A mechanical keyboard, unlike a membrane keyboard, is a keyboard that uses individual keyswitches to register each keystroke on a keyboard. One of the many benefits to owning a mechanical keyboard is the ease at which you can take apart and clean the whole keyboard, something you are unable to do with a membrane keyboard.
Here are some simple steps that will help you clean your mechanical keyboard:
Removing the Keycaps
Before we get started, unplug your keyboard. We don’t want moisture and electricity mixing, plus if you’re using a mechanical RGB keyboard or a mechanical keyboard with any type of backlighting, the bright lights might be a distraction during the cleaning. Once the keyboard is unpowered, the first thing you should do is to learn how to remove and replace the keycaps. Our article here shows you how to easily remove and replace keycaps without any bumps in the road. Using a key puller, remove the keycaps from your keyboard. It is recommended to do this in groups and to organize the removed keycaps so that you can put them back on without having to remember which key goes where. Make sure to carefully remove the larger keys like the space bar, shift, and enter keys because on some keyboards these will have a support bar underneath that is easy to break and hard to replace.
Once the Keycaps are Removed
Once the keycaps have been removed be sure to get rid of any loose debris from the keyboard itself. This can be done by turning the keyboard over and shaking the debris out, or by taking a can of air and blasting the debris away. To clean up any spills that may have occurred, take a damp microfiber cloth and wipe up the liquid. Make sure you are very careful to not get any water directly into the keyboard as most mechanical keyboards are not water-resistant, you must put the water onto the cloth and use that to remove any debris or sticky substances. If deeper cleaning is necessary, you may take isopropyl alcohol and apply it to the cloth, once again, taking great care to never directly apply any liquid directly to your keyboard and keyswitches. After cleaning the inside of the keyboard, move your attention to the keycaps and clean them, as well. If the keycaps are very dirty you can use a small amount of isopropyl alcohol placed on a microfiber cloth to clean each keycap individually. If you don't want to clean the keycaps individually you can clean them while they are attached to the keyboard by wiping them with a slightly damp microfiber cloth.
Placing the Keycaps Back On
After making sure that there is absolutely no residual liquid or moisture lingering in the keyboard, turn it over and let it air dry overnight for good measure. Once the keyboard is completely dry, put the keycaps back on one by one. If you washed the individual keycaps, make sure they’re also completely dry when you place them back onto the keyboard. Reference the article here for a more complete guide on how to put keycaps back on. Once the keycaps are on the keyboard take a slightly damp microfiber cloth and wipe off the keycaps one more time.
Once everything is on the keyboard, turn the keyboard upside down once more and let it dry overnight again. This might seem like an overabundance of caution, but you want to be completely certain that there is absolutely no residual moisture left in the keyboard before you connect it and run electricity through it. The more drying time you give the keyboard, the safer it’ll be.