Essential Tips For Cleaning Your Mechanical Keyboard

In addition to typing accuracy and the more precise feel of a mechanical keyboard, one of its numerous advantages is how easy it is to clean. Not only can you use a microfiber cloth for a quick wipe down, but you can also use a keycap puller to remove the keys for a more thorough cleaning.

This guide will walk you through all of the safe and effective ways to clean mechanical keyboards which have become dirty, sticky or wet as a result of daily use or accident.

How Do You Clean A Mechanical Keyboard?

You should regularly clean your keyboard to keep dirt, dust, pet hair and food debris from building up on the deck of your keyboard, between and under the keys, as well as on the palm rest.

  • Carefully disconnect your keyboard from your computer.
  • To remove crumbs or dust from your keyboard, turn it upside down, hold it firmly with one hand while tapping it with the other.
  • If you have one, use an air gun or compressed air device to blast dust out from under your mechanical keyboard’s keys. A small hand vacuum cleaner can also be a great way to remove dirt from a keyboard. 
  • To remove any residue and grime, use a damp microfiber cloth to clean the keycaps and the exterior of the keyboard base. Note: This is not recommended for cleaning any of the interior and its exposed electrical parts.

How Do You Clean A Mechanical Keyboard After A Spill?

The first thing you should do after spilling liquid on your keyboard is to immediately disconnect your keyboard from your computer.

If the only thing you spilled was water:

  • Turn the keyboard over to let the water drain. 
  • Use a keycap puller to remove keys around the spill and thoroughly dry the keyboard with a cloth. 

If you spilled coffee, soda or a sugary beverage:

  • Remove all the keys and use a cloth to absorb as much moisture as possible. 
  • While the base dries, continue reading to learn how to clean the keycaps.

How Do You Clean Keycaps?

If your keyboard is incredibly dirty, sticky or you just want to deep clean, use a keycap puller to individually remove each keycap for cleaning.

As keycaps are essentially just plastic, you can be much more thorough while cleaning them than you would with the mechanical keyboard base. Some people prefer to wash keycaps with dishwashing liquid and a brush while others like to soak them in a bowl of soapy water. Cleaning wipes can also be used though make sure not to use any cleaning liquids containing acids or bleach as this can change the color of the keys and remove the lettering.

After cleaning, let the keycaps dry completely before placing them back on the base as the plastic can absorb moisture which could damage the keyboard.

How Often Should You Clean Your Mechanical Keyboard?

In general, it’s a good idea to give your mechanical keyboard a quick wipe down with a cloth and some gentle cleaning liquid once a week to prevent the build-up of germs and harmful bacteria.

When it comes to a proper deep clean for your mechanical keyboard, it really comes down to how much you use it, how dirty it gets and how much free time you have. Some people like to remove all of the keycaps and clean them and the base once a month but this is likely a bit too demanding for the average computer owner.

A more realistic cleaning goal would be to deep clean your keyboard at least once a year. If you can clean it more often than this, all the better.