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How to clean a mechanical keyboard – the ultimate guide

How to clean a mechanical keyboard – the ultimate guide

Keeping your keyboard clean is a universal struggle, especially for anyone who snacks at their desk from time to time.

Unfortunately, there’s a lot of misinformation out there about cleaning your keyboard. Some methods widely recommended could completely ruin your keyboard altogether!

Check out our easy to follow infographic, and then read more details below.

cleaning keyboard guide


Cleaning Products Used

Compressed Air

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Cleaning Swabs

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Denture Cleaning Tabs

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Mr. Clean Magic Eraser

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Is it Safe to Put your Keyboard in the Dishwasher?

No! The only time you should put your mechanical keyboard in a dishwasher is if you’re fully prepared for it to come out broken.

While sometimes keyboards do come out from a dishwasher, dry out, and work completely fine, it’s really a toss-up as to what your outcome will be.

The electronics, circuit boards, and switches in your keyboard weren’t designed to withstand being flooded with hot water. So if you have a keyboard that’s so filthy you’d rather risk completely ruining it than cleaning it by hand, then the dishwasher is a gamble you can take.


Nail Polish Removers and Keyboards Don’t Mix

Harsh chemicals like acetone (usually found in nail polish remover) can ruin the aesthetics and possibly even the structure of the plastic on your keyboard. Anything that’s marketed as “Heavy Duty” is something you likely want to avoid.

If you really think you absolutely need to use something strong to clean your keyboard, test it out on one key first to make sure it’s not going to completely ruin everything else first. Also, use as little as possible and try to wipe off the substance as quickly as you can.

scrubbing keyboard


Routine Keyboard Maintenance

Here are some simple ways to keep your keyboard clean that can easily be done every week or so.

  • Shake the keyboard upside down to work out any crumbs or debris inside.
  • Use a can of compressed air to force out anything remaining stuck under the keycaps.
  • Wipe down your keys with a disinfecting wipe. Scrub any remaining grout with a toothbrush or Magic Eraser.

canned air clean keyboard


Deeper Keyboard Cleaning

For extra dirty keyboards, you’ll need to go beyond the routine maintenance. Here’s how you can clean your keyboard back to “like new” status.

  • Remove all the keycaps from your keyboard and give them all a deeper scrub with a toothbrush or Magic Eraser.
  • Wipe down the backplate of your keyboard thoroughly.
  • Fill a bowl with warm water, and drop in 2 or 3 denture tablets. Drop your keycaps into the bowl, and mix it all up.
  • After 30-60 minutes, strain your keycaps and wait for them to dry off. Once completely dry, re-assemble your keyboard.

washing mechanical keyboard keycaps


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About The Author
Brendan W
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  • CleanKeyboardGuy
    September 22, 2016 at 2:38 pm

    Great guide! Seems a bit easier to let the caps soak in water and soap instead of dish washing every keycap seperatly. Who would to that? Heh…

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