Cleaning my ADB Keyboard

Keyboard Grime ©2020

I’m still waiting on bits-n-pieces for my Macintosh and my Apple IIs. That hasn’t stopped me doing minor works. The other day, for instance, I finally got around to cleaning my ADB keyboard.

This keyboard is used with both my Apple IIgs and my Mac SE/30 and it was filthy. Time for a quick clean and scrub. I tackled the outer shell with Isopropyl alcohol. A good scrub with an old towel and lots of Isopropyl and all but the most stubborn stains were gone.

Next was time for the keys and, more importantly, under the keys. I have a handy dandy “key puller” that I purchased cheap from China that does an excellent job of safely removing keys. It consists of two wire “loops” that slide over the keycap and spring underneath, allowing you to provide even pressure for key removal.
Before removing the keys, I took a photo in case I had problems working out where any of the “special” Apple keys went back. With the key puller in hand I carefully removed all the keys. The space bar had an extra spring I put aside, and I was also careful around any of the “long” keys like the Shift or Enter keys as they tended to have stabiliser wires. Thankfully it was an easy job in this case, as the stabilisers slid in and out of channels, as opposed to being clipped in, like I have seen in some of my keyboards.

Underneath the keys was a horrific layer of dust-bunnies so thick they’d become a felt layer in places. I brushed them out, initially with a coarse anti-static brush, then a toothbrush with Isopropyl and finally some cotton buds for the exceptionally resistant patches.

I grabbed all the keys and soaked them in hot, soapy water before individually removing them and scrubbing all 4 sides with a nail brush. Once clean (and that took a long time) I patted them all dry, have them another spray with Isopropyl on the underside to assist with drying and left them overnight to dry on a towel.

Next morning it was a simple job to reassemble my much nicer, neater keyboard.

Published by ilike8bits

I collect old computers and consoles

2 thoughts on “Cleaning my ADB Keyboard

    1. I can’t complain. The price was definitely right and a little elbow grease gave me a chance to blog about something a bit more mundane.
      Back to more “exciting” stuff next week, where I’ll build a custom workspace out of raw materials, and a SCSI enclosure out of an old Dell desktop.


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