Keyboards are an essential tool for many individuals, from gamers to office workers. Mechanical keyboards, in particular, have become increasingly popular due to their tactile feedback and durability.
To enhance the performance of mechanical keyboards, some users apply lubricant, also known as lube, to their keyboard switches.
However, over time, lube can accumulate and cause undesirable effects, such as reduced key responsiveness and mushy typing experience. If you’re experiencing these issues and wondering how to remove lube from keyboard switches, you’re in the right place.
In this comprehensive guide, we’ll explore easy and effective ways to clean lube from keyboard switches, ensuring that your keyboard performs at its best again.
So, let’s dive in and learn how to restore your mechanical keyboard’s performance by removing lube from keyboard switches!
To remove lube from keyboard switches, follow these steps:
- Power off and unplug your keyboard to ensure safety.
- Remove the keycaps from the switches using a keycap puller or by gently prying them off with your fingers.
- Use a clean, lint-free cloth or cotton swabs soaked in isopropyl alcohol (at least 90% concentration) to gently wipe the switch housing, stem, and spring, removing the lubricant residue.
- For stubborn or excessive lube buildup, you can also use a plastic-safe brush or toothbrush dipped in isopropyl alcohol to gently scrub the switch components.
- Allow the switches to dry thoroughly before reassembling your keyboard and powering it on.
Note: Avoid using water, harsh chemicals, or abrasive materials, as they may damage the switch housing or other components. Additionally, ensure proper ventilation when using isopropyl alcohol and follow safety precautions, such as wearing gloves and working in a well-ventilated area.
so Let me Please explain about lube further.
What is Key switch Lube?
Key switch lube, also known as keyboard switch lubricant, is a type of lubricant that is applied to the mechanical switches of a keyboard to reduce friction, dampen noise, and improve overall typing feel.
Mechanical keyboards typically consist of individual switches for each key, and these switches have various moving parts that can rub against each other during key presses.
Applying lube to these moving parts can help reduce friction, resulting in smoother key actuation, quieter typing, and potentially longer switch lifespan.
There are different types of lube used for keyboard switches, including silicone-based, petroleum-based, and synthetic lubricants. These lubes come in different viscosities or thicknesses, such as thin, medium, and thick and can be applied using a brush or other applicator.
Keyboard enthusiasts and gamers often use lube as part of keyboard customization and maintenance to fine-tune the performance of their mechanical keyboards to their liking.
Avoid These mistakes while Lubing switches
Why Should You Remove Lube From Mechanical Switches?
While applying lube to mechanical keyboard switches can offer benefits like smoother key actuation, reduced noise, and improved typing feel, there are several reasons why you might need to remove lube from keyboard switches:
1. Accumulation of dust and debris:
Over time, dust, dirt, and other debris can accumulate in the keyboard switches, and the lube can act as a magnet, attracting these particles. This accumulation can hinder the smooth operation of the switches, leading to reduced key responsiveness, inconsistent actuation force, and even key chatter (multiple key presses from a single key press). This can negatively impact the overall typing experience and keyboard performance.
How do Lube keyboard switches without desoldering?
2. Lube degradation:
Keyboard switch lubes can degrade over time due to factors such as heat, friction, and exposure to air. As the lube breaks down, it can become less effective in reducing friction and dampening noise, which can result in deteriorated keyboard performance.
3. Change in preference:
Keyboard enthusiasts and gamers often experiment with different types of lubes and application methods to find the perfect balance of typing feel and performance. However, personal preferences can change over time, and you may want to revert to unlubricated switches or try a different type of lube. In such cases, removing the existing lube becomes necessary.
4. Maintenance or repair:
During keyboard maintenance or repair, such as cleaning the keyboard or replacing faulty switches, it may be necessary to remove the lube from the switches to access and clean them properly.
Properly removing lube from keyboard switches is crucial to restore optimal keyboard performance and ensure consistent key actuation, reduced noise, and a satisfying typing experience. In the next section, we’ll explore some effective ways to remove lube from keyboard switches.
Step-By-Step Guide On How To Remove Lubricant From Mechanical Switches:
Step 1: Gather Necessary Tools and Materials
- Screwdriver (size may vary depending on switch type)
- Clean, lint-free cloth
- Isopropyl alcohol (at least 90% concentration)
- Cotton swabs
- Compressed air (optional)
Step 2: Prepare the Work Area
Find a clean, well-lit area with good ventilation to work on your mechanical switches.
Place a clean cloth or a towel on your work surface to protect it from any spills or debris.
Step 3: Disassemble the Mechanical Switches
If possible, refer to the manufacturer’s instructions or a keyboard maintenance guide for specific disassembly instructions for your mechanical switches.
Typically, you will need to use a screwdriver to remove the keycaps and the switch housing from the keyboard or switch plate.
Carefully separate the switch housing from the keyboard or switch plate, taking note of any springs or other small components that may be attached.
Step 4: Clean the Mechanical Switches
Dampen a cotton swab or a clean, lint-free cloth with isopropyl alcohol.
Gently wipe the switch housing, stem, and spring to remove the lubricant residue.
Be careful not to use too much alcohol or apply excessive pressure, as this may damage the switches.
If necessary, use compressed air to blow away any debris or remaining lubricant.
Step 5: Dry the Mechanical Switches
Allow the switches to air dry for a few minutes, or use a clean, dry cloth to gently pat them dry.
Make sure the switches are completely dry before reassembling them to avoid any potential damage.
Step 6: Reassemble the Mechanical Switches
Follow the manufacturer’s instructions or the keyboard maintenance guide to reassemble the mechanical switches.
Make sure all components are properly aligned and securely fastened, including the keycaps.
Step 7: Test the Mechanical Switches
Connect the keyboard or switch plate back to your computer and test each switch to ensure they are functioning properly.
If any issues persist, refer to troubleshooting guides or seek further assistance from the manufacturer or an experienced technician.
And that’s it! I try my best to share with you the easiest methods By following these steps, you should be able to effectively remove the lubricant from your mechanical switches and restore their performance.
Remember to always exercise caution and refer to the manufacturer’s instructions or professional guidance if you are unsure about any steps.
Alternative 5 Different Methods To Remove Lube From Mechanical Switches
Here are some effective methods to remove lube from mechanical keyboard switches:
Using Isopropyl Alcohol (IPA):
IPA is a commonly used solvent that can dissolve the lubricant and help in its removal. To use this method, you’ll need to disassemble the keyboard and remove the keycaps to access the switches.
Dampen a clean cloth or cotton swab with IPA and gently scrub the switch housing and stem to remove the lube. Be careful not to use excessive force or soak the switches in IPA for extended periods, as it can damage the plastic housing or other components.
Allow the switches to dry completely before reassembling the keyboard.
Ultrasonic cleaning is a method that uses high-frequency sound waves to create tiny bubbles in a cleaning solution, which then implode, generating small shock waves that can remove dirt and contaminants.
You can purchase an ultrasonic cleaner and fill it with a recommended cleaning solution, such as IPA, and then immerse the switches in the solution for a few minutes. The ultrasonic waves will help in breaking down and removing the lube from the switches. Once done, rinse the switches with distilled water to remove any residue and allow them to dry completely before reassembling the keyboard.
Another method to remove lube from mechanical switches is dry brushing. You can use a clean, dry brush, such as a soft toothbrush or a small paintbrush, to gently brush the switch housing and stem to remove the lube.
The bristles of the brush can help dislodge the lube without the need for solvents or water. After brushing, you can use a can of compressed air to blow away any loose debris.
How long does lube last on mechanical keyboard?
Lint-free clothes or Microfiber Cloths:
Lint-free cloths or microfiber cloths can also be used to wipe away the lube from the switch housing and stem.
Dampen the cloth with a recommended cleaning solution, such as IPA, and gently wipe the switch components to remove the lube. Avoid using abrasive or lint-producing materials, as they can scratch or leave fibers on the switches.
Soap and Water:
In some cases, mild soap and water can also be used to remove lube from keyboard switches. Mix a small amount of mild dish soap with water and dampen a cloth or sponge with the soapy solution.
Gently clean the switch components and then rinse with clean water to remove the soap residue. Allow the switches to dry thoroughly before reassembling the keyboard.
One important thing: It’s essential to follow proper safety precautions, manufacturer’s guidelines, and disassemble/reassemble the keyboard carefully to avoid damaging the switches or other components.
If you’re not confident in your abilities, it’s recommended to seek professional assistance or refer to the keyboard manufacturer’s instructions.
Here is Video Guide about How to remove Lube from keyboard switches.
Avoid These Lube Cleaning Mistakes?
Certainly! Here are 7 common mistakes to avoid when cleaning lube from mechanical keyboard switches:
Using Abrasive Materials:
Avoid using abrasive materials such as harsh brushes, abrasive sponges, or rough cloths when cleaning lube from keyboard switches. These materials can scratch or damage the switch housing or stem, leading to reduced performance or even permanent damage.
Applying Excessive Force: Applying excessive force when cleaning lube from keyboard switches can result in damaging the delicate components of the switch, such as the stem or the metal contacts. Be gentle when scrubbing or wiping the switches to avoid bending or breaking any parts.
Soaking Switches in Solvents:
Soaking the switches in solvents or cleaning solutions for extended periods can damage the plastic housing or other components. Avoid soaking the switches in solvents or water, as it can lead to corrosion, swelling, or other irreversible damage.
Using Strong Chemicals:
Avoid using strong chemicals or aggressive solvents, such as acetone, bleach, or ammonia, for cleaning lube from keyboard switches. These chemicals can damage the plastic housing, metal contacts, or other internal components of the switch.
Skipping Proper Drying:
Skipping the proper drying process after cleaning can result in moisture remaining inside the switches, leading to malfunction or corrosion. Make sure to allow the switches to dry thoroughly before reassembling the keyboard to prevent any moisture-related issues.
Neglecting Keycaps and Surrounding Area:
When cleaning lube from keyboard switches, it’s important not to neglect the keycaps and the surrounding area. Lube residue or dirt on the keycaps or the keyboard surface can affect the typing experience and keyboard performance. Clean the keycaps and the surrounding area thoroughly to ensure a complete cleaning process.
Disregarding Manufacturer’s Guidelines:
Each keyboard and switch may have specific cleaning recommendations provided by the manufacturer. Disregarding these guidelines can result in voiding warranties or damaging the switches. Always refer to the manufacturer’s instructions and follow them carefully to ensure safe and effective cleaning.
By avoiding these common mistakes, you can ensure a proper and safe cleaning process when removing lube from mechanical keyboard switches, helping to maintain their performance and longevity.
Should I remove factory lube From keyboard Switches?
The decision to remove factory lube from keyboard switches depends on your personal preference and specific use case. Factory lube is applied by manufacturers during the production process to reduce friction and improve the smoothness of the switch operation. However, some keyboard enthusiasts or gamers may prefer to remove the factory lube and apply their own lubricant for a customized typing or gaming experience. Here are some factors to consider:
- Keyboard Usage: If you are using the keyboard for regular typing or general use, the factory lube may provide adequate smoothness and performance. In such cases, there may not be a need to remove the factory lube.
- Personal Preference: Some keyboard enthusiasts or gamers may have specific preferences for the level of smoothness or tactile feedback of the switches. They may choose to remove the factory lube and apply their own lubricant to achieve their desired typing or gaming experience.
- Switch Type: Different types of mechanical switches have different lubrication requirements. For example, linear switches may benefit from lubrication more than tactile or clicky switches. It’s important to understand the type of switches in your keyboard and their specific lubrication needs before deciding to remove the factory lube.
- Warranty and Risk Factors: Removing factory lube from keyboard switches may void the warranty provided by the manufacturer.
Additionally, improper removal or application of lubricant can potentially damage the switches or other components of the keyboard. It’s important to be aware of the risks involved and follow proper guidelines and instructions to minimize the risk of damage.
- Skill Level and Experience: Removing factory lube and applying lubricant requires a certain level of skill and experience to ensure proper application and avoid damage.
If you are not confident in your abilities, it’s recommended to seek professional assistance or refer to the manufacturer’s guidelines.
According to my experience, whether or not to remove factory lube from keyboard switches depends on your personal preference, specific use case, and level of skill and experience. If you decide to remove the factory lube, it’s important to follow proper guidelines and instructions to ensure a safe and effective process.
Why is Isopropyl Alcohol Cleaning a Better Option?
Isopropyl alcohol is a better option for cleaning keyboard switches because it evaporates quickly, leaves no residue, and effectively dissolves dirt, dust, and grease without causing damage to the switch mechanism or the keyboard surface.
It is also readily available, inexpensive, and widely recommended by keyboard enthusiasts and manufacturers for cleaning electronic devices such as keyboards.
So let me please explain further.
Isopropyl alcohol (IPA) is often considered a better option for cleaning lube from keyboard switches due to several reasons:
- Effectiveness: Isopropyl alcohol is a highly effective solvent that can dissolve many types of lubricants, including the factory lube on keyboard switches. It can effectively remove lube residue and dirt without leaving behind any residue or damaging the switch components.
- Fast Evaporation: Isopropyl alcohol evaporates quickly, leaving no residue behind. This makes it ideal for cleaning delicate electronic components like keyboard switches, as it does not leave any moisture that could potentially cause corrosion or other issues.
- Compatibility: Isopropyl alcohol is generally compatible with most plastics, metals, and other materials commonly used in keyboard switches. It does not typically cause damage or swelling, making it safe for cleaning switches without risking damage to the switch housing or other components.
- Accessibility: Isopropyl alcohol is readily available in most pharmacies or stores, making it easily accessible for cleaning purposes. It is also affordable and cost-effective compared to other specialized cleaning solutions.
- Safety: Isopropyl alcohol is generally considered safe for use in well-ventilated areas and with proper precautions. It has a low toxicity level and is less harmful compared to other harsh chemicals, making it a safer option for DIY cleaning.
However, it’s important to note that isopropyl alcohol should be used in moderation and with caution. It should be used in a well-ventilated area, away from open flames or sparks, and should not be ingested or applied to the skin. It’s also important to follow manufacturer’s guidelines and recommendations for cleaning switches to ensure safe and effective results.
Does isopropyl alcohol remove Krytox?
Isopropyl alcohol is generally not effective at removing Krytox, which is a popular type of lubricant often used in mechanical keyboards.
Krytox is a high-performance lubricant known for its excellent stability, resistance to wear, and high-temperature tolerance, which makes it ideal for keyboard switches. However, it also makes Krytox relatively resistant to solvents like isopropyl alcohol.
Krytox is a perfluoropolyether (PFPE) lubricant, which has very low solubility in common solvents, including isopropyl alcohol.
As a result, isopropyl alcohol is not typically effective at dissolving or removing Krytox lubricant from keyboard switches.
Attempting to remove Krytox with isopropyl alcohol may result in incomplete cleaning or spreading the lubricant further, which could potentially impact the performance of the switches.
If you need to remove Krytox lubricant from keyboard switches, it’s recommended to use a specialized lubricant cleaner or contact the manufacturer for specific recommendations.
Alternatively, you may need to disassemble the switches and clean them manually with mechanical methods, such as brushing or wiping, to remove the Krytox lubricant effectively.
It’s important to follow proper guidelines and instructions to avoid damaging the switches or other keyboard components during the cleaning process.
What to do if I over lubed Keyboard switches?
It’s important to be patient and cautious when dealing with over-lubricated keyboard switches, as using excessive force or improper cleaning techniques can potentially damage the switches or other components.
If you’re not confident in your ability to clean and lubricate the switches properly, it’s best to seek assistance from a professional or contact the keyboard manufacturer for guidance.
If you have over-lubricated your keyboard switches, there are several steps you can take to rectify the situation:
- Wipe off excess lube: Using a clean lint-free cloth or cotton swabs, gently wipe off any excess lubricant from the switch housing, stem, and other components. Be careful not to apply excessive pressure or damage the switch while wiping off the excess lube.
- Test the switches: After wiping off the excess lube, test the switches to see if they are functioning properly. If the switches feel too sluggish or unresponsive due to excessive lube, you may need to remove some of the lubricant to restore their normal operation.
- Disassemble and clean: If wiping off the excess lube is not sufficient, you may need to disassemble the switches and clean them thoroughly. Carefully disassemble the keyboard switches according to the manufacturer’s instructions, and clean the components using a specialized switch cleaner or isopropyl alcohol. Be sure to follow proper cleaning techniques and avoid using excessive force to prevent damage to the switches.
- Reapply appropriate amount of lube: Once the switches are cleaned, apply an appropriate amount of lubricant according to the manufacturer’s recommendations. Be careful not to over-lubricate this time, as using too much lube can result in similar issues.
- Test again: After reassembling the switches and applying the appropriate amount of lube, test them again to ensure they are functioning properly. If needed, repeat the cleaning and re-lubrication process until the switches are working to your satisfaction.
In conclusion, removing lube from keyboard switches can be a delicate process that requires careful consideration and proper techniques to avoid damaging the switches.
It’s important to use the right tools, follow manufacturer guidelines, and be patient during the cleaning process. Isopropyl alcohol is commonly used for cleaning keyboard switches, but it may not be effective in removing certain types of lubricants, such as Krytox.
Using a specialized switch cleaner or manually cleaning with mechanical methods may be necessary for more stubborn lubricant removal.
Remember to always test the switches after cleaning and re-lubrication to ensure they are functioning properly. Proper maintenance and care of keyboard switches can help extend their lifespan and keep your keyboard performing at its best.
By following proper techniques and guidelines, you can effectively remove excess lube from keyboard switches and maintain optimal keyboard performance.
How did lube get on my keyboard switches in the first place?
Lube may have been applied intentionally or accidentally to the keyboard switches as part of a mechanical keyboard customization process or during general maintenance. Some mechanical keyboard enthusiasts apply lube to keyboard switches to reduce friction and noise, and to improve typing feel.
Why would I need to remove lube from my keyboard switches?
There are several reasons why you may need to remove lube from your keyboard switches. For example, if you’ve applied too much lube and it has caused the switches to become sluggish or unresponsive, or if you want to change the type of lube used on your switches.
Also, you may need to remove lube if you’re planning to sell or donate your keyboard and want to return it to its original condition.
Can I clean lube off my keyboard switches without disassembling the keyboard?
It is generally not recommended to clean lube off keyboard switches without disassembling the keyboard. This is because the lube may have seeped into the internal parts of the switch, and simply cleaning the surface may not fully remove the lube or its effects.
Disassembling the keyboard and removing the switches for thorough cleaning is the most effective way to remove lube from the switches.
What tools do I need to remove lube from keyboard switches?
You may need several tools to remove lube from keyboard switches, including a keycap puller, a switch puller, a screwdriver (if your keyboard is not hot-swappable), cleaning solution (such as isopropyl alcohol), cotton swabs or a soft brush for cleaning, and a clean, dry cloth for drying.
How do I remove lube from keyboard switches?
The specific process for removing lube from keyboard switches may vary depending on the type of switch and the amount of lube applied.
However, generally speaking, the process involves disassembling the keyboard, removing the switches, cleaning the switches and their components with a cleaning solution, drying them thoroughly, and then reassembling the keyboard.
It’s important to follow proper disassembly and cleaning procedures to avoid damaging the switches or other keyboard components.
Can I reuse the lube after removing it from the keyboard switches?
It is generally not recommended to reuse lube that has been removed from keyboard switches. Once the lube has been applied and used, it may have picked up dirt, debris, or contaminants from the switches, and reusing it may result in poor performance or damage to the switches. It’s generally best to use fresh lube when reapplying it to keyboard switches.
Can I remove lube from keyboard switches without voiding my keyboard's warranty?
It depends on the specific keyboard and its warranty terms. In some cases, disassembling the keyboard to remove lube from the switches may void the warranty.
It’s important to review your keyboard’s warranty terms and conditions before attempting to remove lube from the switches, and consider reaching out to the manufacturer or a professional for assistance if you’re unsure.
Are there any risks or precautions I should be aware of when removing lube from keyboard switches?
Yes, there are some risks and precautions to be aware of when removing lube from keyboard switches. These may include accidentally damaging the switches or other keyboard components during disassembly or cleaning, using improper cleaning solutions that may damage the switches or the keyboard’s casing, and voiding the warranty if applicable.
It’s important to follow proper disassembly and cleaning procedures, use appropriate cleaning solutions, and take necessary precautions to avoid any potential risks or damages. If you’re unsure, consider seeking professional help.
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