Keyboards that use mechanical switches are some of the best keyboards you can buy today—especially for gaming applications. While such keyboards are meant to last for decades, they won’t be able to offer the best performance for years without the regular maintenance and cleaning.
With time, mechanical keyboards will catch grime and dust. If not regularly cleaned, this dirt and grime will cause the electronics and mechanical switches in the keyboard with start to fail. As such, cleaning is an important part of mechanical keyboard maintenance.
In order to clean your mechanical keyboard properly, here are the steps you should take:
1. Start by Cleaning the Surface
Table of Contents
- 1 1. Start by Cleaning the Surface
- 2 2. Cleaning the Inside of a Mechanical Keyboard
- 3 Wrap-Up
Cleaning the surface of a mechanical keyboard is rather easy. This should be done after every few days to get rid of dust and dirt that may have collected on the surface. If you happen to accidentally spill a liquid on your keyboard, it is advisable to clean it right away to prevent damage.
Regardless of the case, this is the procedure you should use while cleaning the surface of a mechanical keyboard:
Cleaning a Liquid Spill
Have you accidentally spilled a liquid on your keyboard? If so, you need to act fast in order to prevent damage to the keyboard. In this regard, you should:
- Disconnect the keyboard from the computer to prevent it from short circuiting
- Use a paper towel, disposable cleaning wipes or a bath towel to soak up the spilled liquid. Just press the towel to paper towel gently against the keyboard to absorb the spilled liquid.
- Having soaked up all the spilled liquid, you need to allow the keyboard to air dry. In this regard, you need to allow the keyboard 2 to 3 days to air dry completely before trying out anything else on it.
This is just regular cleaning of the keyboard to remove dirt from its surface. This should be carried out after every few days. if you had accidentally spilled a liquid on the keyboard, you first need to soak up the liquid and allow the keyboard to air dry completely before proceeding to this cleaning phase.
Regardless of the case, these are the steps you are supposed to take:
- Use a damp wipe or paper towel to wipe down the surface of the mechanical keyboard. While doing this, you should be sure to clean off any sticky patches on the surface of the keyboard.
- Wiping off the dirt on the surface of a keyboard will prevent it from getting down to the key switches and cause more problems.
- Disposable cleaning wipes may also be used to wipe the surface of a mechanical keyboard clean
- Apply Jelly compound in cleaning the surface of your keyboard. This compound has been proven to be highly effective at cleaning keyboards. This may be attributed to the fact that the compound can conform to the spaces in your keyboard.
- The jelly compound will attract all the dirt and debris stuck in the tight spaces on your keyboard.
- You can as well remove the keycaps for a thorough cleaning experience
- With the keycaps removed, you should then dab this sticky substance on the mechanical keyboard.
- For this step, you should ensure that the jelly compound you are using is not too sticky to avoid leaving some of it struck on the keyboard.
2. Cleaning the Inside of a Mechanical Keyboard
Even with regular cleaning of the surface of a keyboard, some dirt will still manage to penetrate to the inside of the keyboard. If left unattended to, such dirt and debris may cause the mechanical key switches to fail with time.
To prevent this from happening to your keyboard, it is advisable that you clean the inside of the keyboard every once in a while. To be able to do this, you need to take the keyboard apart. This needs to be done correctly to avoid damaging the keyboard.
In this regard, these are the steps you should take:
Removing the Keycaps
To be able to clean the inside of a mechanical keyboard, you first need to remove the keycaps. To do this:
- You should pull them our one after another. In order to do this correctly, you should consider using a keycap puller. While using a keycap puller, you are supposed to push each of the keycaps downwards before pulling it out.
- To avoid confusions, it is advisable to keep the keys sorted as you pull them out. This will make it easier for you to reapply the keycaps once you are done cleaning.
- Having removed the keycaps, you should now proceed to wash them using gentle dish soap water. For the best results, it is advisable to use warm water to clean the keycaps
- In order to scrub all dirt and sticky patches from the keycaps, you should use a paper towel to clean them.
- You may submerge the keycaps into a bowl containing a warm soap solution to soak them before cleaning or just damp the paper towel with the soap water and use it to wipe the keycaps clean.
- You may as well use denture cleaning tablets in the water solution for the best cleaning results
- Once they are clean, you should lay the keycaps out to dry out. Leave them to dry out for a day or two before you reattach them to the keyboard.
Damp all Foreign Substances inside the Keyboard
Having cleaned the keycaps, it is now time to clean the inside of your mechanical keyboard. To do this, you should:
- Take the keyboard outside with the keycaps removed and turn it upside down to damp all debris and dirt inside.
- While doing this, you need to be very careful not to damp any of the internal components of the keyboard. As such, you should just shake it gently to get rid of the dirt and debris inside
- You should then spray compressed canned air into the keyboard, while still held upside down. This will help remove even more dirt and grime from the inside of the keyboard.
Use Alcohol and a Pipe Cleaner to Clean the Keyboard
At this point, you will have removed much of the dirt and debris from the inside of your keyboard. You should then proceed to clean the inside. To do this, you should follow these steps:
- Dampen the pipe cleaner using rubbing alcohol
- Run the damp pipe cleaner gently along the spaces of the dismantled keyboard to clean it.
- At this point, you should avoid using too much alcohol to prevent the liquid from dripping onto the inner components of the keyboard
- Allow the rubbing alcohol to dry out completely before reassembling the keyboard to prevent the keyboard from short circuiting
Reassembling the Keyboard
You have now cleaned the keycaps and the inner parts of your keyboard and allowed them enough time to dry out. It is now time to reassemble the components. In this regard, you are supposed to snap each of the keycaps back to its initial position on the keyboard.
Though necessary, dismantling your mechanical keyboard to clean the inside is a bit risky. While at it, you need to be very careful not to damage the keyboard.
Other than that, the above discussed steps will help you clean the inside and outside of your mechanical keyboard on your own.