How to clean a gaming keyboard like a pro?

How to clean a gaming keyboard like a pro?

How to clean a gaming keyboard
Do you often experience keyboards that are sticky, slow to respond, or unresponsive? Don't rush to replace it, because the problem may only require a simple cleaning process to fix. Let's learn with Enthkey how to clean keyboard keys effectively, helping to prolong life and maintain optimal performance for this indispensable device of yours.

Role of cleaning keyboard keys

Cleaning keyboard keys is not only an aesthetic issue but is also directly related to the user's work performance and health. Keyboards are a breeding ground for bacteria, dirt, and food debris, which can affect the device's functionality and potentially spread disease. Research shows that the average keyboard can contain more bacteria than a toilet seat. Maintaining regular cleaning not only prolongs the life of the keyboard but also ensures a clean and professional working environment.

Prepare before cleaning

Disconnect and power off

The first and most important step in cleaning keyboard keys is to disconnect and power off the device. For wired keyboards, unplugging the USB or PS/2 cable from the computer is necessary. For wireless keyboards, turn off the power switch and remove the battery. For laptop keyboards, turning off the computer and disconnecting it from the power source is required. This step not only ensures user safety but also protects the electronic components inside the keyboard from the risk of electric shock or damage due to contact with water or cleaning solution.

Prepare necessary tools and materials

Adequate preparation of tools and materials before starting the cleaning process will help the work go effectively and smoothly. The list to prepare includes:
  1. Compressed air: This is an effective tool for removing dust and small debris from the gaps between keys. Be careful to use at the appropriate distance and pressure to avoid damaging components.
  2. Soft brush: A brush with soft bristles, like an old toothbrush, is useful for dusting and cleaning hard-to-reach corners.
  3. Microfiber cloth: This type of cloth is ideal for cleaning key surfaces without causing scratches.
  4. Isopropyl alcohol (70% concentration): This is an effective solution for disinfecting and cleaning stubborn stains. However, you need to use it carefully and not let it seep too much inside the keyboard.
  5. Cotton swab or small sponge: Useful for applying cleaning solution in a precise and controlled manner.
  6. Cleaning gel pad: This product can reach and remove dirt from hard-to-reach areas.
  7. Keycap puller: If you plan to remove the keys for thorough cleaning, this is an essential tool to avoid damaging the keys or switches underneath.
  8. Paper towels or lint-free wipes: Use to dry the keyboard after cleaning.
  9. Small bowl or tray: Store removed keys to avoid losing them during cleaning.

Careful preparation not only helps the cleaning process go smoothly but also ensures safety for the keyboard and the user. Each type of keyboard may require different tools and cleaning methods, so consulting the manufacturer's instructions is also an important step in the preparation process.

Basic cleaning method

Remove surface dirt

Removing surface dirt is the first and important step in the keyboard key cleaning process. This method helps remove dust and debris visible to the naked eye, facilitating deeper cleaning steps later. Start by turning the keyboard upside down and shaking it gently to remove any large debris.

Next, use compressed air to blow away any remaining dirt. When using compressed air, it is necessary to keep the tank at a moderate distance and at an angle of about 75 degrees from the keyboard surface. This helps avoid pushing dust deeper inside the keyboard mechanism. After using compressed air, use a soft brush to gently brush on the surface and around the keys. Pay attention to the corners and edges of the keys, where dust often accumulates. For stubborn stains, use a damp (not wet) microfiber cloth to gently wipe. Avoid using too much water or cleaning solution in this step to avoid damaging the internal electronic components.

Clean the gaps between the keys

The surface under the keys is where the most dirt accumulates, requiring special attention during cleaning. Start by using compressed air to remove most of the dirt, holding the sprayer at an angle to avoid pushing dust deeper into the internal mechanism. Next, use a soft brush or cotton swab to wipe away any remaining dirt, paying special attention to corners and crevices. For stubborn stains, use a cotton swab lightly moistened with isopropyl alcohol, but be careful not to let the alcohol seep inside. With mechanical keyboards, avoid letting liquid come into direct contact with the switch, instead use a soft brush or compressed air to clean around it. After cleaning, let the keyboard dry completely in a ventilated environment for at least 24 hours before reinstalling the keys. This process should be performed periodically, depending on usage and work environment.

Solutions to specific problems

Handle sticky keys

Sticky keys are a common problem, often caused by liquid spills or long-term dirt accumulation. To fix it, the first step is to remove the stuck key and clean it carefully with isopropyl alcohol. Next, check and clean the mechanism underneath the key with a cotton swab soaked in alcohol. This process requires patience and meticulousness. If the keys are still sticky after cleaning, it may be necessary to replace the switch for mechanical keyboards or replace the keyboard membrane for conventional keyboards.

Fix stained keys

Staining on keyboard keys is often the result of long-term exposure to oils from the user's skin. To solve this problem, start by removing the key and soaking it in a solution of warm water diluted with mild soap. Use a soft brush to gently scrub the key surface. For cases of severe staining, you can try using toothpaste that does not contain bleach, gently rub the key surface and then rinse. However, if the above methods do not work, replacing the keycap can be the last solution.

Eliminates bad odors on the keyboard

Bad odors on keyboards often come from bacteria or food that has accumulated over time. To handle it, it is necessary to thoroughly clean the keyboard according to the steps mentioned previously. Then, use a 70% isopropyl alcohol solution to disinfect the entire surface. It is important to let the keyboard dry completely in a well-ventilated space. To enhance the deodorizing effect, you can place a desiccant bag or baking soda near the keyboard overnight. In cases where odors persist, using a UV light cleaner can effectively kill odor-causing bacteria. Finally, to prevent these problems from recurring, precautions should be taken, such as washing hands before use and avoiding eating or drinking near the keyboard. Maintaining a regular keyboard cleaning routine also plays an important role in protecting your device from these problems.

Cleaning methods for different types of keyboards

Mechanical keyboard

Mechanical keyboards require special cleaning methods due to their complex structure. Start by using compressed air to remove dirt between the keys. Next, remove the keycaps with specialized tools to access the switch below. Use a soft brush or cotton swab to clean around the switches, avoiding direct liquid contact with them. For keycaps, you can soak them in warm water diluted with mild soap, then dry them carefully. Finally, make sure all parts are completely dry before reassembling.

Membrane keyboard

Membrane keyboards have a simpler structure but also require careful handling. Use compressed air to remove dirt, then use a damp (not wet) microfiber cloth to gently wipe the surface. For stubborn stains, use a cotton swab lightly moistened with isopropyl alcohol to clean. Particular care should be taken not to let liquid seep inside, as this could damage the thin membrane below the keys. If a more thorough cleaning is needed, the keyboard cover can be removed (if possible) to access the interior, but be very careful not to damage the connections.

Laptop keyboard

Laptop keyboards require the utmost care due to their integration with other computer components. Start by turning off the machine and disconnecting the power source. Use compressed air at low pressure to remove dirt, keeping the sprayer at an angle to avoid pushing dust deeper inside. Next, use a lightly damp microfiber cloth to wipe the key surface. For stubborn stains, use a cotton swab lightly dampened with isopropyl alcohol, but be very careful not to let the liquid seep inside. In case more thorough cleaning is needed, it is best to go to a professional warranty center to avoid the risk of damaging other components of the laptop. No matter what type of keyboard you clean, always make sure the device is completely dry before using it again. Maintaining a regular cleaning routine not only helps prolong the life of your keyboard but also ensures optimal performance during use.


Knowing how to clean keyboard keys is an important skill for every computer user. The simple process of removing the keys, blowing out the dirt, cleaning with isopropyl alcohol, and carefully reinstalling will keep your keyboard clean and working well. Remember to clean your Enthkey keyboard keys regularly to maintain optimal performance of your device.

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