Crunch. Crackle. Squish. If these sounds are familiar when you’re typing, your mechanical keyboard may be crying out for a thorough cleaning. Given the amount of time we spend using keyboards, it’s no wonder they accumulate grime, dust, and sometimes even the remnants of that snack you had during a gaming marathon. Here’s how to keep your mechanical keyboard clean and functioning at its best.

Understanding the Mechanical Keyboard

Before we delve into the cleaning process, understanding the build of a mechanical keyboard is crucial:

  1. Switches: The heart of every key, these can be tactile, linear, or clicky, and they’re what makes mechanical keyboards distinctive.
  2. Keycaps: The part you actually touch, keycaps can be made of various materials and come in different profiles.
  3. Backplate and Casing: This is the structure that holds everything together and gives your keyboard its overall shape.

Steps to Clean Your Mechanical Keyboard

  1. Preparation: Unplug your keyboard or switch it off if it’s wireless. This ensures safety during the cleaning process.
  2. Surface Dusting: Using a soft brush or compressed air, dust off the surface to remove loose particles and debris.
  3. Removing Keycaps: Using a keycap puller (or a flat tool if you don’t have one), gently remove each keycap. Organize them in a way that will help you remember their placements.
  4. Cleaning Keycaps: Soak the keycaps in warm, soapy water for a few hours. After soaking, use a soft brush to scrub each keycap gently. Rinse them with clean water and let them dry completely.
  5. Cleaning the Board: With the keycaps off, you’ll see more dirt accumulated. Use a soft brush to clean between switches. For sticky spots, dampen a cloth with isopropyl alcohol and gently wipe the area. Remember, never pour or spray any liquid directly onto the keyboard.
  6. Reassembling: Once everything is dry, carefully place the keycaps back on their respective switches. Ensure they’re seated correctly.
  7. Maintenance: Consider a regular cleaning schedule based on usage. For heavy users, a monthly surface clean and a deep clean every 3-4 months can be ideal.

Additional Tips

  1. Avoid Spills: Be cautious with liquids around your keyboard. If an accident occurs, unplug immediately and remove as much liquid as possible.
  2. Hand Hygiene: Clean hands mean a cleaner keyboard. Make it a habit to wash your hands before using your computer.
  3. Protective Covers: If you’re in a particularly dusty environment or eat frequently at your desk, consider using a protective cover.


Cleaning a mechanical keyboard might seem daunting at first, but with the right tools and a bit of patience, it can be a straightforward process. Regular maintenance not only ensures a pleasant typing experience but also prolongs the lifespan of your cherished keyboard.


  1. Q: Can I use household cleaners on my keyboard? A: It’s best to avoid harsh chemicals. Stick to isopropyl alcohol or mild soapy water.
  2. Q: What if I forget where the keycaps go? A: You can always refer to pictures of standard keyboard layouts online or take a photo of your keyboard before starting.
  3. Q: How long should keycaps dry? A: It’s vital to ensure they’re completely dry before reassembly. Leaving them overnight or for 24 hours is a good practice.
  4. Q: Can I wash my keyboard if I spilled soda or coffee on it? A: Only the keycaps can be washed. For the rest of the keyboard, use a damp cloth and isopropyl alcohol. If liquid spills into the switches, it may require more intensive cleaning or replacement.
  5. Q: Do all mechanical keyboards have removable keycaps? A: Most do, but always check the manufacturer’s guidelines before attempting to remove them.