How to clean your mechanical keyboard

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A photo of a dirty mechanical keyboard with pink, purple and blue keys

Clean that nasty keyboard already.
Photo: Florence Ion / Gizmodo

I learned from a young age how computers can get dirty after enough time in a common area bordering the kitchen and living room, especially the keyboard. Dust, grease, food crumbs and everything in between get stuck in the crevices of the keys, in places you never thought possible. And now that I’m into mechanical keyboards, including their customization, I had to make a cleaning routine to make sure every keeb in my neighborhood is always ready for their close-up.

My methods are pretty standard and they rely on tools you may already have around the house. I’m talking about cotton swabs, dish soap, and isopropyl alcohol. Over the years, I’ve also bought a few items that I’ve found particularly useful, like a key puller with a metal handle and a handheld keyboard vacuum. The vacuum cleaner ensures that the other parts of my office also remain free of dust.

Here’s how to clean your mechanical keyboard if you feel like it’s time to tackle the dirt by removing the shine from your fancy kit. Even if you’re using a standard, run-of-the-mill mechanical keyboard, you’ll want to keep it in good shape so the springs stay hanging and the keys look just as shiny as day one. Note that this method will not work for a membrane keyboard, where each key is attached to the board.


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