How to clean and maintain your Mechanical Keyboard
You’ve done your research, compared them all, and finally settled on a great new mechanical keyboard that elevates your experience to the maximum. But no matter which one you go for, it’s impossible for it to remain clean and fresh all the time. All the sweaty gaming sessions, crumbs of food, and of course the biggest culprit – dust! It’s a good habit to clean your keyboard at least once every couple of months and to help you out, we’ve some quick tips for keeping your precious mechanical keyboard spotless.
I’m a bit of a clean freak, so usually, there’s a dust blower and a set of cleaning brushes at hand’s reach. I end up doing a quick clean-up of my keyboard at least once a week with the occasional wiping with a microfiber cloth. While that might sound a bit too much, performing a simple clean-up at least once a month is recommended as it ensures that your keyboard runs properly for longer. The gap between your cleanups can be increased or decreased depending on various conditions like dust accumulation, how much hair/skin you shed, whether you have pets, how much food you eat while sitting at your PC, and so on.
Disconnect your keyboard, turn it around, and give it a shake, so that all the loose debris can fall out. If required, use an air blower or a few light sprays of canned air to remove any remaining crumbs or debris. Do remember that you’re basically blowing dust and debris around, so unless you want a dirty desk, it’s advised to clean your keyboard out in the open. It’s also advised to be extra careful when using compressed air from a can, as there are cases when it can lead to the formation of condensation that can damage some metallic parts on the keyboard.
You can also use a cleaning brush to remove any gunk stuck between or under the keys and quickly remove them using a vacuum cleaner. To remove sweat stains, especially ones on your keys or wrist rest, use a clean damp cloth to wipe off those marks. I would highly recommend following this simple cleanup procedure regularly to avoid the accumulation of dust, food particles, hair, and dead skin underneath the keys over time.
For those who haven’t cleaned their keyboard in a very long period, it’s time for some deep cleaning. Start by following the same process as I mentioned above to shake off any loose gunk. Next, remove all the keycaps from the keyboard. These should easily come off or be removed using a keycap puller tool usually bundled with most mechanical keyboards. If you don’t have one, you can buy one from here. Ensure that you don’t use excessive force or any heavy tools that can damage the keycaps. Be careful while removing larger keys like Spacebar, Enter, and Backspace, as they may have a stabilizer for support.
If you’ve never removed keycaps in the past, head over to your keyboard OEM’s website for guidance. Also, it’s a good habit to organize the keycaps as you remove them. You can also take a picture of the keyboard layout before taking the keycaps off, as this will help you in the faster reinstallation of the keycaps.
Once you’ve removed all of them, clean the entire deck using a cleaning brush, an air blower, or a vacuum cleaner. If you spilled something on the keyboard in the past like coffee or soda, use a damp cloth to wipe off the stains. For stubborn and sticky stains, you can use a tiny bit of dishwashing solution or isopropyl alcohol as well. Make sure you don’t use any liquids directly on the keyboard; rather apply some directly onto a cleaning cloth. This is to ensure that no liquid enters the internals, which could potentially damage the keyboard permanently. Do check the keyboard feet for any grime or dust buildup and a quick look at the keyboard cable to ensure there’s no potential damage.
Clean each keycap with a damp cloth or simply throw them in water with some soap if you want all your keys to be shiny on the inside and outside. Wipe off any stains and let them dry off. If you’ve used any liquids, I recommend leaving the keyboard and the keycaps to dry overnight. After you’ve ensured that everything is clean, start by putting back the keycaps on the mainboard. Whatever you do, be certain that everything is completely dry before plugging the keyboard into your PC.
To further maintain the longevity of your keyboard, make sure you take time to clean it periodically. In fact, ensure that you clean all your PC parts at regular intervals if you want them to last longer. Most importantly, manage your cables. Not only does that make your setup look good, but it also ensures that the cables don’t wear out quickly. If the cable on your keyboard is long and just hanging about, use some velcro or zip ties to tidy it up.
We have also listed down some of the best mechanical keyboards to buy this year, in case you are planning to buy one.