How to Fix Sticking Laptop Keys

By Editorial Team

Updated September 28, 2017

Items you will need

  • Small screwdriver

  • Cotton swabs

  • Rubbing alcohol

  • Household cleaner

  • Super Lube Dry Film Lubricant

Sticking laptop keys are a common problem due to contamination build-up such as dust and hair, spilled drinks, and the wearing out of factory lubrication. Laptop keyboards don't wear out if you clean and lubricate them properly. There is no need to spend the money on an expensive replacement keyboard, because you can restore your laptop keyboard yourself. Through these methods, you can solve sticky key problems and return your keyboard to perfect working order.

Use a small screwdriver to gently pop the sticky keys off of the keyboard. You do not need to use excessive force, as a bit of gentle pressure should allow the key to come loose easily. If you are cleaning the entire laptop keyboard, draw a keyboard map on a piece of paper so that you know exactly where each key goes. There may be a small piece of rubber connected to each key, depending on your make of laptop, so remove these as well and place them in a small container, as they are small and easily lost.

Clean the exposed area under the key well with a cotton swab slightly dampened with rubbing alcohol. Replace the cotton swabs often as they collect residues, but be sure that they are only very slightly damp, as excess liquid can damage the keyboard. You can roll the swab against the opening of the alcohol bottle to remove excess liquid making sure that alcohol does not drip from the swab.

Scrub the actual keys and their rubber components with cotton swabs and alcohol, removing all traces of grease and sticky residue. Spray the keys with standard household cleaner and allow them to set for at least five minutes before rinsing them thoroughly with hot water. Put the keys on a paper towel and allow them to dry completely.

Set the rubber components aside and place the laptop keys bottom side up on a paper bag. Coat the keys very lightly with film lubricant and allow them to dry. Make sure that the lubricant covers all of the small guide spaces inside of each key; however, you must be careful not to use too much lubricant, as the solvent can damage the plastic.

Apply a small amount of solvent to the tip of a cotton swab and lubricate the exposed key space on the keyboard, again being sure to cover all of the small spaces. Allow the keyboard to dry thoroughly.

Replace all of the rubber components into the keyboard and then install the keys. Make sure that the wire is placed into the guide slot next to the key and apply firm yet gentle pressure until the key snaps into place. Congratulations, no sticky keys!


Always read your laptop manually thoroughly before cleaning. Most, but not all, laptops keyboards will have pop-off keys, so make sure you know before you try.