keyboard is dry. Also, electrical components like keyboards will fry when powered on with water inside the circuitry. –Because of science! So, be prepared for the worst. Usually, mechanical keyboards are not great for cleaning using dishwashers because of their more fragile nature, so gamers and typing enthusiasts should be cautious.
- Do not use dishwashing soap to clean your keyboard. – Dishwashing soap could damage the electrical components within, and soap particles may end up getting in between components. These types of soaps are meant to disinfect and clean dishes that have been eaten from, and I pray that you did not plan to eat food on your keyboard. So, ditch the soap and let the hot water clean your keyboard. Besides, the heat will end up sanitizing the interior and exterior of the board sufficiently.
- Do not have other components or dishes in the dishwasher with your keyboard. – While this is more of a precautionary measure, it’s best to leave enough space around the dishwasher to allow the water access to fully clean the board.
- Do not wash cheap keyboards. – Keyboards made of cheaper plastics may melt in the dishwasher, which isn’t good for your keyboard or your dishwasher. To prevent this from occurring, place it at the top rack of your dishwasher.
- Remove any batteries or detachable electric components from your keyboard that do not need to be cleaned.
When Washing Your Keyboard And Afterwards
You have the keyboard placed in the top rack of the dishwasher after making sure it’s not made cheaply, and you forgo the dish soap. Now it’s time to start the dishwasher.
- The recommendation is to go with rinse only settings. This is so that the process isn’t too stressful for your keyboard. The idea is to clean your keyboard, not have it go through more stress than it needs to be in.
- It’s optional to remove the keycaps from the board and place them inside the utensil bin of the dishwasher for deeper cleaning.
After the keyboard has been washed, drain as much water as you can from it upside down on a dish rack or similar spot, where it will sit for the rest of the day.
Do not place the keyboard in rice or other water absorbent materials. This could end up getting inside your keyboard and damaging the components.
After most of the water has been drained, it’s best to leave the keyboard to air dry in an open area for the next several days
Because keyboards are rather large components with various crevices and components within, you should probably leave it there to dry for at least a week.
After a week has passed, it’s time to test your keyboard out on your computer and see if it survived the ordeal. If you’ve waited long enough, you should see the keyboard working just as new and clean as ever. If not, well, you need a new keyboard.
Where To Find Dishwasher Safe Keyboards
While there are some keyboards on the market that survives liquid spillage, the best keyboards for dishwashers would be ones that are fully submersible.
There are several keyboards that I found online that you can purchase today if you plan on regularly washing your keyboard, but you want less liability when doing so. If you are looking for water durable keyboards, this excellent article from Nerd Techy has some great options too.
The Adesso 630Ub Easy Touch
This keyboard can be submerged in water for as long as 30 minutes at a 3 feet depth. Perfect for washing in a dishwasher with the rinse cycle on. It also has a membrane switch keyboard, which is meant to be more durable than standard mechanical keyboards.
Check price on Amazon
All Seal Shield Washable Medical Keyboards
This Florida, USA based company has several types of keyboards available on their website that are waterproof and are able to be immersed in water. On the website, there are even testimonials from medical staff that touts their keyboards can be placed in specialized washers multiple times.
The cool part is that the boards’ Seal Shield offers have slim and classic designs depending on your working needs, which is a plus. Some may cost a bit more than usual keyboards, however.
Whichever keyboard you end up going with, both types should be able to handle a thorough rinse from a home dishwasher. It’s best to leave the keyboard alone to dry for at least a day or two after washing, especially if it’s a corded keyboard.
Corded keyboards may short out due to the components inside the USB cable having water inside, so make sure that part is dry too.
The Safest Way To Clean Your Keyboard
Because cleaning keyboards with a washer is generally not recommended for standard boards, here is a tried and true method for cleaning them that you can utilize instead.
Hand Cleaning, while this may take time, it’s usually the safest option. All you need is water, or alcohol if you prefer, and some cleaning swabs. Alternatively, disinfectant wipes can be used.
Depending on the dirtiness of your keyboard, it may be best to remove the keycaps. Afterward, it may be useful to remove loose dirt and hair from underneath the components by turning the board over and lightly tapping it against a hard and flat surface.
Using the tips of your cleaning swabs, go through the keyboard and wipe off any dirt and grime anywhere you see stuck on or inside of it. Feel free to place the keycaps inside the dishwasher if they are made of durable plastic to save on time.
Once everything is fully cleaned, reassemble your keyboard and wait a few hours to have it dry thoroughly before plugging it back in.
To conclude, yeah, you can use a dishwasher to clean your keyboard. Oddly, it is a compelling idea that does have some sense to it. Just take precautions and be very careful when doing so.
It’s best to use this method when you want a deeper clean without the hassle of doing it yourself, and are willing to make sacrifices in case things go awry.
However, I’d only implement this method if it was a liquid spill like beer, ice cream, chocolate, or some other sticky residue that would end up damaging the components inside anyway.
Like how this hilarious NPR article puts it, it’s not a question of whether or not we can place our keyboards in the dishwasher, but instead, a question of whether we should.
Either way, I hope this article helps you with cleaning your keyboard. Good luck!