How to Clean Keycaps on a Mechanical Keyboard in Easy Steps

Author: Anirban Saha

Last Updated On:

Keycaps are the removable plastic caps on a keyboard that cover each key. They can become dirty, sticky, or discolored over time due to dust, grime, and everyday use. Cleaning keycaps is an essential part of maintaining the longevity and hygiene of your mechanical keyboard

In this blog post, we will discuss how to clean keycaps on your mechanical keyboard to keep your keyboard in top condition.

How to Clean Keycaps

Let’s get started!

Tools Required to Clean Keycaps

To clean keycaps, you will need the following tools:

  • Denture tablets/ any type of Soap
  • Isopropyl Alcohol
  • Soft toothbrush
  • Cotton swabs
  • Microfiber cloth

How to Clean Keycaps?

Follow these steps to clean your keycaps effectively:

Step 1: Remove Keycaps

When it comes to removing keycaps, you need to be gentle and careful not to damage the switch underneath. This is where a keycap puller comes in handy.

It is a small tool that provides a better grip and control when removing the keycaps from the keyboard. Using a keycap puller also reduces the risk of damaging the keycaps or switches.

Learn in detail about how to remove keycaps of your mechanical keyboard here with and without tool.

Step 2: Pre-Soaking the Keycaps

Pre-soaking the keycaps is a crucial step in cleaning them effectively. Warm water and denture tablets are used to loosen any dirt and grime that has accumulated over time. The denture tablets contain enzymes that can break down dirt and grime, making them easier to remove later on.

Alternatively, you may use hand soap or dishwash soap to clean the keycaps. You can soak keycaps with warm water soaked in the soap mixture to clean the keycaps.

Step 3: Scrub the Keycaps

The scrubbing process is where the actual cleaning of the keycaps takes place. It is essential to use a toothbrush and isopropyl alcohol during this process. The toothbrush should be soft-bristled to avoid scratching the keycaps.

When scrubbing the keycaps, it is important to pay special attention to the printed letters/characters, as they tend to accumulate more dirt. Additionally, if you have keycaps with a textured surface, it is recommended to scrub them thoroughly to remove any dirt that may have accumulated in the grooves.

It is important to note that the keycaps should not be soaked in isopropyl alcohol, as it can damage the plastic material. Instead, pour the isopropyl alcohol onto the toothbrush and use it to scrub the keycaps gently. Once the keycaps are scrubbed, it is time to move on to the next step.

Step 4: Cleaning Large Keycaps

For larger keycaps, such as the spacebar or enter key, a different approach is required. These keycaps have larger surface areas and may have grooves that are harder to clean. To clean these keycaps thoroughly, a cotton swab dipped in alcohol can be used.

The cotton swab should be run over each groove of the keys, ensuring that no dirt or grime is left behind. This process may take longer than scrubbing the smaller keycaps, but it is essential to ensure that the keycaps are cleaned thoroughly.

A small amount of Isopropyl alcohol is sufficient to clean the large keycaps effectively. Once the large keycaps are cleaned, it is time to move on to the next step.

Step 5: Drying the Keycaps

Drying the keycaps is an essential step in the cleaning process. It is crucial to dry the keycaps thoroughly before putting them back in place. Failure to do so can result in water damage to the keyboard or the keycaps. This is because mechanical keyboards are not waterproof unless it has special IP rating provided by manufacturer.

To dry the keycaps, a microfiber cloth is recommended. This type of cloth is soft and gentle, making it ideal for drying the keycaps without scratching them. Dab the keycaps gently with the cloth to remove any excess water.

It is important to note that the keycaps should be left to air dry for 24 hours. This will ensure that they are completely dry before putting them back in place. Do not use a hairdryer or any other heat source to dry the keycaps, as it can cause them to warp or melt.

Step 6: Put the Keycaps Back in Place

Once the keycaps are dry, it is time to put them back in place on your keyboard. This step may seem straightforward, but it is important to match the keycap position to avoid any confusion. Each keycap should be pressed back into place until it clicks, ensuring that it is securely in place.

Also Read: How to clean a Mechanical Keyboard?

Tips & Tricks for Better Cleaning

Here are some tips and tricks to help you clean your keycaps more effectively:

Tip #1: Choose the Right Cleaning Solution

It is essential to choose the right cleaning solution for your keycaps to avoid any damage. Denture tablets are a great option as they are gentle and effective. They also contain ingredients that can help to remove any stains or discoloration from your keycaps.

Tip #2: Be Gentle

When handling the keycaps, it is crucial to be gentle to avoid scratches or damages. Using a keycap puller can help you remove the keycaps from the keyboard without applying too much pressure. Also, avoid using harsh chemicals or abrasive materials as they can damage the keycaps’ surface.

Tip #3: Avoid the Dishwasher

Avoid putting your keycaps in the dishwasher as the high temperature and pressure can cause them to warp or become discolored. Instead, stick to handwashing them with a gentle cleaning solution like denture tablets.

Tip #4: Keep Keycaps Away from Direct Sunlight

Exposing your keycaps to direct sunlight can cause discoloration and warping. It is best to keep them in a cool, dry place away from sunlight.

Tip #5: Regular Cleaning is Key

Regularly cleaning your keyboard can help you avoid the buildup of dirt and grime on your keycaps. You can use a can of compressed air to remove any debris or dust that has accumulated on your keyboard. Also, consider wiping down your keyboard and keycaps with a microfiber cloth regularly.

Also Read: Mechanical Keyboard Cleaning FAQs

Frequently Asked Questions(FAQs)

Q. Is it Okay to Wash Keycaps?

Ans. Yes, it is generally okay to wash keycaps. You may use any type of soap material to soak it and then wash the keycap with clean water.

Q. Will Rubbing Alcohol Damage Keycaps?

Ans. No, rubbing Isopropyl Alcohol will not damage the keycaps. However, in some types of keycap material, there may be shine or discoloration happening.

Q. Can you use Dish soap to Clean keycaps?

Ans. Yes, you can use dish soap to clean the keycaps without any issue.

Q. Is hand soap good for cleaning keycaps?

Ans. Yes, hand soap is good for cleaning the keycaps. Keycaps can be soaked in hand soap water and then washed to clean them.


Let’s conclude with the key takeaways regarding how to clean keycaps of a mechanical keyboard:

  • Always use the proper tools and techniques when cleaning keycaps.
  • Remove the keycaps properly to avoid damaging the switches or the keyboard itself.
  • Use a gentle cleaning solution and a soft-bristled brush to thoroughly clean the keycaps without damaging the material.
  • Clean keycaps regularly to maintain their appearance and prevent the buildup of debris
  • Avoid using harsh chemicals or abrasive materials that can cause damage.
  • Be mindful of the material of the keycaps when selecting a cleaning solution or brush.
  • Take extra care when cleaning keycaps with printed or engraved designs to avoid rubbing off the design.
  • Consider removing the keycaps and cleaning them separately rather than cleaning them while they are still attached to the keyboard.

Following these simple precautions can help to prolong the lifespan of your mechanical keyboard and ensure a better user experience.

Leave a Comment