How to Clean a Mechanical Keyboard
Hello everyone! I’m Lera from Geekboards. Today I decided to share with you how I and our guys from GB take care of our and your keyboards. If you need a guide for deep cleaning the keyboard, go here.
Let's start with the fact that the keyboard really needs care to maintain its lifespan and original appearance. Dust, hair, crumbs — all this accumulates under the keycaps and inside the case, slowly clogging not only the plate and the PCB, but also the switches themselves. Most often, this is the cause of double clicks and sticking.
Here is an example of a keyboard we regularly clean for a client:
Today, together with you, I'll be cleaning my keyboard. Its condition is pretty run down (not for the faint-hearted :D)
I believe that everyone will have a vacuum cleaner, cloth/wipe, any cleaning agent, and, of course, water at their disposal. And if you want to do everything perfectly, you can add distilled water and a keycap puller to the list. This slightly speeds up the work, and I'll explain why during the process.
Firstly, unplug the keyboard, this is very important. A single unfortunate drop of water can cause a short circuit and the keyboard will be gone.
Remove all keycaps using a puller. If you don't have one, just pry them up with anything handy, even a plastic card. But a keycap puller greatly speeds up the process, so it's better to get this magic tool.
You can clean them very easily. Just put them in regular tap water. It will deal with the dust. You can add Fairy or any cleaning agent if the keycaps are dirtier than usual. Let them soak for 15 minutes.
Tap water often leaves white streaks on the keycaps, as it contains various impurities. If you soak the caps in distilled water, there will be no streaks.
If you don't want to bother, just wipe each cap individually with a cloth. But this takes a little longer.
There is one nuance: If dirt has embedded itself into a keycap, it should be individually cleaned with soap or any cleaning agent. Just apply the cleaning agent onto a sponge or brush, give it a thorough clean, and then rinse it with water. I have blue Tai-hao keycaps — they're rubberized ABS plastic and they get very dirty, so I definitely clean them additionally. A toothbrush + Fairy, a couple of minutes and it's done.
While the keycaps are freshening up, let's tackle the plate and the case.
Take a vacuum cleaner, put on a small brush nozzle (if you don't have one, you can do without it) and start cleaning the plate. If you don't have a vacuum cleaner but do have a compressed air duster — you can use that. There is an option to test your lungs and simply blow all the debris away. This may not be as efficient, but it will work. The downside of using the latter two methods is the subsequent cleanup of the debris from the table, cupboard, floor, etc. Everything will just scatter around :)
If there's some alcohol (up to 40%) at home, you can drip a few drops into each switch, 2-3 drops should suffice. This is necessary to clear out the dirt that has gotten into the switch. This is especially helpful if you have double clicks or slight stickiness. Make sure to press all the switches after dripping to make sure it works.
Wipe the plate with a damp cotton swab or toothbrush. I use the toothbrush, it does a great job of removing stuck-on dirt and collecting cat hairs that are stuck in the switches (pet owners will definitely understand). I dampened the brush with isopropyl alcohol.
WARNING! If your switches have a transparent part, the use of isopropyl alcohol will be at your own risk — polycarbonate may crack and break apart. To avoid damaging the switches, you can dilute the alcohol with distilled water or use vodka. A glass cleaning solution also works very well.
Don't forget about the case as well. All the same: water, cloth/sponge and detergent, if necessary.
After all the procedures, the keycaps need to be dried perfectly, so that the water does not accidentally get into the switch itself. Lay them out on a napkin and let them dry. If you put them on a radiator or direct a fan at them, the drying will go much faster.
Personally, I just wiped them with a cloth and "blew out" all the water from the underside of the keycaps. It takes longer, but it's more familiar to me.
Put the dried keycaps back on the keyboard and enjoy the result. Everything is simple and easy. The main thing is not to forget that keyboards often break due to dirt.
If there are stains that can't be cleaned with detergent, you can try wiping them with alcohol, but there are exceptions: ABS plastic, case/keycaps, plate. PBT plastic with impurities, case/keycaps, plate. You can wipe off the top layer and it will look very ugly. Therefore, if you are in doubt — it's not worth the risk. Or dilute the alcohol well with water.
And now a little bit of advertising. We have a preventive keyboard cleaning service. In general, we do exactly the same thing, but for a fee. If you are too lazy, come to us :)