Mechanical keyboards, if maintained in the right manner, can last for decades. A quick clean-up doesn’t take a long time, and when done regularly can prevent a lot of issues with your keyboard. One of the most common reasons for a key breaking down is the accumulation of dirt under it. In this article, we bring you the best ways to clean your mechanical keyboard and show you how to fix a broken key.
It is very common for dust to settle in your mechanical keyboard within days after cleaning. Dirt notoriously finds its way between the keys, and it becomes necessary to lightly clean your keyboard regularly to prevent the dirt from accumulating. You can perform a light surface clean once every two weeks, or whenever you see the dirt building up. Here’s how you can do that.
- Invest in a keyboard vacuum cleaner. It may seem excessive initially, but it is the easiest and most efficient way to extract dirt from your mechanical keyboard. It can even reach all those corners that are otherwise inaccessible. Most vacuums come with different attachments that will cover all bases when it comes to removing dirt from all areas of the keyboard.
- If you do not have a keyboard vacuum cleaner, using a brush also gets the work done. While it may not be as efficient as a vacuum, it still comes in very handy when doing regular light clean-ups on your keyboard. Some people do not feel the need to buy a vacuum when they use a brush on their keyboard once a week. A good brush has long bristles that can reach between the keys to wipe out the dirt. After brushing your keyboard, turn it upside down and gently tap the back to get all the small particles out.
- After you’ve got the dirt out from between the keys, use a clean, damp microfiber cloth to wipe the keyboard down. Once you’ve wiped it with a damp cloth, wipe it again with a dry one to make sure no moisture gets stuck to the keys.
If you want to increase the longevity of your mechanical keyboard, you need to give it a proper deep clean once every few months. Even though a gentle surface clean takes care of the dust, it does not entirely prevent it from getting under the keys. A deep clean removes all traces of dirt and dust, and also leaves your keyboard looking like new.
- Use a keycap puller to disassemble all keys from your keyboard. You can find good keycap pullers on Amazon. Make sure you take a picture of your keyboard before you pull out the keys, so you know which key goes where.
- Put the keys in a bowl of soap water to soak. Leave them there for a few hours, undisturbed. Once they’ve been thoroughly soaked, rinse them with clean water and wipe them with a clean cloth. After wiping, lay them out upside down to air dry. Let them air dry for at least a day, so there’s no moisture left in them. Do not air dry in a humid place, like a bathroom.
- Use a clean brush to unsettle all the dirt from your keyboard. Now that all the keys have been pulled out, it will be easy to spot the clumps of dirt that have accumulated over time. Once the dirt is loose, turn your keyboard upside down and tap it gently on the back to remove all the dirt particles. Use the vacuum on the keyboard to remove the finer dust particles. Wipe the case with a clean microfiber cloth once all the dirt is removed.
- Plug the keycaps back in, following the picture you took before disassembling them. Once everything is in place, give everything another wipe with a microfiber cloth.
Bonus tip: How to deal with spills
Spilling your drink on your keyboard can render it unusable if the drink corrupts the electric circuits. You need to act quickly once you’ve spilled a drink on your keyboard. Firstly, unplug the keyboard from your desktop to prevent any circuit damage to the keyboard. If you’ve spilled water on your keyboard, pat the surface with a dry cloth and let everything dry out. After that, you need to remove all the keycaps and wipe everything down with a clean microfiber cloth. Let the keycaps and the case air dry for a day before you plug the keyboard in again.
If you’ve spilled a beverage or a sugary drink, you will need to perform a deep clean to get all the stickiness out of your keyboard.
How to fix a broken key?
A key may stop working due to several reasons like a faulty connection, collection of dirt, stuck switch, and circuit failure. Before you think about discarding your keyboard, they may be something you can do to rescue a broken key. Here are some ways you can fix a broken key.
- There may be an issue with the cable connecting your keyboard to the desktop. Try using a different USB cable to connect your keyboard to the PC. You can also try plugging the current cable into a different port.
- Sometimes a key may become unresponsive due to excessive dirt collecting under it. Pull the keycap out and remove any dirt from under it. Blow on the switch and plug it back in.
- If your keyboard comes with a swappable switch, you can try replacing it. There are different tools that you can use to remove a switch under a key. Pop the new switch in and see if it works.
Cleaning your mechanical keyboard increases its longevity and keeps the keys from malfunctioning. It is recommended you light clean your keyboard once a week. A thorough deep clean should be performed once every two months. You can also reduce the dirt that gets in your keyboard by not consuming any snacks while you’re working on your computer, and not placing your keyboard near an open window or anywhere within close proximity to dust.
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