Do you love the feel and sound of your mechanical keyboard, but hate the way it looks after a few months of use? If so, you’re not alone.
Over time, mechanical keyboards can get dirty and clogged with dust, dirt, and other debris. This can not only make your keyboard look unsightly, but it can also affect the performance of your switches.
The good news is that it’s relatively easy to clean your mechanical keyboard switches. In this article, we’ll show you how to do it step-by-step.
We’ll also provide some tips on how to keep your keyboard clean in the future.
So what are you waiting for? Let’s get started!
Before we go ahead and start cleaning, first of all, understand the keyboard switches.
What Are the Mechanical Keyboard Switches?
Mechanical keyboard switches are the individual keys on a mechanical keyboard that provides tactile and audible feedback when pressed.
They are the heart of a mechanical keyboard and determine how the input of each key registers when pressed. Mechanical switches are different from rubber dome switches, which are commonly found in most membrane keyboards.
Mechanical keyboard switches are typically made of several components, including a keycap, stem, spring, and housing. When a key is pressed, the stem pushes the spring down, completing an electrical circuit and registering the keystroke.
The housing holds the stem and spring in place, while the keycap is the visible part that users interact with.
If I talk bout Switches types. There are various types of mechanical keyboard switches available on the market, each with its unique characteristics. Some popular mechanical switch brands include Cherry MX, Razer, Logitech, and Romer-G, among others.
Different switches have different actuation forces, travel distances, and feedback mechanisms, which determine the typing experience and feel of the keyboard.
5 Reasons! Why Should Clean Mechanical Keyboard Switches?
Cleaning mechanical keyboard switches is essential to maintain optimal performance, prolong the lifespan of the switches, prevent sticking or jamming, preserve tactile and auditory feedback, and maintain hygiene.
It is a critical aspect of mechanical keyboard maintenance that ensures your keyboard remains in top-notch shape and provides an enjoyable typing experience.
Cleaning mechanical keyboard switches is crucial for several reasons:
1. Maintain Optimal Performance:
Over time, mechanical switches can accumulate dust, dirt, debris, and even spills, which can affect their performance.
Dirty switches may become less responsive, resulting in missed or inconsistent keystrokes, reduced tactile or audible feedback, and an overall diminished typing experience.
Regular cleaning helps to remove these contaminants and restore the switches to their optimal performance.
2. Prolong Lifespan:
Mechanical keyboard switches are mechanical components that undergo wear and tear with prolonged use. Dirt and debris can exacerbate this process, leading to premature switch failure.
By keeping the switches clean, you can extend their lifespan, ensuring that your mechanical keyboard continues to function smoothly for years to come.
3. Prevent Sticking or Jamming:
Dust or debris build-up can cause mechanical switches to stick or jam, making the keys difficult to press or release. This can be frustrating and impede your typing speed and accuracy.
Cleaning the switches regularly helps to prevent sticking or jamming, ensuring smooth and consistent key actuation.
4. Preserve Tactile and Auditory Feedback:
Mechanical keyboards are renowned for their tactile and auditory feedback, providing a satisfying typing experience.
However, dirt or debris in the switches can dampen or alter this feedback, diminishing the unique feel and sound of the keyboard.
Regular cleaning helps to preserve the tactile and auditory glory of your mechanical keyboard, allowing you to continue enjoying its distinctive typing experience.
5. Maintain Hygiene:
Keyboards can harbor germs, bacteria, and allergens, as they are frequently touched by hands. Regular cleaning of mechanical keyboard switches helps to maintain hygiene, ensuring that your keyboard is free from harmful contaminants and providing a clean and healthy typing environment.
Which Materials Do You Needed for cleaning keyboard switches?
It’s important to note that when cleaning mechanical keyboard switches, it’s best to avoid using excessive moisture or abrasive materials, as they can damage the switches or the keyboard.
Always use gentle cleaning methods and materials that are safe for electronic components to ensure that your mechanical keyboard remains in optimal condition.
Cleaning mechanical keyboard switches requires a few essential materials to ensure that the process is effective and safe. Here I am sharing the materials you will need:
A keycap puller is a small tool that is used to safely remove the keycaps from the keyboard. It helps to prevent any damage to the keycaps or the switches while removing them for cleaning.
You will need a gentle cleaning solution that is safe for electronic components. Isopropyl alcohol (IPA) is a commonly used cleaning solution for cleaning mechanical keyboard switches, as it evaporates quickly and leaves no residue. Make sure to use a high percentage (70% or higher) IPA for best results.
A soft, lint-free cloth is needed to clean the keycaps, stems, and housings of the switches. Microfiber cloths or lint-free cotton clothes are good options for this purpose.
Compressed Air or Dust Blower:
Compressed air or a dust blower can be used to blow away dust and debris from the switches and other keyboard components. It helps to dislodge stubborn dirt or debris that may be stuck in the switches.
Brush or Cotton Swabs: A small brush or cotton swabs can be used to clean hard-to-reach areas or corners of the keyboard, such as around the switches or inside the housing.
How to Clean Mechanical Keyboard Switches?
Cleaning mechanical keyboard switches involves several steps. Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to clean your mechanical keyboard switches effectively:
Step 1: Turn off and unplug your keyboard:
Before starting the cleaning process, make sure to turn off your keyboard and unplug it from your computer to prevent any electrical hazards.
Step 2: Remove the keycaps:
Use a keycap puller to carefully remove the keycaps from the keyboard. Place the keycaps in a bowl or container for cleaning later.
Step 3: Blow away dust and debris:
Use compressed air or a dust blower to blow away dust and debris from the switches and other keyboard components. Hold the keyboard upside down and use short bursts of air to dislodge any dirt or debris that may be trapped in the switches.
Step 4: Clean with a cleaning solution:
Dampen a soft, lint-free cloth with a gentle cleaning solution, such as isopropyl alcohol (IPA). Avoid using excessive moisture, as it can damage the switches. Gently wipe the stems, housings, and other switch components to remove dirt, grime, or spills. If needed, you can use a small brush or cotton swabs to clean hard-to-reach areas or corners.
Step 5: Dry the switches:
Once you have cleaned the switches, allow them to air dry for a few minutes to ensure that they are completely dry before reassembling the keyboard.
Step 6: Clean the keycaps:
While the switches are drying, you can clean the keycaps that you removed earlier. Use the same cleaning solution and a cloth or brush to clean the keycaps thoroughly. Rinse them with water and pat dry with a towel. Make sure they are completely dry before reattaching them to the keyboard.
Step 7: Reassemble the keyboard:
Once the switches and keycaps are completely dry, reattach the keycaps to the switches. Press down firmly to ensure they are properly seated.
Step 8: Test the keyboard:
Plug in your keyboard and turn it on. Test each key to make sure they are registering properly and functioning as expected.
That’s it! With these steps, you can effectively clean your mechanical keyboard switches and maintain their optimal performance.
Remember to be gentle and use safe cleaning methods and materials to avoid damaging your keyboard.
Regular cleaning, along with proper maintenance, can help prolong the lifespan of your mechanical keyboard and ensure an enjoyable typing experience.
Don’t forget to Watch it! Here is the Other Solution for keyboard cleaning.
Cleaning Sticky Mechanical Keyboard Switches?
If you have sticky mechanical keyboard switches that are not registering properly or feel sluggish, here are some additional steps you can follow to clean them:
Step 1: Remove the keycaps:
Use a keycap puller to carefully remove the sticky keycaps from the keyboard. Place them in a container for cleaning later.
Step 2: Clean with a cleaning solution:
Dampen a soft, lint-free cloth or a cotton swab with a gentle cleaning solution, such as isopropyl alcohol (IPA).
Gently wipe the stem and housing of the sticky switch to remove any dirt, grime, or residue that may be causing the stickiness. Be careful not to use excessive moisture, as it can damage the switch.
Step 3: Use a switch lubricant:
If the switch still feels sticky after cleaning, you can apply a small amount of switch lubricant to the stem and housing of the switch.
Switch lubricants are specifically designed to reduce friction and improve the smoothness of mechanical keyboard switches.
Apply a thin, even coat of switch lubricant using a clean cotton swab or a brush. Be sure to use a lubricant that is safe for mechanical switches and avoid using excessive amounts.
Step 4: Press the switch repeatedly:
After applying the switch lubricant, repeatedly press the sticky switch to distribute the lubricant and help it work its way into the switch internals. This can help break up any remaining residue or debris that may be causing the stickiness.
Step 5: Wipe off excess lubricant:
After pressing the switch multiple times, use a clean, dry cloth or cotton swab to wipe off any excess lubricant from the switch housing and stem. It’s important to remove any excess lubricant to prevent it from attracting dirt or debris in the future.
Step 6: Reassemble the keyboard:
Once the switch is clean and lubricated, reattach the keycap to the switch and press down firmly to ensure it is properly seated.
Step 7: Test the keyboard:
Plug in your keyboard and turn it on. Test the previously sticky switch to ensure it is now registering properly and feels smooth in operation.
Keep in mind that, Switch lubrication is an optional step and should only be used if necessary. Over-lubrication or using the wrong type of lubricant can cause issues with switch performance.
Always follow the manufacturer’s recommendations and use lubricants that are specifically designed for mechanical keyboard switches.
With these additional steps, you can effectively clean and address sticky mechanical keyboard switches, restoring their optimal performance and improving your typing experience.
Is it safe to wash keyboard switches?
No, it is not safe to wash mechanical keyboard switches. Mechanical switches are not designed to be submerged in water or exposed to excessive moisture.
Water or liquid can cause short-circuits, corrosion, and damage to the delicate electronic components of the switch, leading to malfunction or permanent damage.
Cleaning mechanical keyboard switches should be done using dry or damp cleaning methods, such as using compressed air or a soft, lint-free cloth dampened with a gentle cleaning solution, such as isopropyl alcohol (IPA).
It’s important to avoid using excessive moisture and to be cautious when cleaning around the switches to prevent any liquid from seeping into the switch housing.
Remember, proper care and maintenance are essential to ensure the longevity and optimal performance of your mechanical keyboard switches. When in doubt, refer to the manufacturer’s instructions or seek professional assistance to avoid damaging your keyboard switches.
How do you clean a keyboard switch without removing it?
Cleaning a keyboard switch without removing it requires careful attention and gentle cleaning methods. Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to clean a keyboard switch without removing it:
Step 1: Turn off and unplug the keyboard:
Before cleaning any part of your keyboard, make sure it is turned off and unplugged from the power source to avoid any risk of electrical shock.
Step 2: Prepare cleaning supplies:
Gather the cleaning supplies you’ll need, including a can of compressed air, a soft brush or toothbrush, and a gentle cleaning solution, such as isopropyl alcohol (IPA), and a lint-free cloth.
Step 3: Blow out debris with compressed air:
Use the can of compressed air to blow out any loose debris, dust, or crumbs that may have accumulated around the keyboard switch. Hold the can of compressed air upright and use short bursts of air to prevent moisture from escaping the can.
Step 4: Brush away dirt and grime:
Use a soft brush or toothbrush to gently brush away any remaining dirt, grime, or residue around the switch. Be careful not to apply too much pressure or use abrasive materials that can scratch or damage the switch or the keycap.
Step 5: Dampen a cloth with a cleaning solution:
Dampen a lint-free cloth or a cotton swab with a small amount of gentle cleaning solution, such as isopropyl alcohol (IPA). Make sure the cloth or swab is not dripping wet, as excess moisture can damage the switch.
Step 6: Clean the switch housing and stem:
Gently wipe the switch housing and stem with the damp cloth or cotton swab to remove any remaining dirt or residue. Use gentle, circular motions and avoid getting excessive moisture into the switch.
Step 7: Dry the switch thoroughly:
After cleaning, use a dry lint-free cloth or a fresh cotton swab to thoroughly dry the switch and remove any residual moisture. Make sure the switch is completely dry before reassembling and reconnecting the keyboard.
Step 8: Test switch functionality:
Once the switch is dry, plug in your keyboard and turn it on. Test the switch to ensure it is registering properly and functioning as expected.
It’s important to note that cleaning a keyboard switch without removing it may not be as effective as removing the keycap and cleaning the switch more thoroughly.
it can be a viable option for regular maintenance and quick clean-ups to keep your keyboard switches in good condition.
Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions and recommendations for cleaning your specific keyboard model to avoid damaging the switches or the keyboard itself.
Here I am sharing an alternative Method to clean keyboard keys/switches
What can I use to clean my mechanical keyboard Switches?
When cleaning your mechanical keyboard switches, it’s important to use appropriate cleaning materials that are safe for electronic components. Here are some commonly used materials for cleaning mechanical keyboard switches:
- Compressed air: A can of compressed air is a popular and effective tool for blowing out debris, dust, and crumbs from around the keyboard switches.
It can help dislodge and remove loose particles without causing damage to the switches.
- Soft brush or toothbrush: A soft brush or toothbrush can be used to gently brush away dirt, grime, and residue from the switch housing, stem, and keycap.
Look for brushes with soft bristles to avoid scratching or damaging the switches.
- Lint-free cloth: A lint-free cloth, such as microfiber cloth or a cloth specifically designed for electronics, can be used to wipe down the switch housing and stem.
Dampen the cloth with a gentle cleaning solution, such as isopropyl alcohol (IPA), for more effective cleaning.
- Cotton swabs: Cotton swabs can be used for precise cleaning of hard-to-reach areas, such as around the edges of the switch housing or between the keycap and switch.
Dampen the swab with a small amount of cleaning solution for targeted cleaning.
- Gentle cleaning solution: Isopropyl alcohol (IPA) is a commonly used cleaning solution for electronic components as it evaporates quickly and leaves no residue.
It can be used to clean the switch housing, stem, and keycap. Avoid using harsh or abrasive cleaning solutions that can damage the switches.
Keep in mind that Use these materials carefully and follow the manufacturer’s instructions or recommendations for cleaning your specific mechanical keyboard model.
Avoid using excessive moisture and be gentle when cleaning around the switches to prevent any liquid from seeping into the switch housing.
Always disconnect the keyboard from the power source before cleaning and allow the switches to thoroughly dry before reassembling and reconnecting the keyboard.
Can you use alcohol to clean keyboard switches?
Yes, alcohol, specifically isopropyl alcohol (IPA), can be used to clean mechanical keyboard switches.
IPA is a commonly used cleaning solution for electronic components due to its fast evaporation and ability to dissolve dirt, grime, and residue without leaving behind residue or moisture.
Using isopropyl alcohol (IPA) to clean keyboard switches can be an effective method to remove dirt, grime, and residue, and help restore the functionality of the switches.
Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions and recommendations for cleaning your specific keyboard model, and avoid using harsh or abrasive cleaning solutions that can damage the switches or the keyboard itself.
Can I use compressed air to clean my keyboard Switches?
Yes, compressed air is a commonly used tool to clean mechanical keyboard switches.
It can effectively blow out debris, dust, and crumbs that may have accumulated around the switches and can help restore their performance. Here’s how you can use compressed air to clean your keyboard switches:
Using compressed air can be an effective way to clean mechanical keyboard switches and remove debris and dust that may affect their performance.
Now wind up, cleaning mechanical keyboard switches is an essential maintenance task that can help restore the performance and longevity of your keyboard.
Regular cleaning can prevent sticky keys, improve typing accuracy, and ensure smooth key actuation.
Whether you choose to remove the switches for a deep clean or clean them in place, using appropriate materials such as isopropyl alcohol, compressed air, and a lint-free cloth or cotton swabs can effectively remove dirt, grime, and debris from the switches.
By incorporating proper cleaning practices into your keyboard maintenance routine, you can keep your mechanical keyboard switches in optimal condition and enjoy a smooth and responsive typing experience.
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