TechSpectacle is reader-supported. Some of the links in our content are affiliate links and we may earn a small commission at no extra cost to you.
We only recommend products that we recommend to our family and friends.

page title icon How to Clean a Mechanical Keyboard

| Updated on August 2, 2017

Cleaning keyboard with lemon juice

It’s true that humans are pretty dirty creatures and we often bring that filth and dirt back to our technical gadgets. Unfortunate for us, mechanical keyboards are one of the technical gadgets that are often used regularly alongside some nasty habits.

And no, we’re not referring to the perverted minded.

Most of us are guilty of eating food next to our keyboard – you can’t really look yourself straight in the mirror and say “I’ve never eaten anything next to my keyboard throughout my lifetime”.

Whether you ate food next to your keyboard because you were rushing the completion of a project and had to work during lunch hours, or you were in the middle of an online game like Dota and your mom just made you dinner, we’ve all done it.

And we’re most likely going to do it again.

Of course, there are a ton of other nasty stuff we do next to our keyboard such as sneezing, coughing, moving rubbish around, so on so forth.

With all the nooks and crannies all over a keyboard, it’s beyond easy to get dirt, grime, and rubbish stuck inside it. As such, it’s important to give your mechanical a good clean once every now and then.

Unfortunately, the process of cleaning a keyboard can be rather difficult especially if you aren’t savvy with gadgets and other tech-related stuff. Keys on a keyboard can break easily if not popped out properly or popped in properly.

Meddling with a keyboard wrongly could also cause it to not function properly which ends up working against your favor.

There are so many other issues that may arise making it crucial to understand the process of how to clean a keyboard properly.

First of all, you need to know the type of keyboard you have. Some keyboards are configured so the keys cannot pop out as easily.

Other keyboards are built so that the larger keys such as the space key, the enter key, the shift key, among others are not able to come off.

Do some research into the type of keyboard you have and find out what your limits are to manhandling your keyboard.

Now for the cleaning phase, if you’re like us and find anything related to technical gadgets simply awesome, you’ll definitely find some of these cleaning methods rather interesting. Let’s jump right to it.

Magic Keyboard Putty

If you’ve never heard of this thing that magically sucks up all that nasty gunk stuck in the gaps of your keyboard, you’re missing out.

The magic keyboard putty works just like plasticine without the ability to tear apart or leave that nasty plastic-like feeling behind. Plus, the majority of keyboard putties these days are toxic-free and safe for use.

With these miracle workers, all you have to do is run the magic keyboard putty across your keyboard allowing it to dip into all the cracks between the keys. The further you let it dip, the more gunk it will be able to help you collect.

Other ways to help facilitate the process would be to flip your mechanical keyboard upside down while pressing the putty into the keys of your keyboard.

Cleaning With the Keys Intact

So you’re not too familiar with handling tech gadgets or you’re just in a rush and can’t spend too much time cleaning your keyboard. That’s perfectly fine as you can just give your mechanical keyboard a brief clean with the keys of the keyboard intact.

You can use a can of compressed air to help blow out any dust stuck behind the keys. Do note that the compressed air cans contain chemicals that may be toxic when exposed to human beings.

As such, it is important that you keep a distances when spraying the compressed air into the keyboard and avoid any eye contact.

Cleaning with the Keys Out

Removing the keys of your mechanical keyboard will give you the thorough clean your laptop deserves. To pop out the smaller keys, simply use a sharp edged object such as a butter knife.

As there are a ton of small keys on a keyboard, we strongly advise that you put them in a small bowl for safekeeping.

As for the big keys like the “Enter” key, the space key, the “Shift” key, etc., we recommend keeping them in as these guys can put up a tough fight when trying to lodge them back into place.

To clean the keys in the small bowl, add in few a drops of Dettol or disinfectant liquid together with lukewarm water.

Gently scrub the keys with your hands and leave them to soak while you tend to the rest of your keyboard.

Cleaning the Keyboard Base

This section mainly applies to those who took their keys out to clean the keyboard since they will have access to the base of the keyboard without being restricted by the keys.

You can use a can of compressed air to puff away dust and other particles stuck beneath the key components.

Next you will want to use a microfiber cloth to help give the keyboard base a good clean. Dampen the cloth with some lukewarm water as well as isopropyl alcohol to help disinfect the keyboard.

Once done, wipe the keyboard base dry with a dry cloth or paper towel.

Drying Out Your Keyboard (and Keys)

Before using your keyboard again, you have to make sure it dries out fully to avoid any electrical shocks or fuses.

If you took out the keyboard’s keys, take them out of the small bowl you soaked them in and wipe them dry with a dry cloth.

Once your keyboard base and keys are dry, pop the keys back onto the keyboard and you’ll have a clean mechanical keyboard in front of you.

It’s important to continue to maintain your keyboard regularly as dirt and nasty gunk does add up quite quickly due to frequent use. Even if you just give it a quick wipe every now and then, it will make the maintenance process a lot easier to manage.

Leave a Comment