How to Clean A Mechanical Keyboard
In this tutorial, we will explain how to clean your mechanical keyboard, from the keycaps to the top card, and the best without buying anything specific for it.
The vast majority of us use a computer daily, whether at work or home.
Whether to play games or to type an article, or comment on a friend’s post on Facebook.
And regardless of what you use a keyboard in your everyday life, they all get dirty, primarily if you work near a building, or if your home is under renovation.
But how can we clean the keyboard without damaging it? Is it necessary to open it?
These are the questions we will answer in this article/tutorial on how to clean your mechanical keyboard.
You can also watch the video tutorial, click on it below.
How to Clean A Mechanical Keyboard: Tools Needed
The process of cleaning your mechanical keyboard is so simple that tools will not be needed so that I will refer to them as utensils.
Some of these objects are usually shipped with your mechanical keyboard, but this is not always the case.
Well, a brush doesn’t come with your mechanical keyboard, but chances are you already have one at home.
Its measurement should be average, not too small to the point that the fibres are too fragile but not too large to be able to reach the corners of the keyboard.
Here we use a 1.5 “brush, which I think is ideal for cleaning the keyboard.
If it is not clean, I recommend cleaning and leaving no residue, and need to be dry to avoid the risk of damage to any component.
This is one of the tools that usually come included in mechanical keyboards, from the cheapest to the most expensive.
As we have some keyboards that we reviewed still in our office, we have two distinct models of Pullers, and which one you will use is indifferent.
If your keyboard does not include one of these, no problem, as they are also cheap and easy to find over the internet. Linking a Keycap Puller for under $ 1, proving it’s super affordable.
Yes, two towels, one will be used to clean the top plate and keycaps, while the other will try to dry the keycaps after washing them.
Now that we have all the necessary components let’s start our tutorial!
How to Clean A Mechanical Keyboard: The Process
Remove All Keycaps
It may seem a little obvious, but the obvious has to be said. I recommend taking a picture of the top of the keyboard with the keycaps still attached, so you know where each one goes.
After that, take it out one by one until all have been removed.
After that, take a bowl of water and put all the keycaps inside. We will not use any kind of soap and / or detergent, so there is no risk of staining, damage or malfunction of the keycaps, and the dirt comes out with water without difficulty.
Leave the keycaps inside the water basin, because now let’s focus on the keyboard itself, we go back to the keycaps later.
Cleaning the keyboard
Now we will begin the keyboard cleaning process. We will take our dry cloth together with the brush and start from top to bottom.
How much you rub and brush the brush depends on the amount and type of dirt on your keyboard, so rub it until you see it is clean, and compare it to the bottom row to be sure.
Start by wiping the brush across the keyboard, so we remove the most superficial dirt on the keyboard and lessen how much we need to clean it later.
Again, do it top to bottom so that there is no dirt coming back to areas of the keyboard that we have already started the process.
When it is necessary to clean between the switches, I recommend forming one end with the cloth, do this in the centre of the cloth, not the ends, as we do not want pieces of fabric attached to the keyboard, or falling inside the keyboard.
Wipe the cloth gently, not forcing too much to avoid pinching pieces on the sharpest parts of the switches, and to make the final finish, wipe the brush, again not applying too much force as fibres may fall and get stuck in the middle.
You can repeat the same process on the sides and bottom of the keyboard, and again I don’t recommend using water as it can seep into the inside of the keyboard or the fixing screws and rust, so just stick to the cloth and brush. Is it longer? It is, but it is also safer and ensures that we will not damage the internal parts.
Above is the result of cleaning the top plate, you can compare with the picture of Ducky just above and see a big difference.
Clearing the keycaps
Now that we’re done with the keyboard let’s turn around the keycaps, which were in a basin of water by the time we cleaned the keyboard, and so some dirt must have come out.
Set aside a small clean pot next to it so you can put the already cleaned keycaps in it and take it to dry later.
This is where our dry cloth comes into play, and we will use it to scrub the thicker dirt that still surrounds the Keycap. You can also, if you wish, bring another dry cloth to remove excess water from them, but it is not necessary.
Just as we had to remove each separate Keycap, we will clean them all apart as well. If your keyboard has double-shot or unpainted keycaps, you can scrub with medium pressure that there will be no problem.
Now, if they are Laser type, as is the case with one of our keyboards used in this tutorial, I recommend gently wiping the cloth.
The reason is simple: do not remove the upper paint because of friction. I’ve seen cases of people cleaning laser print keycaps that eventually removed some of the dye, and thus lost the original shape of the letter.
After rubbing each of your keycaps, put them in the clean pot you separated before, and take them to a place where there is no sun or excessive heat, preferably on your PC table – if it is clean and does not catch sunshine – or on any table in the house.
Let them dry entirely until there is no moisture left in them. We need to do this so that no water drips into the switch when they are re-attached to the keyboard.
You can help with the drying process using a COLD, SOLD-FREE AIR dryer, and that’s it.
Once they are completely dry, and make sure of it – don’t forget to look underneath where it fits back in the switch – you can reinsert them into your keyboard.
Use the photo you took earlier to see where each key goes to make sure there are no letters and / or symbols exchanged.
And it’s ready! You just cleaned your mechanical keyboard, and it should look much more attractive now than when we started the process.
I’ll leave a photo gallery comparing both keyboards before and after, to see that cleaning a keyboard can make a big difference.