There are several ways you can clean a mechanical keyboard, but the method I recommend has a couple of extra benefits that will help improve its performance.
It’s always a challenge to keep your mechanical keyboard in tip-top shape. With all the moving parts, it’s easy to forget about those little things that can damage the keycaps. We’re talking about fingerprints, dust, dirt, grease, and other sticky stuff. And when the keys start to feel worn out, it’s usually because there’s something wrong with the switches. This guide will help you remove all the grime and other gunk from your keyboard and then keep the inside clean, fresh, and well-oiled for many years to come.
There’s nothing more frustrating for a computer geek than a poorly designed or even non-functional keyboard. In this article, I’ll teach you how to clean your mechanical keyboard.
Step by step guide on how to clean your mechanical keyboard
Using the keycap puller tool
So the first thing you want to do is get all the keycaps off the keyboard. You can use a special keycap pulling tool. This makes it easier to pull the keycaps off the keyboard.
Removing the keycaps
Continue removing all the keycaps and put them in a neat pile to the side of the keyboard. Now once you get some of the bigger keys off, such as the space bar, you can start to see all the dirt and the grime and the fur caught underneath those keycaps.
Cleaning the keycaps with soap
Next, we want to clean the keycaps first. We need a little bit of dishwashing detergent and some warm water. So you want to make sure the water is warm but not too hot. Otherwise, you could melt the plastic. And then you want to put a little bit of dishwashing detergent into a bowl or a cup, whatever you’ve got there, and fill it all up with the warm water.
Then we’re simply just going to put all of the keycaps into the warm, soapy water, and we’re going to give them a bit of a mix around for about 30 seconds or so, and then we’re going to leave them there for 15 to 20 minutes.
Now, this is going to try and dissolve all that grease, some of the grime, make it a little bit easier to wipe off in the next stage, but you want to let it sit there for a little bit to let the detergent soak into the dirt, so it comes off. You can see a little bit of the dirt and the grime swirling around in the water. After about 15 to 20 minutes, you want to come and look at them.
They should be feeling a little cleaner in hand. A quick tip to get all of the soap out of the bowl and the keycaps are just to run the whole thing under cold, clean water for about 30 seconds to a minute. And what this does is it’s going to push the soap out the top as you can see there, the soapsuds are getting smaller and smaller. It’ll be clean after about 30 seconds, and there’ll be very little soap residue in the bowl.
Drying the keycaps
The next step is to clean the keys with a towel or some rag. So you want to give it a good scrub, and you also want to give it a good tap against the rag or a table because you want to try and get all that moisture and water out from underneath the actual keycap.
So generally, I’ll tap it a few times in my hand and then tap it a few times when I put it down on a clean towel. Once you’ve done all the keycaps, you want to leave them there for a couple of hours to dry, and this is when you can switch over to the keyboard.
For the keyboard, you want to use some soft bristle brushes. I don’t recommend vacuuming it because that introduces a lot of static electricity to the keyboard. Right now, I’m just using one of the Dyson attachments, and I’m just basically brushing the keyboard. You can see all of the crumbs, and the cat fur comes off pretty easily during this stage. Don’t be afraid to be a little bit rough with the soft bristle brush because mechanical keyboards, by their nature, are fairly sturdy.
Wiping keyboard with Q-tip
Getting the dirt and the grime off the existing base of the keyboard itself is also relatively straightforward. You always want to make sure it’s unplugged, and there’s no power going to it, get a Q-tip or a cotton bud, damp the tip slightly and just run it across the length of the keyboard.
You want to do a little bit of scrubbing here and there, get those pieces of gunk off. I have seen some people use methylated spirits or some alcohol-based cleaner, but I generally prefer staying with water because it’s quite safe, and you only need a little bit. As you can see there, after about two or three minutes with the Q-tip, it is pretty much brand new.
You want to make sure all the keycaps are dry, and if they are, you can then start to put them back onto the keyboard one by one. You’ll probably screw it up once or twice like me, so don’t be too hard on yourself.
Do mechanical keyboards need to be cleaned?
While many people don’t know how to clean them, cleaning is one of the most important things you can do for your mechanical keyboard. When you’re first learning to type on a keyboard, dust can accumulate over time, and if not cleaned out regularly, it will eventually cause your keys to stick or malfunction. Once dust builds up on your keyboard, it can also make it harder for your hand to correctly position itself above the keys—not a great way to type.
How do I clean the dusty mechanical keyboard?
Mechanical keyboards have always been my go-to choice for typing, but they can become a bit dusty after years of use. One of the first steps you need to take is to clean off any dust accumulated on the keys. To clean it, first, remove any stickers or labels on the keys, then use a dry, lint-free cloth to wipe away any dust or debris.
A few things to remember when you’re cleaning your mechanical keyboard: Always check your keyboard for dust and debris before you start cleaning. If you need to use compressed air, make sure to always turn it off before removing it from your computer. Also, it’s best to vacuum out any dust you can see and only use an air duster for dust that is too fine to vacuum out.