Are Mechanical Keyboards Easy To Clean? (6 Step Guide)

are mechanical keyboards easy to clean

Is your mechanical keyboard dirty? We all know that keyboards aren’t the cleanest even if you do prize yourself for being a clean freak. Food, hair, and all sorts of little nasties tend to fall between the keys. Not to worry, let’s dig into understanding, are mechanical keyboards easy to clean?

Mechanical keyboards are easier to clean compared to typical rubber membrane-style keyboards. This is because mechanical keyboard keycaps can be removed by using a keycap pulling tool which allows you easier access to clean.

As much as we love mechanical keyboards they do get dirty. So in this article, I explore, are mechanical keyboards easy to clean and outline six easy steps you can follow to get your mechanical keyboard looking like brand new again.

Mechanical keyboard keycaps are easy to remove allowing better access for cleaning.

Are Mechanical Keyboards Easier To Clean Than Membranes?

Simply put, mechanical keyboards are easier to clean than membrane keyboards.

If you are not familiar with mechanical keyboards, keycaps can be removed easily by using the appropriate keycap pulling tool. Membrane-style keyboard keys are typically not removable, therefore making it a harder keyboard to clean effectively.

Once you have successfully removed all the keycaps you will then have access to all the little nasties that have fallen in between the keys during the keyboard’s use.

Keycap And Switch Puller Tool With Cleaning Brushes

Is It Safe To Wash A Mechanical Keyboard?

Washing a mechanical keyboard is not recommended. You can remove a mechanical keyboard’s keycaps and wash those separately with soapy water, however, water is not recommended for washing the mechanical keyboard’s interior and exposed electrical parts.

As the old saying goes, water and electricity don’t mix and this old saying holds true for mechanical keyboards too. And it’s not just electrical parts you need to be concerned about, using water could cause corrosion to form on some of the components like the switches, or it could even damage the keyboard’s circuit board.

There are other safer methods available for cleaning mechanical keyboards, below I outline the steps. And, if you don’t want to clean your keyboard, you can always replace the components with brand new ones, mechanical keyboards make it easy to do this or you could simply opt to buy a new keyboard like the one below.

Editor’s Choice

Corsair K95 RGB Platinum XT Mechanical Keyboard

Operating System: Microsoft Windows, macOS
Switches: Cherry MX Blue, Brown, Speed Silver with PBT double-shot keycaps
Size: Full size 104 keys
Features: Dedicated macro keys, detachable, soft textured cushioned leatherette palm rest

Can You Clean A Mechanical Keyboard With Wet Wipes?

Whilst you can clean a mechanical keyboard’s keycaps with isopropyl alcohol wet wipes, you should avoid using any type of wet wipes to clean any exposed electrical parts within the keyboard’s interior.

How Do You Clean A Mechanical Keyboard?

Cleaning a mechanical keyboard is relatively straight forward. Follow the six easy steps outlined below and consider the list of things below needed to successfully clean your mechanical keyboard:

  • Keycap pulling tool
  • Keyboard cleaning brush
  • Q-tips or cotton buds
  • Microfiber cloth
  • 70% isopropyl alcohol solution
  • Washing-up liquid
mechanical keyboard and switches
A mechanical keyboard is easy to clean once the keycaps have been removed.

1. Take A Picture Of Your Keyboard

This may sound like a trivial task, but believe me, you will be thankful later, especially if you have a mechanical keyboard where the keys perform multiple functions and you can’t remember where you pulled them from.

2. Remove The KeyCaps

Using a keycap pulling tool, remove all the keycaps from the keyboard. The keycap pulling tool really makes it easy to remove the keycaps.

3. Clean The Keycaps

Using some washing-up liquid and warm water in a bowl, agitate the keycaps to remove any loose dirt then leave in the bowl to soak for about 20 – 30 minutes so the detergent can remove any grease or grime on the keycaps. After 20 – 30 minutes, run cold, clean water into the bowl until the soap suds disappear.

4. Dry The Keycaps

Using a clean, dry microfiber cloth, gently rub the keycaps to clean and dry them paying particular attention to removing as much water as possible. Once you have dried all the keycaps leave them on the microfiber towel for several hours to ensure that they are completely dry.

5. Clean The Keyboard

Use a keyboard cleaning brush, gently brush all the nasties from the keyboard base. I do not recommend using a vacuum cleaner as it can introduce static electricity into the keyboard. Next, with the keyboard unplugged use a Q-tip or cotton bud slightly dampened with 70% isopropyl alcohol solution, gently rub the keyboard base to remove any grime or dirt.

6. Rebuild Your Keyboard

Now the fun part. Hopefully you took a photo in step one, using that as reference, start to put all your dry keycaps back onto the keyboard one by one. And that is it. Your keyboard should look a million bucks and feel brand new again.

Frequently Asked Questions

I hope I have answered your question, are mechanical keyboards easy to clean. Below I answer some more frequently asked keyboard cleaning questions.

How often should you clean your mechanical keyboard?

  • Ideally you should clean your keycaps lightly once per week and do a deep clean of your keyboard once per month.

What happens if you don’t clean your keyboard?

  • Like with anything else in life, if you fail to clean or maintain it, then the likelihood of failure increases. Plus it’s gross not to clean your keyboard!

How dirty do keyboards get?

  • They can get pretty dirty especially if you eat at your desk, not to mention how much germs can fester on the keycaps.

Final Thoughts On Are Mechanical Keyboards Easy To Clean

So, in conclusion, are mechanical keyboards easy to clean? Yes they are. Follow the six easy steps outlined above and you will have a fresh new looking mechanical keyboard every time. Check out my other article where I round up a solid list of mechanical keyboards with spring-loaded Cherry MX switches.

Stay Curious.
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