Quality mechanical keyboards from Razer, HyperX, and such brands can serve you for decades, but you do have to keep them under routine maintenance. And it is a fact that dust and grimy elements will start to build up and overtake soon. Its parts will begin to malfunction.
Therefore, cleaning your keyboard weekly or monthly is of utmost importance, as it will help you keep the contaminants in check. And if you are wondering how to clean a mechanical keyboard, here in this guide — let’s discuss its dos and don'ts.
Cleaning a Mechanical Keyboard
There are several ways of cleaning a mechanical keyboard.
Here, we will tell about the two easiest mechanical keyboard cleaning hacks. Read on!
#1 Preventive Cleaning
It is common knowledge that cleaning your keyboard is very important, and you should lightly brush clean your keyboard and computer monitors daily after use. This will help you keep your keyboard safe from all sorts of dust and grimy agents. Again, if you eat next to your keyboard — it’s a big no-no. Because with time, both food and dust will fuse into the metal plate inside, and the rest is history.
Here is a guide for preventive measures! Follow as directed:
- To start the cleaning process, first, unplug the keyboard. Cleaning the keyboard while it’s plugged in is absolutely not recommended
- Once unplugged, take a vacuum cleaner, as this can help you eliminate any dust inside the plate
All you will be doing is gently pressing the keys down using the vacuum cleaner’s attachment. Make sure you do this one key at a time for each of them. The small vacuum cleaners (handheld) work pretty well.
- Once you are done vacuuming, take a soft microfiber cloth, damp it a bit, and gently wipe the mechanical keyboard
- Again, wipe off the keyboard, but this time with a dry cloth. Strictly avoid using paper towels, as they will shed particles as you wipe your keyboard. Furthermore, the shredded particles can scratch your keyboard too
Note: No matter what, do not use canned air to clean your mechanical keyboard. As there are two possible negative effects.
First, it comes out cold when you release it, and this will cause condensation on scratches and worn metallic surfaces. This will later result in corrosion and even fused grime. Secondly, canned can potentially blow dust directly to the keys. And this will lead to creating a gritty and unpleasant surface. While a vacuum uses room temperature air to bring out the dust.
#2 Deferred Cleaning
For typically unclean keyboards that have not been maintained over a long time, you may encounter stubborn grime holding hard onto the metal plate underneath the keys. But this may happen even if you clean it regularly.
Not just grime, you will most often find a nasty finger oil that builds up with time on the keycaps. To resolve these issues, here is what you should do:
- Again, it is not safe to clean your keyboard while it is plugged in, so unplug it
- Now, use a keycap puller to pull out the keys of your keyboard. And if removing your keys makes it not something you’d like to do, you can take a damp microfiber cloth and wipe off the keyboard
- Next, use soap or denture tablets to clean the keycaps
To do this, take a medium container, put the keycaps in, pour some warm water, and then add two denture tablets or a bit of soap. Let it soak for at least 6 hours, and allow the keycaps to air dry. It may take a few hours to dry.
Note: You can use regular soap if you do not have denture pills. But denture pills are the ideal agent used to clean keycaps. This can get rid of oils and leaves no residue.
- While you let the keycaps soak, use a Q-tip brush to remove the tough grime glued to the metal plate. Do not brush hard near the switch stems, as it can push the dust further inside
- Now, take the handheld vacuum cleaner, and clean the keyboard thoroughly. If the handheld model is unavailable, you can also use the attachment tube. It will help you get rid of dust particles. And if you see dust even after vacuum, turn it upside down, hold it and let the dust particle fall automatically
- Do not moisten the keyboard switches at all costs. Instead, use a damp microfiber cloth
- Keep the keyboard upside down until the keycaps are ready to install
- When dry, put the keycaps back in their place
- Now, moisten a microfiber cloth, and wipe off the case
- Then again, dry the case using another microfiber cloth (dry microfiber cloth)
How to Deal With Spills?
If you own a mechanical keyboard, spills are its most vile enemy. Water is not typically not that risky; you have to unplug the keyboard and let it sit for some time, and it will be back to normal again. You can use Keyboardtester.io to test the deferred keyboard. But flavored beverages can potentially mess things up for you. If spills occur, do not flip, and do not test the keyboard once it’s all dried up.
It can harm your computer as well. Here is what you can do about it:
- Only if you realize the switches didn’t come in contact with the liquid, perform a deferred cleaning, and you will be able to use it
- Get a new mechanical keyboard
- If you are habituated to soldering, dismantle the keyboard, clean each part thoroughly, and put it back together. Replace the affected parts
It is also a time-consuming process and is very intensive! This is not recommended, as you can void the warranty if still in the warranty period.
Now that you have made it here, we hope you know how to clean and take care of your mechanical keyboard. The better you take care of it, the longer it will last! Clean your keyboard regularly after use, and perform a deferred cleaning every two weeks! Good luck!