Cleaning mechanical keyboard

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Cleaning mechanical keyboard

Cleaning mechanical keyboard is an obligation if you want to your high-quality mechanical keyboard last for decades, but there is one catch: dust and grime can overtake a keyboard long before its switches or electronics begin to fail. Cleaning, the most important keyboard maintenance task, will keep contaminants in check.

Cleaning mechanical keyboard – Regular maintenance

1.Unplug your keyboard

2. Remove dust from the keyboard plate using a (handheld) vacuum. Make sure you go through all the keycaps and don’t press the vacuum’s tube hard. If possible, use an anti-static vacuum cleaner.
NOTE: Be careful while pressing vacuum’s tube, if you don’t end like this:

Be aware!

Wipe the entire keyboard down with a slightly damp microfiber cloth. Dry the keyboard using another cloth. Although a very common occurrence, avoid using paper towels since they tend to leave particles on the keyboard.

Cleaning mechanical keyboard-step by step

Tools you need:
• paper towels
• swabs
• paintbrush or toothbrush
• canned air compressor
• warm or almost hot water
• isopropyl alcohol
Optional :
• Keycap pullers
• Lubricant

Pulling the keycaps

  1. Unplug your keyboard.

If it’s wireless, turn it off and remove any batteries (if applicable).
Before removing keycaps, if you want, you can snap a quick picture of your keyboard, because you don’t want to put your keycaps back like this:

Improperly placed keycaps
Improperly placed keycaps

2. Remove all the keycaps.

Use a keycap puller to remove all of the keycaps from your keyboard. Most big keys are stabilized with wires (space, enter, shift, etc.), which makes them more difficult to remove. If you haven’t got keycap puller, you can pull them with your fingers, but BE CAREFUL, you must pull upwards only in one direction, and don’t pull in a strange angle. When you are finished with smaller keycaps, pull of larger keys, because usually for keys with stabilizers, you need to have an extra caution, taking into consideration that there are different types of stabilizers and you want to make sure that you can pull the keycap off cleanly without pulling the stabilizers off as well.

Mechanical keyboard without keycaps

Wash the keycaps

When you took off all of the keycaps, prepare a bowl of warm water (avoid HOT water) and dish soap,(denture cleaning tablets also works). Wash them using gentle dish soap and warm water on a paper towel. Be sure to remove any sticky residue or dirt from each key as you wash them.

You can also submerge the keycaps in a bowl containing a solution of warm water and denture cleaning tablets. Let the keycaps soak and then wipe them off.
Let the keycaps dry completely before attempting to reattach them to your mechanical keyboard. This could take up to 1 day.NOTE: While drying, don’t try to use a hairdryer because the heat might cause the plastic to warp or bend.

Washing the keycaps

Once the keys are all dried out using a dry microfiber cloth to give the keycaps one last wipe before putting it on the keyboard.

Cleaning the keyboard plate

Use a tiny paintbrush, sweep through in between the switches to get all dirt and dust-up. For even better-cleaning use q-tips or cotton swabs with alcohol. For the sides use a microfiber cloth also with alcohol.

Avoid getting the brush bristles near switch stems.
Be careful not to use too much alcohol so it doesn’t drip on the keyboard components.

Rebuilding keyboard

Use a picture of keyboard you snapped before, and put every keycap back in the correct place. Check if all keys works, you are ready to go with your renewed and cleaned keyboard!

If you have a membrane keyboard, check this guide.