Cleaning this old keyboard is one of the most relaxing things I've done in 2021

Put on some low-fi tunes and just clean your stress away. Not like you have anything better to do at home. Here's how I cleaned this old-school clacker.

*Checks calendar* Yup, we're still in a pandemic thanks to the botch jobs by governments worldwide. That means, like me, you're probably still spending an unsettling amount of time at home. Might as well do something fun like restoring a 25-year-old keyboard.

Why did I do this? Boredom, mostly. As someone who types words for a living, a good keyboard is an essential tool. My go-to is an old Razer BlackWidow mechanical keyboard. I love it. But there's a special place in my heart for the keyboard from the very first computer my family owned.

I originally thought this old IBM clunker from 1995/6? had mechanical switches, but it turns out it's a mushy membrane keyboard. This alone almost made me quit before I started.

But since I'd already dug it out of my parents' house, I figured sure. I've got time. The keyboard needs love. Win-win.

Step 1: Remove all the keys.

Look at all this filth. That's 25 years worth of gunk! And no, nobody was using it with all this dust on it. That would've been gross.


Before ripping out all of the keys, you should take a photo so you have a reference for reassembly later.

The $27 toolkit I bought last year to clean out my PS4 came in handy. I used the metal crowbar to pry each keycap out.

Step 2: Soak all the keys in a bowl with a few drops of dish soap.

Some people recommend using denture tablets to get them squeaky clean. I didn't have any so I scrubbed them by hand with a toothbrush like a complete dummy.

My god! Who knew keyboards were so disgusting. Before using a can of compressed air to blow out the dust, remember to mask up or you'll be breathing in lord knows what.

Step 3: Blow that crap out. Preferably outdoors and in a ventilated area. Then disassemble.

My keyboard was held together by eight or so Phillips-head screws. Then it was just a matter of removing the rubber membrane and rinsing it off.

Step 5: I did a deep scrub on the top half of the case to clean up any stubborn debris.

After rinsing the keyboard with warm water and dish soap, I laid all the pieces out on top of cardboard to air dry.

But I got lazy waiting so I made a makeshift tumble dryer out of a plastic container and paper towels.

My Dyson dryer coming in clutch!

I cut a hole in the top and used my beloved Dyson SuperSonic hair dryer to speed up the drying time.

Step 6: Reassemble everything and pop the keys back on.

Squeaky clean!
Lookin' freshhhh.
Pull up that photo you took in the beginning to reference where the keys go.

Step 7: Congrats! You did it! Bust a beer out and celebrate the fact you spent two hours building character and practicing patience.

Step 8: Cry when you realize the PS/2-to-USB-A adapters you bought don't make your old-ass keyboard plug-and-play with your modern PC. Turns out these cheap adapters don't work like new dongles and you need an adapter with a signal converter to get it working.

Thanks for reading,
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