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We had someone come into a lab with their usual need for coffee and you can guess the rest. I was wondering what you have for instructions for your techs as working best for cleaning dried vanilla mocha frappa latte whatever it was out of keyboards. I was toying with the idea of just using water on it (deionized if we can find it) but didn't know if there was something more effective available or another approach to take other than throwing out the keyboard.

It was literally days old and first time used :-(

I know this could be on SU but since this was pertaining to best practices and labs and client workstations in the workplace I wanted to know about procedures followed by others and hoped it would be answerable here.

I also know about policies in place to prohibit drinks from computers in labs. We have that. I also know many of you also have higher-ups for whom rules don't always apply...again, draw your own conclusions. I'm just looking for advice and information here...

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That reminds of the day I dumped a coffee on my own keyboard...reacting quickly and since the coffee had a lid I only lost about 1/4 of the coffee. :) so I replaced the keyboard with a new spare, then not 2 minutes later, dumped another 1/4 of the same coffee on the new keyboard. –  SpaceManSpiff Aug 13 '09 at 12:37
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Seriously this is a SU question –  Chopper3 Aug 13 '09 at 12:44
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@Chopper3 - okay...I have a user that spilled coffee on the keyboard of the web server. Now I am looking for a good efficient simple way to clean it as a procedure for low-level techs to follow in the field rather than after I find out about it a week later. –  Bart Silverstrim Aug 13 '09 at 13:14
    
[chuckle] –  squillman Aug 13 '09 at 13:18
    
Very similar question already asked on SF but then moved to SU. See superuser.com/questions/15609/… for details. –  Avery Payne Aug 13 '09 at 13:32
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6 Answers

up vote 4 down vote accepted

I've put countless keyboards in the dishwasher, and they've all come out like new. This only works for really basic keyboards though. If you have fancy extra media keys, or it's a bluetooth/wireless keyboard, forget it.

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countless keyboards?...I can't help but wonder if you've considered non-spill mugs or bottles with caps on them?...seriously, though, thanks for the suggestion. –  Bart Silverstrim Aug 16 '09 at 4:50
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Generally Isopropyl Alcohol (Rubbing Alcohol) is a good choice for cleaning electronics. Unplug the keyboard, disassemble it as much as is feasible and submerge in Isopropyl. Agitate and let sit. Make sure to allow the keyboard time to dry after you are finished, test, and repeat if necessary.

I have successfully recovered a broken laptop keyboard in this way.

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You could, at your own risk, try a dishwasher:

tallstevo on youtube

The best way to clean your keyboard on bit-tech.net

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+1 for this insane idea –  Johan Aug 13 '09 at 17:36
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You should be able to take the keyboard apart (screws on the bottom side) then clean it. Or, take the affect key(s) off and then use some warm water to 'clean' the coffee off of it. Make sure it dries COMPLETELY before use.

Not that I'm speaking from a personal experience or anything eye roll

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That's what I thought...I was hoping there was something a bit better, since this would be beyond most basic part-time lab people's skills but sounds like the original idea will be what I end up with at this point. –  Bart Silverstrim Aug 13 '09 at 12:43
    
I want to upvote this simply for your Avatar. Although I'll do it since I've used this technique myself. –  squillman Aug 13 '09 at 13:18
    
Good to know that there are Stevie Y/Wings fans out there :) –  RateControl Aug 13 '09 at 15:14
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dried vanilla mocha frappa latte whatever

That can't be cleaned up in any good way, to much sugar and milk.

A cup with normal black coffee cleans easy if you don't wait to long, so force everyone to drink black coffie (no sugar and no milk).

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Rubbish - I've tipped whole cans of (non-diet) soda into keyboards, left them for days, run them through the dishwasher, and they've turned out just fine. –  Izzy Aug 13 '09 at 13:30
    
I don't know what it really was...I just know the keyboard smells like vanilla and coffee now. :-/ –  Bart Silverstrim Aug 13 '09 at 15:47
    
Izzy, do you really recommend this as a "good practice"? –  Johan Aug 13 '09 at 17:38
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Here's my thoughts on the subject. If it's a keyboard and the coffee was plain coffee (no cream, no sugar, no caramel, etc) unplug, dunk it under running water, let it dry and away you go.

As soon as you add sugar, or it's a crappa, latta just toss it. It will probably never really go back to it's old self.

Laptops, though are a different story. I still follow the same from above, just remove the keyboard first. And yes, I get a new one if there was a bunch of sugar in the coffee. It's just not worth my time to spend 4 hours cleaning a keyboard, when I can get a new one for about $75.

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