How do I remove the keys on a keyboard?
Note: If you're trying to remove a key from a laptop keyboard, see removing keyboard key and keycap steps, as this page relates only to the removal of keys from a traditional computer keyboard.
Caution: Before removing any of the keyboard keys, unplug the keyboard from the computer or turn off the computer. We also suggest not removing the spacebar key unless absolutely necessary, since many keyboards use a retention spring that can be very difficult or impossible to put back into place.
Many people need to remove a key when they need to clean the key itself or get below the key to clean it. Cleaning a key or beneath a key is often necessary especially when a drink is spilled on the keyboard.
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 screw driver 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.
Once the key has been removed, you'll notice the hair, dust, dirt, and food particles under the key, 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 a substance was spilled on the keyboard, make sure to not only clean below the key, but also the shaft that holds the key and the bottom of the key.
Once everything has been cleaned, position the key back into the normal position and snap it back into place by pressing in on the key.
- Where can I find a replacement for a keyboard key?
- Computer cleaning information and help.
- See our key, keyboard, and laptop definitions for further information and related links on these terms.