Your keyboard is just as dirty as a toilet—here's how to clean it
It's basically Gak for grown-ups.
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Remember Nickelodeon’s Gak, the sticky goo that you could squish, twist, stretch, and use to make fart sounds with back when you were a kid? In the ‘90s, Gak was all over the place—literally—and most of us didn’t make it out of that decade without at least a few slime-coated memories to show for it. Well, this ColorCoral Universal Cleaning Gel is just like it.
Gak didn’t really do anything—in fact, that was sort of the point. You could slap it against stuff and stick your fingers through it and turn it into a ball to throw at your little sister when you were mad at her (sorry, Mom), but technically speaking, it didn’t have a specific purpose. That’s what made it fun.
A few months back, I wrote about the weirdest things you can buy on Amazon that are actually useful. We were pleasantly surprised here at Reviewed when we learned that the most popular product from this list wasn’t something we’d tested before, like the TubShroom or this charcoal teeth whitening powder, but a cleaning gel that helps get dust and dirt out from between keyboard keys.
In short, it’s like Gak, only it’s for grown-ups. But does it really work? I tapped into my inner kid—and forced the adult in me to cross a few chores off the list—in order to see how well this sticky goo really holds up when put to the test.
How it works
Keyboards are gross. Over time, they just become traps for dirt, dust, and bacteria. According to multiple studies, your keyboard is probably even dirtier than a toilet seat, so finding a good way to clean it and keep it hygienic is crucial, especially if you want to stop the spread of germs.
This ColorCoral Universal Cleaning Gel offers a way to clean your keyboard quickly and efficiently. All you have to do is press the gel slightly against the top of a keyboard and pull it up... slowly. Since it’s sticky, dust and debris are carried away with the gel, revealing clean surfaces.
In addition to keyboards, this gel also works on car vents, phones, calculators, speakers, and a variety of other devices. It’s important to note that while it cleans, this gel won’t disinfect your bacteria-ridden surfaces, so you may want to run some disinfectant wipes over them after you’re done just to be on the safe side.
Putting it to the test
At first, I had to remind myself that this gel was meant for cleaning. During the first week or so that I had it, it sat on my desk and I kept taking it out in between writing stories and jumping on conference calls just to roll it around and smoosh it up.
As someone who is often typing on a phone or a keyboard, my hands get restless when they’re not in motion. Fidget spinners are fine, but personally, I preferred the softness and squishiness of this gel and loved that it gave my hands a way to keep busy between tasks.
Once I started cleaning with it, I immediately noticed a difference. The gel molded easily against my keyboard without leaving any residue behind and it picked up dust and food crumbs (judge not lest ye be judged) within seconds.
The gel also worked on other dusty surfaces, including shelves, tabletops, and televisions. When I ran it over my TV screen, it left streaks and a slight trail of gunk in its wake, which was easy to peel off but still a bit annoying. It was easier to use than a duster, but with extended use, my hands started to feel slick and somewhat slimey too.
In my car, I was able to quickly get rid of dust buildup on my dashboard and clean the steering wheel, cupholders, and other areas. When I ran it over the vents, the gel stuck to them, leaving behind some gooey residue that was easy to pick off, but added extra time to an otherwise fast cleaning process.
Would this gel melt if it was left in a warm car? I was curious, so I left it exposed on my dashboard for a few hours, in full view of the sun, just to see what would happen. The results? It worked just as well as it had earlier in the day—it was just a little warmer.
Is it reusable?
When I first got this gel, it was yellow and had a slight lemon scent. After a few weeks of regular and occasionally heavy use, it looked like something I’d coughed up the last time I had bronchitis. And that lemon scent? Long gone.
But much to my shock, as nasty as the gel itself looked, it was as pliable and effective at picking up dust and debris as it was in the beginning. Still, rolling a snot-colored ball of goo around in my hands started to feel unhygienic over time.
So how do you clean it? On Amazon, it specifically says that you can’t wash this gel with water. As I found out after I ran it under cold water, there’s a good reason for that. It dripped apart in my fingers and plopped in stringy pieces onto the sink with a splat. When I tried to roll it back together again, it was too slippery and left a funky, not at all lemon-fresh smell behind on my hands.
After that, I knew this gel was a goner. Short of picking off those big pieces of dirt, it seems there really isn’t a way to make this goo look and feel like new after it’s been used.
Is it worth it?
If you’re looking for a fast way to make dust and dirt disappear from tricky-to-clean surfaces, this cleaning gel can do the trick. While certain things like car vents can pose challenges and leave small traces of sticky goo behind, this was overall a good method for making things appear to be cleaner.
Although it’s reusable, the gel did get icky-looking over time. Unfortunately, there’s no real way to get rid of that grimy buildup, either. For that reason, you may need to replace it after heavy use.
But in the end, it didn’t make a difference to me. Whether I was twisting this gel up during a conference call or whacking it on the surface of my car’s dashboard to get rid of dust, the same feelings were there. Who cares if this is for cleaning, I thought to myself more than once. It’s fun.
I can use it in all the same ways that I remembered using Gak as a kid, only now when I'm playing with sticky slime, I'm doing mature things—responsible adult things—like making sure my car and keyboard look nicer. I'm "cleaning." And this time around, when I smooshed it into a ball, I threw it at my boyfriend instead of at my little sister. Like her, he was unamused, but I got a kick out of it—and for under $10, I got to relive a few silly childhood memories, too.
Prices are accurate at the time this article was published, but may change over time.