How to Clean Gaming Keyboard?

Just like your favorite game requires regular updates to run smoothly, your gaming keyboard needs a little upkeep to give you the best performance. Over time, dust, crumbs, and oils from our fingers find their way in between the keys, potentially making them sticky, unresponsive, or just plain dirty.

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A clean keyboard not only looks good but also ensures that every key press registers perfectly during those critical gaming moments. Let’s dive into how to give your gaming keyboard the cleaning it deserves so you can game on without any hitches!

Tools and Materials Needed

Before diving into the cleaning process, it’s crucial to have the right tools and materials on hand. Equipping yourself with these items will ensure a thorough and safe cleaning experience for your gaming keyboard, extending its lifespan and maintaining its responsiveness.

Soft Brush or Old Toothbrush

A soft brush, or even an old toothbrush you no longer use, is an ideal tool for scrubbing away stubborn dirt and debris from your keyboard’s surface. The bristles can reach tight spaces between keys, ensuring a thorough clean.

Cotton Swabs or Q-tips

These are perfect for getting into the nooks and crannies of your keyboard, especially around the keys. Dipped in a little isopropyl alcohol, they can help remove stickiness or stains from hard-to-reach areas.

Isopropyl Alcohol (at least 70%)

Isopropyl alcohol is great for cleaning electronics. It dries quickly and doesn’t leave any residue behind. Make sure it’s at least 70% concentration to effectively break down oils and grime.

Lint-free Microfiber Cloth

After cleaning, you’ll want to wipe down your keyboard. A lint-free microfiber cloth is soft enough that it won’t scratch your keyboard, but it’s also effective in picking up any leftover dust or smudges.

Compressed Air

Over time, small particles like crumbs or dust can settle beneath your keys. Compressed air is perfect for blowing out these particles from under the keys without having to remove them.

Mild Dish Soap (optional)

If your keycaps are especially dirty, a mild dish soap can be used to give them a deep clean. Just a small drop in some warm water can make a big difference.

Keycap Puller (or a Flat Tool)

When it’s time for a deep clean, you’ll need to remove the keycaps. A keycap puller is designed for this job, making it easy and ensuring you don’t damage the keys. If you don’t have one, a flat tool, like a flat-head screwdriver, can work in a pinch, but be gentle!

How to Clean Gaming Keyboard? Preliminary Steps

Before we dive into the cleaning process, there are a couple of essential preparatory steps you should follow. These simple actions set the stage for a safe and effective cleaning, ensuring your keyboard remains undamaged and functions correctly after the cleanup.

Unplug the Keyboard from Your Computer

Safety first! Before you start any cleaning, it’s essential to disconnect your keyboard from your computer. This step not only protects your keyboard from potential damage but also safeguards your computer from accidental inputs during the cleaning process.

Take a Photo of Your Keyboard (For Reference When Reassembling)

Keyboards, especially gaming ones, come with various key designs and placements. To make sure you can put every key back in its rightful place after cleaning, take a clear photo of your keyboard. This photo will act as a handy reference guide, ensuring you won’t be left puzzled about where each key belongs.

Dusting the Surface

Everyday use exposes your keyboard to dust, crumbs, and other small particles that can settle between and under the keys. Regular dusting is a quick way to keep your keyboard looking fresh and maintain its performance. Here’s how to do it effectively:

Gently Tilt the Keyboard Upside Down and Tap Lightly

Start by gently tilting your keyboard upside down. Give it a light tap or two on the back. This simple action helps to dislodge any loose dirt or particles that have settled on the surface and between the keys. You’d be surprised at what might fall out just from this step!

Use Compressed Air to Blow Out Debris from Between Keys

After tapping out the loose debris, take a can of compressed air. Aim the nozzle between the keys and give short bursts to blow away the dust and particles that didn’t fall out earlier. Hold the can upright to ensure it works effectively and always keep it at a little distance to avoid pushing debris further into the keyboard.

Deep Cleaning (Removing Keycaps)

Even with regular dusting, keyboards can accumulate grime over time that requires a deeper clean. Removing the keycaps allows for a thorough cleaning of both the keys and the keyboard’s surface. Here’s a step-by-step guide to get your keyboard looking and feeling like new:

Using a Keycap Puller or Flat Tool, Carefully Remove the Keycaps

A keycap puller is a handy tool designed specifically for this job, ensuring a safe and efficient removal process. If you don’t have one, a flat tool like a credit card or a flat-head screwdriver can be used. Gently wedge it beneath a keycap and lift. Remember, use gentle force to prevent damaging the keys or the switches underneath.

Place the Keycaps in a Bowl with Warm Water and a Drop of Mild Dish Soap

Once all keycaps are removed, prepare a cleaning solution. Fill a bowl with warm water and add a drop or two of mild dish soap. Place the keycaps in this mixture and stir gently. This will help dissolve and lift away oils and grime from the surface of the keys.

While Keycaps Soak, Brush Away Any Dirt or Debris from the Keyboard’s Surface

With the keycaps removed, you’ll notice more dirt on the keyboard’s surface. Use a soft brush or an old toothbrush to scrub away any visible debris or dirt. Brushing in a gentle, circular motion can be effective in lifting grime from the surface.

Use Cotton Swabs Dipped in Isopropyl Alcohol to Clean Around Switches and Other Hard-to-Reach Areas

For areas that the brush can’t reach, like around the switches, dip a cotton swab into isopropyl alcohol and gently clean those areas. The alcohol helps to break down tough grime and dries quickly, ensuring no moisture remains.

Rinse the Keycaps with Clean Water and Let Them Dry Completely

After the keycaps have soaked for a while, rinse them under clean, running water to wash off the soap. It’s essential to let the keycaps dry entirely before placing them back on the keyboard. You can either let them air dry on a towel or use a lint-free cloth to pat them dry.

Reassembling the Keyboard

Once the deep cleaning is done and every keycap is dry, it’s time to put your keyboard back together. It’s essential to ensure that every key is correctly placed to avoid any functionality issues. Here’s how to efficiently reassemble your keyboard:

Using Your Reference Photo, Place the Keycaps Back onto Their Respective Switches

Remember the photo you took before starting the cleaning process? Now’s the time to pull it up. With your photo as a guide, begin placing each keycap back onto its respective switch on the keyboard. The photo ensures that you position every key in its correct spot, especially if your keyboard has a unique layout or design.

Press Down Firmly to Ensure Each Keycap is Secure

Once a keycap is positioned over its switch, press down firmly until you feel it click into place. This step ensures that the keycap is securely attached and will function correctly when pressed. It’s a good idea to test each key after reassembly to make sure everything feels right.

How to Clean Gaming Keyboard? Finishing Touches

After reassembling the keyboard, a few final touches will ensure it looks pristine and is ready for use. These steps add a polish to your cleaning process, ensuring you get the best out of your freshly cleaned gaming keyboard:

Wipe the Exterior of the Keyboard with a Microfiber Cloth, Dampened Slightly with Isopropyl Alcohol

Take a lint-free microfiber cloth and slightly dampen a section of it with isopropyl alcohol. Gently wipe down the exterior and surface of your keyboard. This step will remove any fingerprints, smudges, or residual grime, giving your keyboard a fresh and clean appearance.

Plug Your Keyboard Back into the Computer

Now that your keyboard is clean and shiny, it’s time to reconnect it to your computer. Plug it back in and give all the keys a quick test to ensure they’re working as expected. With everything in order, you’re ready to dive back into your favorite games with a keyboard that feels and looks like new!

Regular Maintenance Tips

To keep your gaming keyboard in top-notch condition, regular maintenance is essential. By adopting a few simple habits and creating a routine cleaning schedule, you can prolong the life of your keyboard and ensure it always delivers peak performance. Here are some essential maintenance tips:

Weekly Surface Cleaning Recommendations

Every week, take a few minutes to dust off the surface of your keyboard. Use a soft brush or compressed air to blow away any loose particles. Additionally, wiping the keys and surface with a lightly dampened microfiber cloth can help remove any oils or smudges that accumulate from regular use.

Monthly Deep Cleaning Schedule

While weekly cleanings will manage most of the surface grime, it’s beneficial to perform a deep clean once a month. This involves removing the keycaps, soaking and cleaning them, brushing the keyboard’s surface, and using cotton swabs to clean the hard-to-reach areas. Regular monthly deep cleans ensure that dirt doesn’t accumulate over time, leading to sticky keys or unresponsive switches.

Importance of Keeping Drinks and Food Away from the Keyboard

One of the leading causes of keyboard damage is accidental spills. It’s crucial to always keep drinks and food away from your keyboard. Even a small splash can cause a key to become unresponsive or, worse, lead to internal damage. Adopting the habit of keeping your gaming area food and drink-free can save you from potential keyboard mishaps in the future.

How to Clean Gaming Keyboard? Final Thoughts

Taking care of your gaming keyboard goes beyond ensuring it looks good; it’s about preserving its functionality and extending its lifespan. With the steps outlined in this article, not only will you have a keyboard that shines, but you’ll also have one that responds accurately during those crucial in-game moments. 

Regular maintenance might seem like a chore, but the rewards in performance and longevity are well worth the effort. So, the next time you level up in your favorite game, remember that a clean keyboard had a part to play. Game on with confidence, knowing that your trusty keyboard is at its best!

How to Clean Gaming Keyboard? FAQs

  • Why Is It Essential To Clean My Gaming Keyboard Regularly?

    Regular cleaning removes dirt, grime, and oils that accumulate from your fingers. This not only keeps your keyboard looking pristine but also ensures that the keys remain responsive and the keyboard lasts longer.

  • How Often Should I Perform a Deep Cleaning on My Gaming Keyboard?

    It’s recommended to do a deep cleaning once a month. However, if you notice visible dirt or if the keys start to feel sticky, it might be time for a thorough cleanup.

  • Can I Use Regular Water To Clean My Keyboard?

    While mild dish soap and water are okay for cleaning keycaps, it’s essential to avoid letting water touch the electronic parts of the keyboard. Always use isopropyl alcohol for the main body, as it evaporates quickly and doesn’t leave residue.

  • Is Compressed Air Necessary for Cleaning a Keyboard?

    Compressed air is highly beneficial for blowing out debris from between keys without the need to remove them. It’s an effective way to clean areas that are otherwise hard to reach.

  • I Don’t Have a Keycap Puller. Is There an Alternative?

    Yes, you can use a flat tool like a credit card or flat-head screwdriver. However, be gentle to avoid damaging the keys or switches underneath.

  • Why Should I Take a Photo of My Keyboard Before Cleaning?

    A reference photo helps you remember the placement of each keycap, especially if your keyboard has a unique layout. This ensures you can reassemble it correctly after cleaning.

  • What Concentration of Isopropyl Alcohol Is Best for Cleaning Keyboards?

    An isopropyl alcohol concentration of at least 70% is recommended, as it effectively breaks down oils and grime while evaporating quickly.

  • Can I Use Other Types of Cloths Instead of a Microfiber Cloth?

    A lint-free microfiber cloth is recommended because it doesn’t scratch the surface and doesn’t leave lint behind. Other cloths might not be as gentle or effective.

  • What Should I Do If I Spill a Drink on My Keyboard?

    Immediately unplug the keyboard and turn it upside down to drain any liquid. Then, dry it as much as possible with a cloth. Depending on the spill, you might need to remove the keycaps and clean them individually.

  • Are There Any Specific Things To Avoid When Cleaning a Gaming Keyboard?

    Avoid using harsh chemicals or abrasive tools, which could damage the keyboard’s surface or its internal components. Also, never submerge the keyboard in water, as it could harm the electronics.

Picture of Lukasz Zaborski
Lukasz Zaborski
I'm a big fan of gaming and have been playing video games for over 30 years. I love playing on the latest gaming consoles like the Playstation 5 and Xbox Series X, and I still play games every day. To me, playing games is the most fun thing in the world!

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