How To Fix Sticky Keys on Laptop

Chris Campbell06 Mar 2022

We usually don't mind our laptop keyboard, until the unfortunate time comes that it stops working.  We eat or drink in front of our laptops and don't notice the collected crumbs and filth until the keyboard keys start to stick. Or worse, we just tap away on our keyboards even if our fingers are greasy from munching on Cheetos while using on our laptop.  Although you may not save your keyboard in some tragic instances, like spilling coffee on your laptop, there are still ways to salvage and make your sticky keyboard work in other situations.

Using your laptop often exposes it to a lot of dust and debris, especially on your keyboard, where items can slip through the spaces. As a result, if your keys become stuck or stop operating completely, it's most likely due to an accumulation of junk beneath them.

How To Clean Sticky Keys on a Laptop

It's almost unavoidable that we all have a particle of dust or two residing wherever our fingers hang out daily. The good thing is that keys are among the most modular components of modern laptops, making them relatively easy to deep-clean if necessary. The first thing you should consider is how thorough you want your keyboard cleaning to be. This process can be short if all you need is a wash down, or it can take a long time if you're guilty of eating chips while you type or prefer to go all the way when you clean.

To clean, you'll need:

  • At least 90% rubbing alcohol
  • Microfiber cloth
  • Cotton swabs
  • Compressed air
  • Q-tips
  • Opening pick

Shut Down and Power Off Your Laptop

You might want to believe that you can get away with leaving your laptop on while doing this but it's considerably easier and safer if your laptop is turned off while you clean.

Dislodge the Debris

Turn your laptop upside down, with the keyboard towards the ground. Using compressed air or a microfiber cloth, clean in a back and forth motion to remove any loose debris which may be lingering around or beneath your keys. If you still have anything caught beneath a specific key, try twisting the laptop at different angles to pry them out. Most laptop keys feature small edges that can trap dirt, making it difficult for bigger particles to escape via the spaces between the keys and the laptop's frame. 

Get Rid of Grease and Grime

This is perhaps the most typical kind of laptop dirt. It's easy to overlook how filthy your keyboard is until one of the keys becomes stuck. The solution is quite straightforward.  Start wiping an alcohol-soaked microfiber cloth or cotton swab. You may need to go over difficult areas several times, but you should be able to remove the majority of residue this way. Following this process, your keyboard should be as good as new. Take note that rubbing alcohol above 90% is normally devoid of particulates, so you don't have to worry about getting it somewhere it shouldn't be, but being cautious is good. Keep in mind that in cleaning the keyboard, your cloth or swab should be moist, not soaking wet.

Pry the Sticky Keys Open

If you have a jammed key or huge debris beneath one of your keys, use something thin to pry it open like an opening pick or any other soft plastic or wooden item, but avoid metal. Prying methods vary per keyboard, but even tiny keys can be pulled out piece by piece if you are cautious. Spacebar keys, on the other hand, maybe incredibly difficult to peel off without shattering, so when dealing with them, be cautious. Once you've removed the sticky key, use a Q-tip dipped in alcohol to gently wipe away any sticky residue on the key as well as what's left behind. The key retainer, which is the hinge beneath the key, could also cause stickiness. If yours is clumpy, wipe it clean with alcohol or dip it in hot, soapy water for a minute. Simply make sure it's completely dry before reinstalling it on the keyboard. If you do remove the hinge or if it comes out with the key, make a mental note of how it is positioned inside. It might be difficult to replace if you don't know how to do it correctly.

Clean the Sticky Keys One at a Time

You'll see that it's pretty disgusting underneath when you pull your sticky key off. Pet hair and food crumbs have a habit of finding their way beneath keys and staying undiscovered for years. You may not be interested in this, but if you're willing to go the distance, set down a few hours to pry and deep clean the keys off one by one.

How To Turn Off Sticky Keys on Laptop

Sticky keys help individuals dealing with disabilities or have repetitive stress injuries. Instead of pressing down a button, you may tap it, and it will stay "down" until you hit another key. If you don't enjoy pressing a key for lengthy periods, sticky keys might be handy. So how do you turn it on and off?

The following method is the simplest approach to toggle sticky keys on and off. To turn it off, press "Shift" 5 times when sticky keys are enabled. You may also disable it by pressing any two keys at the same time.

To turn off sticky keys in Windows 10:

  • Select "Settings" by pressing the "Windows" key or selecting the "Windows” symbol in the lower left-hand corner.
  • Choose Ease of Access > Keyboard.
  • To turn off Sticky Keys, scroll down and pick the “Sticky Keys” option. You may also deactivate the shortcut from this menu.
  • Scroll down to the "Make It Easier To Type" section. Check that both the warning message and the make-a-sound settings are enabled so that you don't accidentally activate sticky keys.

To turn off sticky keys in Windows 7 and 8:

  • Navigate to the Control Panel.
  • Choose Ease of Access > Make the Keyboard Easier To Use
  • Scroll to the bottom and uncheck "Make it Easier to Type."
  • Click the Apply button.

A laptop is something you're probably using every day, whether for work or school. Keeping your keyboard clean ensures that you can tap away on your keys anytime with no issues whatsoever. So the next time you're dealing with sticky keys, try these hacks first before taking your laptop to the repair shop.

Chris Campbell

Chris Campbell

Thanks for reading! I'm Chris, an avid tech fanatic that enjoys keeping up with the latest laptop models. Hopefully my tips & tricks can help you out!

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