Full Guide to Clean a Mechanical Keyboard

How to Clean Mechanical Keyboard

Mechanical keyboards are bound to accumulate dust, grime, and debris over time. This can not only impact the responsiveness of the keys, but also the overall performance of your PC. Here are some tips on how to clean a mechanical keyboard to keep your gaming or office PC working at its optimum.

Computer keyboards should always be kept clean and in good shape. In this post, we’ll elaborate on how to clean a mechanical keyboard. Before we get the specific details of the cleaning operations, let’s digress a little and talk about the tools and supplies needed to get the job done.


Keyboard Cleaning Supplies

keyboard cleaning kit

You’ll need a number of items to help with the cleaning operation. Some of these include:

  • Flat headed screwdriver
  • Steel wire keycap puller
  • Sterilizer (denture cleaning tablets will do) or alcohol
  • Small bowl
  • Vacuum cleaner,
  • Brush (toothbrush and a long keyboard brush)
  • Microfiber cloth.

How to Clean a Mechanical Keyboard

There are two main methods of cleaning a mechanical keyboard:

  • Light/Regular Cleaning

Regular keyboard Cleaning

Light cleaning your mechanical keyboard is pretty easy and quick. Like deep cleaning, regular cleaning can extend the lifespan of keyboards.

Here are instructions on how to light clean your keyboard:

  • Use a damp microfiber cloth, cotton swabs, or a piece of towel dampened with a sterilizer or alcohol, then use that to wipe off the amounts of dust, dirt, and grime from your keyboard. You can also use disinfectant wipes instead.
  • Let the keyboard air dry or wipe with a dry cloth before you can start using it.
  • Tip! Light cleaning of mechanical motherboards should be done at least once a week in order to prevent the buildup of dust, grime, and dead skin cells.

  • Deep Cleaning

This method of keyboard cleaning is more thorough and in-depth. Deep cleaning is best for keyboards that’ve been discolored with dirt or those that have become slow and unresponsive due to the buildup of dust and dirt. Moreover, it’s been found to boost gaming performance on PCs. Here’s a quick breakdown of how to deep clean a mechanical keyboard:

Step 1: Unplug Your Keyboard

Unplug Your Keyboard

Before you start cleaning, it is important to detach the mechanical keyboard from your computer. That way, you can maneuver it however you want during the clean-up operation. Besides, unplugging the peripheral from your PC also prevents the risk of electric shock, considering that you’ll need to take the keyboard apart during the deep cleaning.

Step 2: Vacuuming

Keyboard Vacuuming

After disconnecting the keyboard from your computer, use a vacuum cleaner to remove loose dust and dirt from beneath, atop, or between the keys. If you don’t have a vacuum cleaner, a hairdryer can also get the job done. While a vacuum cleaner vacuums the dirt and dust, the hairdryer blows it from the keyboard. So, whichever you choose to go with, ultimately, they serve the same purpose.

Step 3: Disassemble the Entire Keyboard

Disassemble the Entire Keyboard

Now, this is where things can get a little complicated, especially for beginners. That notwithstanding, taking a mechanical keyboard apart is as easy as it gets. You’ll need a flat-headed screwdriver or a steel wire keycap puller to get that done. Also, ensure you have all the other necessary supplies and tools close by for when you need them.

Remove and Clean Keyboard Caps

wash Keyboard Caps

  • Use a flat-headed screwdriver, a steel wire keycap puller, or a bent paper clip to remove the keycaps.
  • Soak all the removed keycaps in a small bowl filled with lukewarm water mixed with a sterilizer.
  • Use a brush with sturdy bristles to wash clean any excess dirt on the keycaps. For grime and dirt that can’t be removed by brushing, consider using an ultrasonic cleaner if you have one.
  • Rinse the keycaps and set them out in the open to air dry.

Clean Keyboard Plates

Clean Keyboard Plates with vacume cleaner

  • As aforementioned, keyboard plates secure the keycaps in place. With the keycaps removed, the plates are exposed and can therefore be easily cleaned.  To do that, follow these steps:
  • Use a vacuum cleaner or hairdryer to remove loose dirt and dead skin from the surface. Remember that a vacuum cleaner vacuums the dust and dirt while a hairdryer blows away actual dust from your mechanical keyboard.
  • Remove any stubborn dirt and stains with a keyboard brush.
  • If you neither have a vacuum cleaner nor a hairdryer handy, another awesome way to clean mechanical keyboard plates would be by using a keyboard mud. This works by sticking out all the surface dirt and grime. And it does a great job at peeling off stubborn stains too.

Step 4: Reassemble the Keyboard

Keyboard Reassemble

Reassemble the Keyboard

Once you’ve cleaned the entire keyboard, including the switches and plates, it’s time to reassemble it back. To do that, check and confirm that the keycaps are dry. That done, replace the keycaps by applying a little pressure till they pop back into place. If you aren’t conversant with keyboard installation operation, take a look at this picture.

  • Tip! Mechanical keyboard deep cleaning should be done once every 1-2 months or after a couple of months.

Cleaning Spills on Mechanical Keyboards

Spills on Mechanical Keyboards

Sometimes you might accidentally spill water, coffee, milk, or juice on the keyboard. How do you go about cleaning that? Here’s how:

  • First, act fast and turn the keyboard upside down so that the liquid doesn’t penetrate further into the electronics board.
  • Unplug the mechanical keyboard from the PC.
  • Use your flat-headed screwdriver or keycap puller to remove the keycaps.
  • With the keyboard apart, use a dry microfiber cloth to wipe off the spill from the plates and switches.
  • With the spill out of the way, you go ahead and remove any visible dirt and grime from the keycaps, plates, and switches.
  • After that, air dries the keyboard by setting it in an open space.
  • When all the components are dry, reassemble the keyboard.

Clean your keyboard regularly
Keyboard, mouse, and mouse pad are the most common peripherals we use. Keeping them clean can make you have a comfortable Internet mood and reduce the breeding of many germs. Please keep them clean once a month.

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