How to Clean Mechanical Keyboard Switches?

Author: Anirban Saha

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Mechanical keyboards are becoming increasingly popular among gamers, programmers, and typists due to their tactile feedback and durability. However, with regular use, mechanical keyboard switches can accumulate dirt, dust, and debris, affecting their performance and lifespan. Therefore, it is essential to clean your mechanical keyboard switches regularly to maintain their optimal functionality and longevity.

To clean mechanical switches, you need to remove the keycaps and use compressed air to remove any dust or debris that may have accumulated in the crevices and corners.

In this post, we will dive in minute detail to provide you with all the details to get your mechanical switches back to the pristine state. You will reclaim the crisp, tactile sensation that makes mechanical keyboards so satisfying to use. Trust us, your fingers will thank you for it!

How to Clean Mechanical Keyboard Switches

So, Let’s get started!

Why Clean Mechanical Keyboard Switches?

There are several reasons why you should clean your mechanical keyboard switches regularly. Here are a few:

  • Prevent malfunctions: Dust and debris can accumulate in the switches and cause them to malfunction or even stop working altogether. Regular cleaning can help prevent this issue.
  • Improve performance: Clean switches can improve the overall performance of your keyboard by reducing the chance of missed keystrokes and improving the response time.
  • Extend lifespan: Mechanical keyboards are known for their durability, but neglecting to clean them can shorten their lifespan. By keeping your switches clean, you can help extend the lifespan of your keyboard.
  • Reduce the spread of germs: Keyboards can be a breeding ground for germs and bacteria. Regular cleaning can help reduce the spread of germs and keep you healthier.

Overall, cleaning your mechanical keyboard switches is an important maintenance task that can help improve performance, extend lifespan, and keep you healthy.

Materials Needed

Cleaning your mechanical keyboard switches is a simple process that requires only a few materials. Here are the items you will need:

  • A soft cloth or microfiber towel
  • A can of compressed air
  • A keycap puller (optional)
  • A cleaning solution (optional)

The soft cloth or microfiber towel will be used to wipe down the keyboard and remove any dust or debris that has accumulated on the surface. The can of compressed air will be used to blow out any debris that has accumulated in hard-to-reach areas, such as under the keycaps.

If you have a keycap puller, this will make it easier to remove the keycaps from the keyboard so you can clean the switches more thoroughly. Finally, a cleaning solution preferably any popular switch cleaner can be used to remove any stubborn stains or grime that has accumulated on the keyboard.

Overall, these materials are affordable and easy to find, making it simple to keep your mechanical keyboard switches clean and functioning properly.


Disconnecting the Keyboard

The first step in cleaning your mechanical keyboard switches is to disconnect the keyboard from your computer. This will prevent any accidental keystrokes from occurring while you’re cleaning the switches. If you have a wired keyboard, simply unplug the USB cable from your PC. If you have a wireless keyboard, turn off the power switch or remove the batteries.

Remove the Keycaps

Once you’ve disconnected your keyboard, the next step is to remove the keycaps. This will give you better access to the switches and make it easier to clean them. You can use a keycap puller or a small flathead screwdriver to gently pry the keycaps off the switches. Be careful not to damage the switches or the keycaps in the process.

If you’re not sure how to remove the keys from your mechanical keyboard, you can check our guide, consult the manufacturer’s website or user manual for instructions. Some keyboards have different types of keycaps that require different removal methods.

It’s also a good idea to take a picture of your keyboard before remove keycaps. This will help you remember where each keycap goes when it’s time to reassemble your keyboard. You may also like to learn about how to clean the Keycaps.

Cleaning the Mechanical Switches

Using Compressed Air

One of the easiest ways to clean your mechanical keyboard switches is by using compressed air. This method is perfect for removing dust, hair, and other debris that may have accumulated over time.

To use compressed air, hold the canister upright and spray short bursts of air onto the switches. Make sure to hold the canister at least six inches away from the keyboard to avoid damaging the switches.

Using a Cleaning Solution

If your switches have stubborn grime or gunk, you may need to use a cleaning solution. To make a cleaning solution, mix equal parts of water and isopropyl alcohol in a bowl. Soak a cloth or cotton swab in the solution and gently wipe the switches.

Avoid using too much liquid, as it may seep into the switches and damage them. After cleaning, let the switches dry completely before using the keyboard.

Using a Brush

A brush is a great tool for removing loose debris from your mechanical keyboard switches. Use a soft-bristled brush to gently sweep around the switches, making sure not to press down on them.

This method is perfect for removing larger debris, such as food crumbs or pet hair. After brushing, use compressed air or a cleaning solution to remove any remaining debris.

Suggested Read: How to clean Mechanical Keyboard?

Cleaning Sticky Mechanical Keyboard Switches

If you’re dealing with a sticky mechanical keyboard switch, it’s important to clean it properly to prevent any damage to the switch or the keyboard. Here are some tips on how to clean a sticky mechanical keyboard switch:

  • First, unplug your keyboard and remove any keycaps that cover the sticky switch.
  • Use a can of compressed air to blow away any debris or dust that may have accumulated around the switch.
  • Next, dip a cotton swab in isopropyl alcohol and gently clean around the switch. Be sure not to use too much alcohol, as it can damage the switch.
  • If the switch is still sticky, you may need to remove it from the keyboard and clean it more thoroughly.
  • To remove the switch, use a switch puller or a small pair of pliers to gently pull it out of the keyboard.
  • Once the switch is removed, use a clean cotton swab and isopropyl alcohol to clean the switch contacts and the stem.
  • Allow the switch to dry completely before re-installing it into the keyboard.

Remember, it’s important to be gentle when cleaning mechanical keyboard switches to avoid damaging them. If you’re unsure about the cleaning process, it’s best to consult a professional or the manufacturer’s instructions.

Reassembling the Keyboard

Replacing Keycaps

Before reassembling the keyboard, make sure to replace the keycaps. To do this, simply align the keycap over the switch and press down gently until you hear a click. Repeat this process for all the keycaps, ensuring that each one is securely in place.

Reconnecting the Keyboard

Once you have replaced all the keycaps, it’s time to reconnect the keyboard. If you have a wired keyboard, simply plug it back into your computer. If you have a wireless keyboard, follow the manufacturer’s instructions to reconnect it to your computer.

After reconnecting the keyboard, test each key to make sure it is working properly. If you notice any issues, double-check that all the keycaps are securely in place and that the keyboard is properly connected to your computer.

Now that you have reassembled your keyboard, it’s important to maintain it properly to prevent future issues. Regularly clean your keyboard using compressed air and a soft-bristled brush to keep it free of dust and debris. With proper maintenance, your mechanical keyboard will continue to provide you with a satisfying typing experience for years to come.


Can you use Alcohol to Clean Keyboard Switches?

Yes, alcohol can be used to clean keyboard switches. Isopropyl alcohol is a popular choice for cleaning mechanical keyboard switches. It is effective in removing dirt and grime from the switches. However, it is important to use it in moderation and with caution. Too much alcohol can damage the switches and the keyboard. It is recommended to use a cotton swab soaked in isopropyl alcohol to clean the keyboard, focusing on the space between the keycaps.

Is it safe to wash keyboard switches?

No, it is not safe to wash keyboard switches. Water can damage the switches and the keyboard. It is important to avoid getting water inside the keyboard. If you need to clean the keyboard, you can use a soft cloth or compressed air to remove dirt and dust. You can also use a nylon brush to gently clean the switches. It is important to avoid using too much force or pressure when cleaning the switches.

Final Thoughts With Tips to Keep in Mind While Cleaning Mechanical Keyboard Switches

Now that you know how to clean your mechanical keyboard switches, it’s important to keep a few tips in mind to ensure that you don’t damage your keyboard and that it stays clean for longer:

  • Regular cleaning: Clean your keyboard at least once a month to avoid dirt and debris buildup that can cause damage to the switches.
  • Use the right tools: Use a soft-bristled brush, a microfiber cloth, and a cleaning solution that’s safe for your keyboard.
  • Be gentle: Avoid using too much force when cleaning your keyboard to prevent damaging the switches.
  • Don’t remove the keycaps: Removing the keycaps can damage the switches and void the warranty.
  • Be patient: Take your time when cleaning your keyboard to ensure that you don’t miss any spots and that it’s completely dry before using it again.

By following these tips, you can keep your mechanical keyboard switches clean and functioning properly for years to come.

Also Learn More about: Mechanical Keyboard Cleaning FAQs

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