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How to Clean a Mechanical Keyboard – Step-by-step Tutorial

Today I’m going to show you the best way to easily clean a mechanical keyboard. I just got used to how mine looks and it’s not like I notice the difference from day to day, but then I popped off one of the keys and…gross. Mac, your hair is all over the place – yeah you.

How to Clean a Mechanical Keyboard

This is going to take a little bit of work, it’s very straightforward and it’s going to make your keyboard look great again, so let’s get to it.

How to Clean a Mechanical Keyboard - unplug the keyboard

UNPLUG YOUR KEYBOARD

The first thing you’re going to want to do is unplug your mechanical keyboard. You’re going to be removing the keys and using different methods for cleaning so you don’t want it plugged in. I have this video broken down into chapters for you and that you watch it all the way through before you begin and then go back to each chapter as needed.

How to Clean a Mechanical Keyboard - take a picture

TAKE A PICTURE OF YOUR MECHANICAL KEYBOARD

Now you’ll want to take a picture of your keyboard – and we’re doing this for two reasons. First, you want to make sure that you remember what key goes where. Sure, you know where most go, but do you know if the multiply on the number pad is to the right or left of the divide? Don’t cheat, do you know? What about the Print Screen, Scroll Lock and Pause / Break? Anyways, it’s a good idea to have this as a reference.

The second reason is that you’ll want to be able to see how much better your board looks once you’re done.

REMOVE THE KEYS

Now comes the fun part – removing the keys. Use a keycap puller, start at one end and then work your way across to the other side. I like to use a plastic strainer to hold the keys because it helps with the next step. Take your time, there’s no rush and you don’t want to do anything to damage the keys. Get a good grip on the key and the pull straight up.

How to Clean a Mechanical Keyboard - wasd keycap removal tool

Some keyboards come with a keycap puller, but in case you don’t have one here are a couple of great options:
Keycap Puller:
⭐️ https://geni.us/7KZwDn (affiliate)

Keycap Puller + Brushes Kit.
⭐️ https://geni.us/SYrL (affiliate)

Today I’m cleaning my Corsair K70 mk II so none of the keys are stabilized with metal stabilizers but if your large keys do have that feature, just slide out the one end and then the other.

How to Clean a Mechanical Keyboard - dirty mechanical keyboard

Now with all the key caps removed, I can really see just how bad the keyboard looks, and hopefully I don’t let it get this bad again.

RINSE THE KEYS

Next, head over to the sink and rinse the keys under warm water. I like doing this first so that I can remove as much debris as possible before the next step. This is why I like to have them in a strainer and a lot of the stuff rinses away.

How to Clean a Mechanical Keyboard - soak the keys

SOAK THE KEYS

The next step is to take a bowl, add some dish soap to it and then fill it with warm water. Make sure not to use boiling water so that you don’t damage the keys.

Drop the keys in the bowl and gently mix them around. The dish soap will act as a degreaser and you’ll want to let it soak for about 15-20 minutes so that it can do its job.

CLEAN THE KEYS

Now it’s time to actually wash and clean the keys. Place the bowl back in the sink and start running warm water into the bowl. You can use your hand to stir the keys around – and you’ll notice that very quickly you’ll get rid of all the soap.

How to Clean a Mechanical Keyboard - clean the keys microfiber

Next, get a couple of microfiber towels. Place one down and then use another one to clean and dry off each key. I’m using a microfiber towel instead of a paper towel because paper towels can leave small white particles.

How to Clean a Mechanical Keyboard - dry the keys

You should now see the keycaps looking great and once you’re finished with each keycap you’ll also want to tap it against the towel to get as much of the water off the key. No need to go nuts here, but the more water you remove now, the less you have to wait for the keys to dry – and you definitely want to make sure that they are dry before reseating them. It’s going to take a couple of hours for them to dry off, so let’s use that time to clean the board itself.

How to Clean a Mechanical Keyboard - dry the keys

CLEAN THE BOARD

Some people use a vacuum – but if you don’t have an anti-static attachment, I would suggest a brush. You can use a paint brush, a hard bristle brush or even the brush attachment of your vacuum. Simply brush around the switches to remove as much of the loose stuff as possible.

I make sure that whatever brush I use doesn’t press down the switches because I don’t want any of this stuff to make its way into the board.

How to Clean a Mechanical Keyboard - dip the q tip

Next, we’re going to do a little bit more of a deep clean with some Q tips. You can use water or Isopropyl alcohol which is what’s recommended on the Corsair website.

In either case, you don’t need too much, just get the Q Tip damp and take your time working around the entire board.

How to Clean a Mechanical Keyboard - q tip keyboard plate

If you’ve ever splashed your drink on your board and it left a residue, this should take care of it. There’s no need to press too hard or be too forceful – just take your time and work your way around.

How to Clean a Mechanical Keyboard - between key switches

At this point the board should be looking great and you can give it a final wipe with a microfiber towel – again, we don’t want to use a paper towel because it can leave white particles on the board.

How to Clean a Mechanical Keyboard - after cleaning

Once you’re done, place your board upside down while you wait for the keycaps to dry.

RESEAT THE KEYS

Now comes the most rewarding part, re-seating the keys. Take your time, double check that each key is dry – center it over the switch and then press it all the way down until you hear a satisfying click. Use your initial photo as reference and you should be done in a couple of minutes.

That’s all there’s to it, your keyboard should look great and you now know that it’s not that big a deal to clean – which will keep it working for longer.

How to Clean a Mechanical Keyboard - mechanical keyboard after cleaning

Hopefully this video helpful. You know what I always say, buy it nice or buy it twice! Good luck and see you soon.

Best Keycap Puller:
⭐️ https://geni.us/7KZwDn (affiliate)

Best Keycap Puller + Brushes Kit.
⭐️ https://geni.us/SYrL (affiliate)

Watch how to clean a mechanical keyboard on YouTube.

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