[GUIDE] Cleaning your Thinkpad keyboard thoroughly *PICS*

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Cola
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[GUIDE] Cleaning your Thinkpad keyboard thoroughly *PICS*

#1 Post by Cola » Thu Aug 02, 2012 2:10 pm

Ever been annoyed by looking at your dirty keyboard? Ever had crumbs stuck under the keys making noises as you press them?

Then you are looking at the right guide! :wink:


This guide will show you how to clean your Lenovo or IBM laptops keyboard easily and thoroughly. It is done on your own, it is your little project, this is just a guide. I will not take ANY responsibility for broken keyboards. I have succesfully pulled this off numerous times now without anything breaking.

You have probably heard that electronics and water don't go together well. That's true. But only if there's power connected to the unit poured submerged in water or poured water over.
You can clean your electronics with water, as long as you let it dry 100% before connecting it again.


Step 1:
Remove your keyboard from your Thinkpad(s)
In my example, I did this to my new X61s' and X41's keyboards.

Image



Step 2:
Make sure your water is hot.
It should be about 50-60ºC (120-140ºF) You can check this by putting your index finger under the water. And if it's getting uncomfortably hot, it's the right temperature.)



Step 3:
Add soap to the water.
Regular handsoap will do. Just about 2-3 tablespoons will do.

Image



Step 4:
Submerge keyboard(s).

Image




Step 5:
After about 1 hour submerged into the hot water, your keyboards should be done.
Turn on the radiator so that it's on it's medium setting. (Mustn't be too warm, you wouldn't want your keyboard melting. :wink:)
Warning: don't dry them on an electrical radiator. As they get hotter than regular water heated radiators. (Also, most of them have *Don't cover this radiator!* written on them.)
Now put them on your radiator, or somewhere else with a matching temperature. (An oven at low heat should do the trick as well. Haven't tried it though.)

Again, as a general reminder, do NOT expose the keyboard for temperatures much higher than 50-60ºC, as this could cause the plastics to melt!

Important: Let them dry for good, so you don't end up short circuiting your system.
I recommend at least 12 hours of drying before installing it in your Thinkpad! - 24 hours would be even better.

A tip from me, is to put them into the water at dinner time, taking them up an hour later, and leaving them the entire night. That way you don't avoid using your Thinkpad for 12 hours, unless you use it while you sleep of course. :roll:




Step 6:
Turn over the keyboards after the first 30 minutes. 1 Hour after the first turn over, turn them over again, and let them dry.




Step 7:
When completely dry, install keyboard(s) back on your Thinkpad.






Good luck, and thanks for reading! :)
- Cola
Last edited by Cola on Fri Dec 06, 2013 10:13 am, edited 2 times in total.
Current:T510, X201i, T400s, X61s Dell Vostro 1500

Past: T430, W520, T520i, T420, X220T, 3x X220, 2x X220i, 2xT410, T510i, 2x W500, T500, T400, 3x X61s, 3x T61p, 2xT61, T60, X41, 2x T43p, 2x T43, T41p, T41, T40, 600E

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Re: [GUIDE] Cleaning your Thinkpad keyboard thoroughly

#2 Post by RealBlackStuff » Fri Aug 03, 2012 3:17 am

Cola wrote:Btw. Sorry if I'm not allowed to post pictures. Just let me know, and I'll change them to links. (They are averaging at 140 KBs though, so I'm not sure if it'd be an issue for anyone)
Pictures are allowed, but please follow the Forum rules:
http://forum.thinkpads.com/viewtopic.php?f=16&t=14339
5. IF you must add a photograph to your post, PLEASE limit the size to 50k or less and place a warning in the subject line.
Example:
[GUIDE] Cleaning your Thinkpad keyboard thoroughly *PICS*
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Re: [GUIDE] Cleaning your Thinkpad keyboard thoroughly *PICS*

#3 Post by Cola » Fri Aug 03, 2012 4:23 am

Okay, thanks a lot. :wink:
Current:T510, X201i, T400s, X61s Dell Vostro 1500

Past: T430, W520, T520i, T420, X220T, 3x X220, 2x X220i, 2xT410, T510i, 2x W500, T500, T400, 3x X61s, 3x T61p, 2xT61, T60, X41, 2x T43p, 2x T43, T41p, T41, T40, 600E

QWERTY Andreas
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Re: [GUIDE] Cleaning your Thinkpad keyboard thoroughly *PICS*

#4 Post by QWERTY Andreas » Fri Aug 31, 2012 1:47 am

Will i have to remove the connector to the MB if i want to do this?
Thinkpad W500 (2.53 GHz P8700, 4 GB RAM, FireGL V5700, WUXGA)
Thinkpad T61F 14" (2.53 GHz QX9300, 6 GB RAM, Quadro FX570m 256 MB, SXGA). Advanced dock with AMD Radeon HD7750
Custom build ITX desktop (i5 4590, 8GB RAM, AMD R7 260X, custom watercooling)
Thinkpad 8, Fujitsu F-07C


FS: T61F

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Re: [GUIDE] Cleaning your Thinkpad keyboard thoroughly *PICS*

#5 Post by RealBlackStuff » Fri Aug 31, 2012 5:19 am

Disconnect the keyboard from the motherboard?
Yes, unless you also want to wash the motherboard...LOL
Remove the ribbon cable from the keyboard? No.
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Cola
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Re: [GUIDE] Cleaning your Thinkpad keyboard thoroughly *PICS*

#6 Post by Cola » Mon Jun 03, 2013 3:22 pm

QWERTY Andreas wrote:Will i have to remove the connector to the MB if i want to do this?

Just saw this post now.

Sorry for not answering earlier, and sorry for 'bumping', but others might have the same question, so I'll answer anyway.

No, if you mean the connector and the small PCB on the back of the keyboard, no, you don't need to. Of course you need to unplug it from the motherboard, just to have that clarified.
Current:T510, X201i, T400s, X61s Dell Vostro 1500

Past: T430, W520, T520i, T420, X220T, 3x X220, 2x X220i, 2xT410, T510i, 2x W500, T500, T400, 3x X61s, 3x T61p, 2xT61, T60, X41, 2x T43p, 2x T43, T41p, T41, T40, 600E

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Re: [GUIDE] Cleaning your Thinkpad keyboard thoroughly *PICS*

#7 Post by Mighty_Mauz » Thu Nov 07, 2013 6:52 pm

Can I use a hairdryer?
And any other tips for someone that doesn't have a radiator?
R60 9461DXG
T400 2764CTO
X200s 7470-CR9
X220T 4298-R45

Cola
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Re: [GUIDE] Cleaning your Thinkpad keyboard thoroughly *PICS*

#8 Post by Cola » Fri Dec 06, 2013 10:05 am

Mighty_Mauz wrote:Can I use a hairdryer?
And any other tips for someone that doesn't have a radiator?

I wouldn't use a hairdryer, as you have to make sure to leave them COMPLETELY dry before reinserting them onto your Thinkpad. Put them somewhere else where hot.
Suggestions: On top of a fireplace, over your oven, in a servercloset, near a PC, near as Playstation or XBOX device or similar. Basically anything that's just kinda hot. (again, make sure that you can have your hand on the surface you want to put the keyboards on. If it's too hot for your fingers to cape with, it's too hot for the plastics as well.)

All the radiator does, is speed up the drying pace slightly.
Current:T510, X201i, T400s, X61s Dell Vostro 1500

Past: T430, W520, T520i, T420, X220T, 3x X220, 2x X220i, 2xT410, T510i, 2x W500, T500, T400, 3x X61s, 3x T61p, 2xT61, T60, X41, 2x T43p, 2x T43, T41p, T41, T40, 600E

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Re: [GUIDE] Cleaning your Thinkpad keyboard thoroughly *PICS*

#9 Post by precip9 » Fri Dec 06, 2013 2:55 pm

I am not in favor of this method. Common cleaners are ionic. They leave somewhat conductive residues, and are never used commercially. In a dry atmosphere, the keyboards continue to work. However, in very humid conditions, surface adsorption of water would combine with the ionic residue and cause electrical leakage. In high impedance circuits, which keyboards are, leakage is a major cause of failure. Leakage also causes electromigration of circuit board metals, particularly tin.

I have cleaned circuit boards with water, but never with soap, detergent, and water. If for some reason the reader decides to use Cola's method, I suggest that the end step should be repeated flushing with as much plain hot water as possible. Nevertheless, those of us who have used hand soap know that the lanolin, or other moisturizers in the soap resist flushing. This is good for skin, but bad for electronic equipment.

In industry, the materials suggested by Cola are never used. Citrus based cleaners are used to clean circuit boards, and might be considered in combination with the rest of Cola's method. But flush thoroughly with hot water in the final step.
W500x3 with T9900, , T400 highnit 1280x800 with P9600, X61sx3, X61Tx3.

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Re: [GUIDE] Cleaning your Thinkpad keyboard thoroughly *PICS

#10 Post by Sleepy664 » Wed Aug 27, 2014 10:52 pm

I'm trying to avoid having a dirty keyboard on my W520...with this:
http://www.ebay.com/itm/keyboard-skin-f ... 3f3822ace1

I find it surprisingly comfortable to type on. And it is (in a black color) less reflective then the keyboard itself...so no more ThinkLight glare :D

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Re: [GUIDE] Cleaning your Thinkpad keyboard thoroughly *PICS*

#11 Post by teamde78 » Sun Aug 09, 2015 10:09 am

I would be very wary to use any type of water on my laptop keyboard. The last thing I need is to damage some part of the actual computer because there was a little water leftover on the keyboard. Keyboards are cheap enough now that if they keyboard you have is really that dirty, you can usually get a replacement for under $20/30 on ebay. I don't think I would ever use water on the electronic parts of my laptop especially my older thinkpads that I would be devastated if I damaged them. Just my opinion.
Thinkpads: T430 (daily Driver), T60, Z61, T410, T410s, W500, W510.
Other: Macbook Pro Retina 2015, Macbook Pro 2012.

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