How To Clean A Mechanical Keyboard
How To Clean A Mechanical Keyboard
Cleaning is a task unto itself, but cleaning up your mechanical keyboard? God forbid you actually have to get up and dust the biscuit and chips crumbs off your keyboard! I bet the thought of owning a flat touch screen keyboard must have crossed your minds, but it’s also true that you either don’t have the cash to shell it out or you just like the good old tickity tick better. So it’s time to get cranking on the old’ board. But, you’re probably wondering by now if is there a way to prevent the keyboard from getting dirty? Sure there is! Just maintain basic hygiene, like washing your hands after crunching on some greasy snacks. It’s futile to nod your heads now, everyone, including you, know that those unwashed hands will end up on the keyboard eventually. So the solution remains to get off your bottom and get cleaning.Sure, you can get your cleaning tips from a simple Google search, but here you will get to know what you shouldn’t do:
Don’t Go For Regular Maintenance
No, don’t do this by any means. Why should you- it’s just a keyboard after all! Besides, you must have a few snacks lying around. But who cares if it doesn’t even last a whole year. Sadly, we do, as we suffer from each crumb falling onto a mechanical keyboard somewhere in the world. Now, we were planning on making an actual guide that would tell you what you should do (the wrong way) But we reckon there would actually be some people who would take it seriously and ruin their beautiful keyboards. So we decided to do the right thing, and give you tips to actually clean your mechanical keyboard.
Don’t let it be connected: Remember what your toddler self would say: water+electricity= very bad m mkay. Same applies to water on a keyboard when it is still plugged in.
Use a handheld vacuum: Use a handheld vacuum to remove dust from your mechanical keyboard. Don’t miss out on any of the key caps and don’t press on the vacuum’s tube too hard. If you can, use an anti-static vacuum cleaner.
Don’t just leave it at the mercy of the vacuum: Using a vacuum will also leave fine dust on the keyboard so just use a mild damp microfiber cloth to rub it off. If you don’t have one unsurprisingly, then using disposable cleaning wipes will also do.
Don’t leave it wet: Yes, don’t leave your keyboard cold in the wind, learn to care for it and use a dry cloth to dry the slightly damp keyboard. If you don’t have a clean and dry cloth, because you don’t wash your stuff, then sadly paper towels won’t do. You will have to haul yourself to the laundry to clean up at least one cloth.
The Stubborn Stains
Let’s be real, regular cleaning isn’t your cup of tea. You will only pay attention to the keyboard once something goes wrong. But by that time layers of finger oils drenched in spicy snacks end up on it which won’t leave even after regular vacuum treatments. So here’s how you can make sure your keyboard doesn’t face the consequences:
Don’t let your board be as it is: After you unplug your keyboard, it’s time to get deep in your keyboard. It’s time to remove the key caps. Yes, you heard that right. To remove the key caps, just use a key cap puller, strip it clean! Don’t forget or be ready for a rude awakening when you find the biggest crumbs all cozy in the depth of your keyboard. This actually makes them more difficult to remove and so that means more work for you.
Don’t use hand soap to clean the key caps: Yes, this is a big no-no. Using hard soap can damage the key caps, in which case your hard work will go to waste and you will have to get someone to help you fix it. (or if you’re really savvy, replace them yourself). To prevent giving yourself more trouble: just use dish soap or denture tablets to clean it up. You will just have to put the little caps in a container, cover it up with some warm water, add denture tablets and then just let it soak for 6 hours at least. Now fish the soaking babies out to see them all new and shiny. Rinse the soap off of them and lay the key caps out to dry.
Don’t let go of the stubborn marks: You see that little speck on the key caps even after you soaked it so painstakingly in water? Yes, you should get rid of it all as well. Just use a little stiff bristle brush to loosen up that particulate matter. A word of caution, don’t put those near the switch stems as you could end up pushing dust deep into the switch.
Don’t forget to give the plate a good brush: Get that vacuum out to clean the plate as well. This is because once you have triggered the keyboard cleaning process, then it’s unlawful to stop in the middle. So get those dust and grimes! If you can’t get to them, then just bring out your trusty cloth and carefully wipe it off. Or perhaps give gravity a go and wiggle it a bit!
Don’t forget the key caps: So you have dusted out and cleaned up the keyboard mess. Now it’s time to put it all back together. So begin by first placing the key caps back, obviously. Then move on to giving the case a good wipe down with a little damp microfiber cloth.
Advanced way for cleaning a mechanical keyboard
Let’s hypothetically think of the situation- that you perhaps had to purchase a used keyboard whose previous owner stored it in a dank basement and liberally sprinkled cakes and crumbs on it. That owner might be you, we are not judging, just saying. But if you want to get the nasty thing cleaned up, then we can appreciate that motivation. Here is how you can clean a keyboard which will get you nasty looks if any other living being ever sees it:
Don’t leave it to a simple vacuum cleaner to get the job done: That won’t get it done at all. What will is an ultrasonic cleaner. BTW, this ultrasonic cleaner can also be used to clean up some of those precious toys and jewelry. You’ll just have to add the bunch of key caps to your cleaner and then cover it up with water. Add those denture tablets! Without it, nothing is gonna get done. Now run the machine for around 5-9 minutes. Also, make sure to read the instructions as well so you’ll avoid any problems! Make sure to keep an eye on the temperature, as there were instances of people ruining their key caps because they thought they could just let it be (like putting your food into a microwave and walk away without watching it) We’ve all ruined a nice meal like that once.
Don’t miss out on the keyboard: Yes, these subheadings sounds odd, but hold on, we can explain. But first things first, when the key caps cleaning is finished, just lay them out to air dry. Now that we are done with the key cap cleaning, it’s time to move on to the keyboard and you better bring out your repairing skills. Open up the keyboard and put all the screws in a container. Watch out for the cable connected to the board! Take your time, as your tech is precious to both you and your wallet.
Don’t forget to clean it: Now that it’s dismantled, it’s time to start the operation. Bring out your vacuums and cloths- both damp and dry. This will take all the force to get the grime off. Open up the PCB plate and set it aside before you go forth vacuuming the insides. Then proceed to clean it up using a stiff bristled brush. After that comes the damp cloth. If the condition is too bad, then bring out the dish soap, dunk the brush in it to clean scrub the mess. Alright, here more free advice- if the goo isn’t letting go that easily than use a Q-tip or other small cleaning tools to wipe it up. Also, avoid moistening the board switches as much as possible.
Don’t place the plate facing up: Placing the clean plate and the PCB face down will help you in preventing dust buildup while the other parts dry.
Don’t mess up resetting: When everything is finally dry, then it’s time to reset all the stabilized keys which stay adjacent to the edge of the case. Some examples are keypad plus, space bar, and keypad enter. You can also opt for lubricating the stabilizers if their rattle bothers you. After that, what remains is to just assemble the keyboard and then place the key caps.
How to Deal With Spills?
Spills and mechanical keyboards don’t go together at all. While we have discussed the various stages of clean up, spills are another beast to deal with altogether.
Don’t forget to unplug your keyboard: Yes, you have heard it throughout this piece, but not unplugging it becomes particularly risky. This isn’t because of just water, the real issue is placed by flavored sugary drinks.
Don’t flip or tilt the keyboard: This will just mess up the keyboard as the water or juice can enter the keyboard and spread to unaffected areas.
Don’t test the keyboard on a computer you use: Unless and until you want to purposely damage the USB port or perhaps lock the system up.
Don’t be afraid to put in the effort: You must have heard of soldering and if you are familiar with it as well. Then you can remove all the keyboard switches to clean up each switch and component. If necessary, replace them.
Of course, you can end your suffering and just opt for buying a new keyboard, it’s really that simple. But putting in the effort to clean it up is commendable even though you probably had a big hand in its miserable state