How to Clean Your Mechanical Keyboard

March 23, 2014 8:29 pm Leave your thoughts

Quite a while back ago, I talked about the benefits of having good keyboards for your daily software development work as well as playing games obviously. Now, it’s all good when you first use the keyboard and all, however things gets a bit “interesting” as the keyboard becomes dirty. Not only that it becomes less hygienic, your keys might get stuck over time as well.

Fortunately It’s quite easy to clean a mechanical keyboard, especially because all the keys are attached to mechanical switches, it’s possible to lift all the keys one by one to clean the plate below the keys where most of the dirt resides. So here’s a quick listing of what I had to do to clean my keyboard.

Take a Picture of the Keyboard

Seriously, take a picture of your keyboard first, this will help when putting the keys back after cleaning. No matter how familiar you are with the keyboard, putting all the keys together is like playing puzzle.

Take off All the Keys

dirty keyboardThe next step is of course to pull out all of the keys from the keyboard. Don’t try to do this with your bare hands or using sharp objects like butter knife. Using pliers or tweezers are not a good idea as well as it might damage the keys or even break them.

To achieve best result, use a dedicated mechanical keyboard wire keycap puller. This way it’s much easier to pull the keys out.


Wash the Keys

Wash the keysAfter you have successfully take out all of your keys, wash them in a strainer. I simply run cold water with a bit of detergent and I dry them off afterwards by laying them on a towel.

Obviously it’s always a good idea not to be too rough when washing them, you don’t want any of the keys to crack after all.



Clean the Keyboard Base

To clean the keyboard base it’s best to use pressurised air cans. Using water is not advisable of course, perhaps some damp cloths if there are some sticky dirts. Buying these pressurised cleaning duster is useful for other things anyway, such as cleaning camera lenses if needed or other computer parts.

Another thing that I used to clean the keyboard base is the blower brush, the cans can blow of almost all the dust but some of the finer ones can stick a bit and blower brush is your friend.

Here’s a photo of the keyboard base after thorough cleaning:

Clean base

Put the Keys Back

After the keys dried up and you are happy that the base is all good and clean, put the keys back together. If you ever forgot where the keys should have been, just take a look at the photo that you took previously :)

There, now your keyboard will feel like new again, especially if you have one with backlights (no more dust showing through they keys gaps).


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