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Put your keyboard in the dishwasher!

The other week on IRC, my friend Mark asked me if I had ever put my keyboard in the dishwasher. You see, the guys on #appleiigs (on irc server slashnet) think I have these crazy ideas where I put technology through all sorts of unnecessary abuse. Most of it is just exaggeration, but if I think something is beneficial enough and has little risk, I’ll give it a try. So anyway I did a few quick searches and I found that some people had indeed tried what sounded like a crazy idea, intentionally bathing a piece of electronics in 60 minutes of hot, soapy water.


At first I tried it with one of the current white Apple keyboards. I figured if it was destroyed, it would only cost $30 to replace… And it was dirty enough that I had been planning to replace it anyway. See, when you eat at your computer desk as much as I do, your keyboard tends to catch as much food as your plate. I ran it through the regular cycle, with detergent. I didn’t use the heated dry option, and I recommend you don’t either :) After it was washed I made a few keen observations: 1) It was clean! and 2) It was full of water! I shook as much water as I could out of the keyboard and turned it over for a day. Once it appeared to be dry I connected it to the usb port of an old spare computer (in case "something happened"). It was mostly functional but i noticed a few of the keys simply didn’t work! So i quickly unplugged it and left it for another day or so. After that, the keyboard worked perfectly. If you’re gonna try it, I recommend you give it a few days before you plug your keyboard in, or it could be short-circuit city!

After the initial success, I decided to perform a larger test in case it was a fluke, or in case it was the specific keyboard design that allowed it to survive. So i tried 2 more Apple design keyboards (hey that’s what i have lying around), as well as a big translucent "split keyboard" (shown). After drying, they all worked fine. I couldn’t discern any difference in the action of the keys between the washed and unwashed.

So take it from your favorite germophobic blogger, or me. Do something about the bacteria on your keyboard, or you’re better off washing your hands in the toilet.

Oh, and if your keyboard looks like this, the trash can is a better place than your dishwasher…

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