How To Clean a Gaming Mechanical Keyboard Properly (Safely!)

a funny scientist cleaning a mechanical keyboard and pointing at you

Mechanical keyboards are fantastic tools for any gamer, designer, or creator. While they provide an invaluable technological experience, it goes without saying that these gadgets endure a fair amount of abuse. Cleaning your mechanical keyboard properly, efficiently, and safely is an excellent way to ensure its longevity.

Here are 5 tips on how to clean your gaming mechanical keyboard properly:

  1. Try to avoid eating or drinking around your keyboard.
  2. Take preventative steps to counteract grime accumulation.
  3. Never spray cleaning liquids directly onto your keyboard.
  4. Use advanced cleaning measures to clean your keyboard.
  5. Invest in a handheld vacuum cleaner and bristles.

In the rest of this article, you will learn the best and most appropriate ways to clean your gaming mechanical keyboard without damaging it. If you want your keyboard to last long and function effectively, follow these tips to ensure you are getting the most out of your keyboard.

1. Try To Avoid Eating or Drinking Around Your Keyboard

If you are guilty of eating or drinking while using your gaming mechanical keyboard, you are not alone. Those who spend long hours designing, gaming, or creating will know that sometimes it is inevitable that your keyboard will occasionally be exposed to food and drink.

professional elegant woman computer engineer typing on her mechanical keyboard while working

However, limiting how much you subject it to crumbs and liquid is one of the best ways to prevent grime and spillage from dirtying or even damaging your mechanical keyboard. 

If you eat or drink around your keyboard, make sure to limit any spillages and reduce the number of crumbs that fall beneath the keys. Eating at your desk rather than over your keyboard can reduce the possibility of food residue getting between the keycaps.

Once crumbs and other food residue get stuck behind your key switch, removing them is a long process, so make sure you monitor how much you eat or drink near it.

2. Take Preventative Steps To Counteract Grime Accumulation

As well as the occasional deep clean, preventative measures can indeed save the life of your gaming mechanical keyboard. 

Preventative measures include wiping your keyboard down frequently with a damp microfiber cloth to maintain the outward appearance of the keycaps and keep grime from falling under the keys. You can find very inexpensive microfiber cloths on Amazon and other online retailers.

Another way to prevent dirt from gathering on your keyboard is to use a keyboard cleaning brush to get the dirt out from between the keycaps. I recommend using the Small Cleaning Brush Kit from, which is perfect for brushing away some of that dust and grime. 

These brushes can provide a great alternative if you don’t have time for a deeper clean, and they can easily remove pet hair, dust, and dirt that accumulates under the keyboard.

While it is easy to turn a blind eye to the rising dirt and grime that can accumulate on your mechanical keyboard, cleaning it frequently and maintaining it properly is the best way to ensure that your keyboard will perform with utmost efficiency,

3. Never Spray Cleaning Liquids Directly Onto Your Keyboard

It might feel tempting to use a cleaning spray to clean your mechanical keyboard, especially when it is not plugged in.

However, spraying any liquid – be it cleaning spray or simply water – can be very damaging to your keyboard. Liquid damage is fatal to any gaming keyboard, so make sure to stay away from any spray bottles when considering cleaning your keyboard.

Instead, you can use a damp cloth and a dry cloth to wipe down the keyboard.

close up of a woman's hands typing on a laptop keyboard

4. Use Advanced Cleaning Measures To Clean Your Keyboard

Once (or even twice) a year, it is crucial to clean your mechanical keyboard thoroughly. A specific cleaning procedure every few months can make a considerable difference essential to your device’s lifespan.

Although this procedure can be very time-consuming, it is imperative to maintain the consistency and effectiveness of your gaming mechanical keyboard.

I will go through an advanced cleaning routine step-by-step below so that you can make the most of your annual clean.

Unplug Your Keyboard and Use a Keycap Tong To Remove the Keys

Unplugging your keyboard ensures that it is not connected to any power supply so that you can effectively clean your keyboard without worrying about damaging any circuit connected to your gaming PC.

Keycap pullers are handy little devices that can be used to disconnect your keycaps from the motherboard. I recommend using the Qisan Keycap Puller from as it is very inexpensive and works effectively. 

Some keycaps might be attached with stabilizers to ensure they can be pressed down evenly; these include the space bar, enter, shift, backspace, and the + key.

It is best to remove these larger keycaps with stabilizers first, as it becomes easier to remove the rest of the keycaps after they have been pulled out.

Place the Keycaps in a Bowl With Warm, Soapy Water

In this step, do ensure that the water is not too hot. It would help if you aimed to leave the keycaps soaking in the soapy water for at least 4-6 hours. This will ensure that all the accumulated bacteria is killed so that you are left with squeaky clean keycaps.

Once several hours have gone by, rinse off your keycaps and place them face down on a dry towel. You might need to leave them overnight to dry properly.

Wipe Down the Switchboard With a Slightly Damp Cloth

While your keycaps are drying, you can clean the switchboard. This is a straightforward procedure, and you can use a damp cloth to wipe it down, then use a dry cloth to dry it.

Between the key switches, it might be helpful to utilize a cotton swab to get at the stubborn dirt left around the keys.

Replace the Keycaps on the Switchboard

Reattaching the keycaps back onto your keyboard is very simple, and they should just click into place. 

Again, it might be easier to start with the larger keycaps with stabilizers. This will ensure that the rest of the keycaps can be easily reattached.

If it is easier, use a photo of a mechanical keyboard on google to remember where each keycap is supposed to go.

5. Invest in a Handheld Vacuum Cleaner and Bristles

For preventative cleaning (and indeed for the more robust cleaning procedure), it might be sensible to invest in a handheld vacuum cleaner and bristles to make cleaning easier and more time-efficient.

You can use a vacuum cleaner to remove dust and superficial grime accumulation on your keyboard as often as you want.

While some vacuum cleaners can be more expensive, plenty of options are available for those with a smaller budget. For example, the Surwit Portable Cordless Car Handheld Vacuum Cleaner from is inexpensive and perfect for cleaning your keyboard.

Whatever you do, never use canned air to attempt to clean your mechanical keyboard. Canned air can lead to condensation to build-up on your keyboard, making the grime between the keys even more ingrained in the switchboard.

If you don’t want to invest in a handheld vacuum cleaner, then you can easily unplug your keyboard, turn it over, and shake it vigorously to release some of the dust. While this technique is not as effective as using a vacuum, it is better than nothing. 

Key Takeaways

It is a fairly straightforward procedure to clean a gaming mechanical keyboard effectively, and when it is done correctly, you can be sure that your keyboard will last at least 10-15 years.

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