Infrastructure // PC & Servers
Commentary
12/12/2007
05:37 PM
Mitch Wagner
Mitch Wagner
Commentary
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Is Your Computer Keyboard Dishwasher Safe?

My keyboard is pretty nasty. It just accumulates dirt. About a year ago, I made a new rule for myself: No eating at my desk. That helped a little, but my keyboard still looks like a fraternity house after homecoming weekend. So I was excited to see this news on the Internet: Most keyboards are dishwasher safe.

My keyboard is pretty nasty. It just accumulates dirt. About a year ago, I made a new rule for myself: No eating at my desk. That helped a little, but my keyboard still looks like a fraternity house after homecoming weekend. So I was excited to see this news on the Internet: Most keyboards are dishwasher safe.

Scott Moschella describes how he ran his keyboard through the dishwasher. He was advised not to use the heated drying cycle, but got the advice too late. After running the keyboard through the dishwasher, he says, it looked like it would work fine. And people commenting on the post say they do it all the time, and it works great.

Scott says he popped the keys off the keyboard after washing, to facilitate drying. He took a picture of the keyboard beforehand so he'd know where the keys go. Other keyboard-washers say they don't bother, they just leave the keys on.

Boing Boing picked up the post, and their readers added their own comments, including a story about an electronics factory that routinely runs parts through a dishwasher.

Boing Boing reader Erik V. Olson recommends turning off the heated drying to avoid warping the plastic, and taking the keys off beforehand. Put the keys in the silverware basket, Olsen says. Give the keyboard a good shake to remove standing water right after you take it out of the dishwasher.

Drying time: Three to five days.

Boing Boing reader Michael Hyatt writes: "In the Eighties I worked at Polaroid's floppy disk factory in Santa Rosa, where they made 5¼ floppys. They had a product they called 'Data Rescue.' The deal was, you paid extra for them, but if they got damaged or screwed up in any way (from spilled sodas to accidental erasure) you could send them in and we'd try to recover the data. The marketing kit included a disc and some mustard and ketchup packets. The idea was you put some data on the disk, then covered it in goo, ran over it with your desk chair, spilled whatever you wanted on it, and sent it in. We'd get the data back and you'd be so impressed you'd buy the damn things no matter what they cost. The secret? We cut the disk jacket open, slid the 'cookie' out and gently washed it in the sink. After much experimentation, we determined that Dawn dish detergent was best. We then hung them up to dry in the lunch room on a piece of twine with wood clothes pins. When they were dry, we put them in a new jacket and ran the basic data recovery tools of the day, Norton et al."

I got this tip from 43Folders. Read all three posts for information and entertainment before you wash your keyboard. I'm going to run mine through the dishwasher soon. Then maybe I can go back to eating lunch at my desk. Not sure how I feel about that -- lunchtime is prime time for watching sitcoms on TiVo.

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