How to remove the keys on a keyboard

Updated: 05/16/2020 by Computer Hope

Many people need to remove a key to clean either the key itself or underneath the key. Cleaning under a key is often necessary when a drink spilled onto the keyboard, food crumbs are lodged under a key, or when it hasn't been cleaned.


If you're trying to remove a key from a laptop keyboard, see: How to remove and replace a laptop key or keycap.

How to remove a key

Before removing any of the keyboard keys, unplug the keyboard from the computer or turn off the computer.

Removing keyboard key

To remove a standard keyboard key, start by pressing down on the key in front of the key you want to remove. Insert a flat object below the key, such as a small flathead screwdriver or a car key, as shown in the picture. Once placed below the key, twist the flat object or push down until the key pops off. If you want to remove more than one key, repeat this process until all keys are removed.


We also suggest not removing the spacebar key unless absolutely necessary, because many keyboards use a retention spring that can be very difficult or impossible to put back into place.

Hair, dust, dirt, and food under keyboard key

Once the key is removed, you'll notice the hair, dust, dirt, or food particles under the key if present, as shown in the picture. This substance can be removed with compressed air, a damp cloth, or cotton swabs.

If you're removing the key because of a substance spill, clean and dry the bottom of the key, the keyboard, and the key shaft.

Once everything is clean, position the key back into the normal position by pressing down on the key until it snaps back into place.