How to Clean Your Mechanical Keyboard

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The mechanical keyboard is an amazing input device for gamers and typists. It’s also a bit of a pain to keep clean. With the constant sweat from your palms on the keys, combined with crumbs from your snacks and the occasional accidental spill, it’s no wonder that many people shy away from mechanical keyboards as regular desk companions. Luckily, there are some simple ways to keep your mechanical keyboard clean, so it doesn’t become a festering cesspool of bacteria and filth.

Anyway, here are some tips on how to clean a mechanical keyboard. 

Mechanical Keyboard
Photo by Vipul Jha on Unsplash

Simple Cleaning

Let’s look at a simple cleaning method for mechanical keyboards first. Before you begin cleaning, disconnect the keyboard every time to avoid accidentally pressing keys or pulling the cable, among other things. Whenever you do simple cleaning, you’re essentially just removing dust, crumbs, hair, or other debris that accumulates on the keyboard surface and between the keycaps.

Use a simple air blower to blow off particles or loosen debris that may have settled. Then you can gently shake the keyboard after flipping it upside-down to remove any loose particles. We don’t recommend using compressed air from a can to remove particles, as we have seen it cause condensation that damages keyboards.

You can use a cleaning brush to clean dust and debris from between the keycaps or in hard-to-reach corners. To eliminate sweat stains and smudges, particularly those on the keycaps or wrist pads of the keyboard, use a clean, damp cloth. That is pretty much all there is to simple cleaning. It may not be sufficient if you have not cleaned your keyboard in months, but a routine cleanup every few days is sufficient to avoid time-consuming deep cleaning.

Photo by Erik Mclea on Unsplash

Deep Cleaning

If you haven’t cleaned your keyboard in a long time or if you dropped something on it, the steps listed above won’t be enough. You must perform a deep clean. The first thing you should do is remove the keycaps from the board. A keycap puller, typically included with keyboards, may be used to remove the keycaps. It’s possible to purchase one on Amazon if yours didn’t come with one. Although the keys should come off easily, be more careful when removing larger ones such as the spacebar, enter, backspace, etc. You may harm the stabilizers if you aren’t careful when removing them.

Organizing the keycaps as you remove them is also a good idea. Alternatively, you can photograph the keyboard layout before removing the keycaps. This will make reassembling the keyboard once you’re finished cleaning easy.

Use a cleaning brush or an air blower to clean the deck after removing the keycaps. In the event that you spilt coffee or soda (hopefully not) on your keyboard in the past, use a damp cloth to remove the stains. Isopropyl alcohol is recommended for more persistent stains. Do not pour any liquids directly on the keyboard. You may apply some on a cleaning cloth and then wipe the surface. This safeguards the PCB from damage if any liquids leak into the internals. Ensure the keyboard’s feet and cables are free of dirt and dust.

If you’re an expert at building mechanical keyboards, you can further deconstruct the board for a thorough cleanup, but it’s not required. Most of the dust and debris remain on the keyboard deck, so you can avoid dismantling it. We do not recommend dismantling the keyboard if you are unfamiliar with the procedure.

Photo by Towfiqu Barbhuiya on Unsplash

How Often Should You Clean Your Mechanical Keyboard?

It is wise to clean your mechanical keyboard with a damp cloth and gentle cleaning solution once a week to prevent the accumulation of bacteria and harmful microbes. This is especially crucial if you share your computer with other family members or friends.

How much you use your mechanical keyboard, how dirty it gets, and how much free time you have determine how effectively you clean it. Some tech aficionados scrub every keycap and the base of their mechanical keyboard once a month, but this is probably too demanding for the typical computer user.

Rather than setting a goal to clean your mechanical keyboard thoroughly once a year, you should set a goal to clean it once at the beginning of each New Year. Then, if you have extra time several months into the year, give it a second clean. If you can clean it more often than this, all the better.

Conclusion

Cleaning your mechanical keyboard may seem daunting, but it doesn’t have to be. Follow these steps, and you’ll be able to clean your keyboard quickly and thoroughly. And don’t forget to give it a shake every once in a while.

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