A mechanical keyboard is known for its tactile feedback and durability, making it a popular choice among gamers and typists alike. However, over time, mechanical keyboard switches can accumulate dirt, dust, and debris, affecting their performance and longevity.
In this article, we will discuss how to clean mechanical keyboard switches to maintain their optimal functionality.
Before We Get Started – Here Are 5 Reasons Why It’s Important To Clean Your Mechanical Keyboard Switches Regularly:
- Regular cleaning helps to prevent malfunctions caused by dust and debris buildup in the switches, which can cause them to malfunction or stop working altogether.
- Clean switches can lead to improved performance by reducing the chance of missed keystrokes and improving response time.
- Neglecting to clean your mechanical keyboard switches can shorten their lifespan. Regular cleaning helps to extend the lifespan of your keyboard and protect your investment.
- Keyboards can harbor germs and bacteria, which can be spread through frequent use. Regular cleaning helps to reduce the spread of germs and keeps you healthier.
- In addition to its functional benefits, cleaning your keyboard switches regularly can help preserve their appearance and prevent the buildup of dirt and grease, which can cause discoloration and make the keyboard look unattractive over time.
It’s Important To Note That Cleaning Mechanical Keyboard Switches Can Be A Delicate Process. Please Keep The Below Things In Mind Before Starting The Process:
- Be gentle: Whether using a brush or a cleaning solution, it’s important to be gentle when cleaning your switches. Applying too much pressure can damage the switches or cause them to break.
- Take your time: Cleaning your keyboard switches properly can take some time, but it’s worth it to keep your keyboard working well and looking good.
- Avoid using water: Water can damage the switches, so it’s best to use a cleaning solution that includes isopropyl alcohol or a similar cleaning agent.
If Not Done Correctly, You Could Damage The Switches, Resulting In A Costly Repair Or Replacement. Therefore, It’s Essential To Be Careful And Patient When Cleaning Your Mechanical Keyboard Switches:
Before you start cleaning your mechanical keyboard switches, you will need some tools. These include:
- Keycap Puller: A keycap puller is a small tool used to remove the keycaps from the keyboard. It comes in handy when you need to clean the keyboard switches thoroughly.
- Cleaning Brush: A cleaning brush is used to remove dust and debris from the keyboard switches. You can use a soft-bristled brush, such as a toothbrush or a makeup brush, for this purpose.
- Compressed Air Can: A compressed air can is used to blow away dust and debris from the keyboard switches. You can find them at most computer or office supply stores.
- Isopropyl Alcohol: Isopropyl alcohol is a cleaning solution that is used to remove dirt and grime from keyboard switches.
To begin the cleaning process, it is recommended to take a picture of your mechanical keyboard for two important reasons. Firstly, it will help you remember the location of each key.
While you may know most of the keys’ positions, it can be challenging to recall the location of less commonly used keys such as Print Screen, Scroll Lock, and Pause/Break. Having a picture of the keyboard as a reference can be helpful in such cases.
Secondly, taking a picture of your keyboard before cleaning can help you notice the difference in appearance after cleaning. The before and after comparison will help you appreciate the effort you put into cleaning the keyboard, and it can also motivate you to clean it regularly in the future.
Steps to Clean Mechanical Keyboard Switches:
Now that you have all the necessary tools, let’s dive into the steps for cleaning your mechanical keyboard switches.
Step 1: Turn Off Your Keyboard and Unplug It.
Before you start cleaning your mechanical keyboard switches, turn off your keyboard and unplug it from your computer. This is important to avoid any accidental keystrokes that could cause damage to your computer.
Step 2: Remove the Keycaps.
Next, remove the keycaps from the keyboard using the keycap puller. Gently insert the keycap puller underneath the keycap and lift it up. Repeat this process for all the keycaps.
Step 3: Blow Away the Dust.
After removing the keycaps, using the compressed air can blow away any dust and debris that may have accumulated in the keyboard switches. Hold the can a few inches away from the switches and spray in short bursts. Be careful not to spray too close, as this could damage the switches.
Step 4: Clean the Keyboard Switches
After blowing away the dust, it’s time to clean the keyboard switches. Dip the cleaning brush in isopropyl alcohol and gently brush the switches. Be careful not to apply too much pressure, as this could damage the switches.
Cleaning Your Mechanical Keyboard Switches Can Be Done Using A Few Different Methods. Here Are Three Ways To Clean Your Switches:
- Compressed Air – A popular and easy method to remove dust, hair, and other debris is by using compressed air. Simply hold the canister upright and spray short bursts of air onto the switches. Make sure to hold the canister at a safe distance of six inches away from the keyboard to avoid damaging the switches.
- Cleaning Solution – For stubborn grime or gunk, a cleaning solution may be necessary. Create a cleaning solution by mixing equal parts of water and isopropyl alcohol in a bowl. A cloth or cotton swab should be dipped in the solution and gently wipe the switches. Use a small amount of liquid to avoid seepage into the switches, which can cause damage. Allow the switches to dry completely before using the keyboard.
- Brush – A soft-bristled brush is an effective tool to remove larger debris, such as pet hair and food crumbs. Gently sweep around the switches with the brush, making sure not to press down on them. To remove any remaining debris, use compressed air.
Step 5: Dry the Keyboard Switches.
After cleaning the keyboard switches, wait for a few minutes to let the isopropyl alcohol evaporate. To finish the drying process quickly, use a hairdryer on low heat. Do not use high heat, as this could damage the switches.
Step 6: Replace the Keycaps.
Once the keyboard switches are dry, it’s time to replace the keycaps. Gently press the keycaps back onto the switches, making sure that they are aligned correctly.
Step 7: Plug In and Test Your Keyboard
Finally, plug in your keyboard and test it to make sure that all the keys are working correctly. If any keys are not working correctly, repeat the cleaning process or seek professional help.
Tips to Keep Your Mechanical Keyboard Switches Clean
Cleaning your mechanical keyboard switches is not a one-time task. You need to do it regularly to maintain the optimal performance of your keyboard. Here are some tips to keep your mechanical keyboard switches clean:
- Wash Your Hands Before Using Your Keyboard: This may seem like an obvious tip, but it’s essential to wash your hands before using your mechanical keyboard. Our hands can carry dirt, oil, and grime that can accumulate on the keyboard switches over time. By washing your hands before using your keyboard, you can prevent the buildup of dirt and grime on the switches.
- Use a Keyboard Cover: A keyboard cover is a protective cover that fits over your keyboard to prevent dust, dirt, and spills from reaching the switches. This is especially useful if you use your keyboard in a dusty or dirty environment or if you tend to spill drinks or food near your keyboard.
- Clean Your Keyboard Regularly: As mentioned earlier, cleaning your keyboard switches regularly is essential to maintain optimal performance. Depending on how frequently you use your keyboard, you may need to clean it once every few weeks or once a month. You can also use a vacuum cleaner to remove dust and debris from your keyboard.
- Avoid Eating or Drinking Near Your Keyboard: Eating or drinking near your keyboard can cause spills that can damage your keyboard switches. Additionally, crumbs and food particles can get stuck in the switches, causing them to malfunction over time.
- Store Your Keyboard Properly: When not in use, store your keyboard in a clean and dry place. Avoid exposing it to extreme temperatures or direct sunlight, as this can damage the switches.
In conclusion, cleaning your mechanical keyboard switches is essential to maintain their optimal performance and longevity. By following the steps and tips mentioned in this article, you can keep your keyboard switches clean and functional for years to come. Remember to be patient and careful when cleaning your switches to avoid any damage and seek professional help if needed.