How to Clean a Mechanical Keyboard - Household Products only
Keyboards can quickly become messy, especially if you eat at your computer. Therefor, we suggest cleaning your keyboard monthly. But what is the most efficient process to clean your mechanical keyboard? In this guide, we walk you through all the steps to make sure your keyboard will be all shiny and new looking. For basic cleaning, you will only need household products. We used our own keyboard "Wooting Two HE" for this guide.
1. Cleaning your keycaps
1.1 Required items for cleaning the keycaps
- Keycap puller (optional)
- Dishwasher detergent
1.2 Remove all the keycaps
First, you want to remove all your keycaps. For this you can use your hands, but a keycap-puller would be recommended as it will make the process easier, and your hands won't get sore. Thankfully, all Wooting keyboards come with a keycap puller inside.
Make sure all of your keycaps fit inside your container and close it off with a lid. If you don’t have a lid, you can still follow along with the process.
1.3 Cleaning process
With all of your keycaps in the container, put some dishwasher detergent inside of it. You can be fairly generous with the amounts if you’d like. Fill up the container with lukewarm water (don’t use hot water, as it may harm the keycaps). And close the container off with a lid. You will have to submerge the keycaps for 30 minutes for optimal results. Make sure to shake the container once you closed it off, after 15 minutes and 30 minutes. So three times in total.
Don’t have a lid? You can also stir the keycaps instead of shaking it. After 30 minutes, you should notice a lot of debris floating in the water.
1.4 Wash & Dry your keycaps
Now you can empty your container in the sink. Rinse your keycaps with some cold water and if there is any filth still stuck to the keycaps, grab a towel and wipe it off. After you washed your keycaps, shake out the water and put them upside down on a towel and let it dry for about 2 hours. Meanwhile, the keycaps are drying, we can get to the board and clean that up. Are you impatient? You can also fold all the keycaps shut in a towel and shake it around. This should make the drying process a bit faster.
2. Decide the best way to clean your keyboard
This guide offers two methods to clean your board. But first we have to decide how dirty your keyboard is.
1. Basic cleaning: You have some crumbs and hair laying on your board. Navigate to chapter 3 for this.
2. Deep cleaning mode: Sticky energy drink and grease everywhere. This method requires more items, which isn’t common in household. Navigate to chapter 4 for this.
3. Basic cleaning method (sufficient for most)
If your keyboard isn’t the biggest mess, and you just have some crumbles and hair in between your keys, then this guide will be sufficient for you.
3.1 Required items for basic cleaning
- Cotton sticks
- Soft brush
- Dishwasher detergent
- Tweezers (optional)
3.2 Removing big debris
The easiest way to remove the biggest debris and crumbles is to grab a brush and brush it all away. Make sure to avoid the gaps at your stabilizers, as you don’t want any filth getting in between your top plate and PCB. We marked the spots to avoid in yellow in the image below.
3.3 Cleaning in between the switches
To clean in between the switches, you will need to grab your cotton sticks and create another lukewarm soapy bath. You dip your cotton sticks in the soap bath (make sure it isn’t dripping, but lightly moist) and rinse in between your switches. If you want to be more hygienic, you can use isopropyl alcohol instead of a soap bath. Sometimes, hairs may be stuck in the crevices of your switches. You can remove these by hand, but the easiest would be to use tweezers.
Putting back the keycaps
And the final part, is putting back your keycaps and voilà! You are done! Might you still not be fully satisfied with the results or do you need to clean it more thoroughly, then you might want to follow the deep cleaning method.
4. Deep cleaning method
For the deep cleaning mode, we must confirm your keyboard is hot-swappable. Hot-swappable allows you to remove the switches from the plate. This way the plate can easily be cleaned more easily.
4.1 Required items for the deep cleaning method
- Switch puller
- Dishwasher detergent
- Soft brush
4.2 Removing the switches
If you don’t have a switch puller. You can purchase one of our kits with a switch puller included, or buy it separate somewhere else.
In order to remove your switches, you will have to grab a switch puller. Make sure the hooks on the switch puller align with the clips of the switch and pull the switches out. You can find the clips on the bottom and top side of your switch housing. Don’t pull on the switch too hard if you can’t seem to remove it, try wiggling it out instead. It should never be difficult to remove the switches from the plate.
4.3 Removing the top plate
Remove the top plate by locating all the screws on the top plate. Once all the screws are removed, you can simply remove the top plate by pulling it up. But you will still see stabilizers attached to the top plate. Best is to remove these as well.
4.4 Removing the stablizers
You can easily remove the stabilizers by locating the clips on the back. Push the clips in and push the stabilizer housing downward, and they should be sliding out. Do this for every stabilizer on the board. If there are any crumbles stuck on the stabilizer wire or housing now is the time to remove that as well. If it is clean, we continue to the next step.
4.5 Cleaning the top plate
Fill up your sink with lukewarm water and put some dishwasher detergent inside. Insert the top plate in the sink and scrub all over it with the soft brush. Do this continuously until you don’t see any debris stuck on the plate anymore. Grab a towel to dry the top plate off.
4.6 Putting it all back together
Attach the stabilizers back on the top plate, and insert the top plate back on the board. Put all the screws back in, insert all your switches and make sure the window on the switch aligns with the RGB light on the board. Then you put back all of your keycaps. And voilà! It is done. And damn, it looks brand spanking new again, doesn’t it? ;)