Cleaning A Mechanical Keyboard

Before: 10 years of crumbs and gunk

Materials Needed

  • Mechanical Keyboard (mine was a Rosewill RK-9000)
  • Keycap Puller (like these)
  • Dish Soap
  • Canned / Compressed Air
  • Vacuum Cleaner
  • A solvent (alcohol works well) and qtips

Step 1: Remove all the key caps

A big pile of dirty key caps

Step 2: Wash Your Key Caps

Get your dish soap, a bowl of hot water, and mix up a nice soapy bath — throw in the key caps, give it a few gentle stirs, and let it soak for a few hours. If it’s insufficient, you can also do some manual scrubbing — like washing dishes — and let them soak longer.

Keycaps soaking in hot water
Drying caps

Step 3: Vacuum The Keyboard

Get your your hose attachment and vacuum up as much loose crud as you can; it should make a slight improvement:

After vacuuming it’s 60% less disgusting!

Step 4: Loosen Stuck Gunk

Take your qtips and solvent, and loosen up all the gunk that is still stuck there. You can re-vacuum or hit it after with some compressed air, and shake it a bit upside down. Repeat until all the keyboard looks clean.

Much improved

Step 5: Put the Keycaps back on

This is the easy part — just pop the keycaps back on in their positions. If you forgot where they go, google “108 key layout” or the respective for your keyboard, and you should be able to find a representative image.

The final product doesn’t look like much, but it’s a lot cleaner

Bonus Steps:

If like me your keycaps are themselves a bit worn, considering order new keycaps, say from AliExpress.

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Elliott

Elliott

Personal interests in literature, SF, and whisky/whiskey/scotch, Software Engineer by Trade