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How to clean Alcantara on Microsoft's Surface keyboards and covers

The Signature Type Cover (opens in new tab) and Surface Ergonomic Keyboard (opens in new tab) feature Alcantara. We recently looked at just how durable these pricey extras can be, but here we show you how to keep it looking like new.

Products used in this guide

How to clean your Alcantara keyboard

Cleaning Alcantara is not a difficult task. Microsoft recommends the to follow this guide when cleaning its Type Cover Keyboards.

First, you're going to want to use some compressed gas or a lint-free cloth to get rid of any dirt and particles that may have collected on or underneath the keys, as well as the surface and on all sides. Once this has been completed, it'll be easier to analyze just how much cleaning you'll need to do to remove tough marks or oil stains from daily use.

  1. Pour some warm water into a bowl.
  2. Add the mild liquid soap.
  3. Dampen a lint-free cloth into the mixture.
  4. Rinse and gently wipe down the Keyboard/Type Cover.
  5. Repeat until clean.

If stains and marks remain after a few runs with the cloth, it may be time to apply some Alcantara cleaner, which should get rid of these unwanted blemishes. We recommend giving a keyboard or Type Cover a cleaning once a week (depending on use) to prevent build-up.

How to clean specific substances from Alcantara

Surface Pro 4

The official Alcantara website details how you can remove specific stains or spillages:

  • Fruit juice, jam, jelly, syrup or ketchup — Lukewarm water; rinse by dabbing with clean water.
  • Blood, egg, excrement or urine — Cold water; avoid warm water because it makes these substances coagulate, rinse by dabbing with clean water.
  • Liquors, alcoholic beverages, wine, beer, coke or tea — Lukewarm water; if the color mark remains, treat with lemon juice and then rinse it well.
  • Indelible pencil, cocoa, chocolate, pastry with cream or chocolate, ice-cream, or mustard — Lukewarm water; rinse by dabbing with clean water.
  • Vinegar, hair gel, tomato sauce or coffee with sugar — Lemon juice and then wipe with lukewarm water; rinse by dabbing with clean water.

The best way to clean

You'll need the following equipment to clean your Alcantara keyboard.

Cloths aren't just great for cleaning all your PC gear. They're fantastic for using around the house, picking up all manner of dirt. This pack of 12 allows you to deploy them for different tasks, switch them out for washing and more.

Other cleaning supplies

As well as the microfiber cloth, you'll want to purchase these additional accessories to really make your Alcantara last.

GOJO LTX-12 Clear & Mild Foam Soap (opens in new tab) ($48 at Amazon)

Clean all the germs, grime and other nastiness from the Alcantara surface.

Sonax Upholstery and Alcantara Cleaner (opens in new tab) ($20 at Amazon)

A great solution to spray some life back into worn Alcantara.

EasyGo CompuCleaner 2.0 (opens in new tab) ($45 at Amazon)

Cans of compressed air are useful, but save yourself money in the long term with this compressor.

Rich Edmonds
Rich Edmonds

Rich Edmonds is Senior Editor of PC hardware at Windows Central, covering everything related to PC components and NAS. He's been involved in technology for more than a decade and knows a thing or two about the magic inside a PC chassis. You can follow him over on Twitter at @RichEdmonds.