How to Clean Keycaps

January 5, 2024
David Sunnyside

If you use a computer a lot, your keycaps may have gotten quite grimy with dust, food crumbs, and hair (especially the stubborn clumps that get stuck between keys). With some soaking, rinsing and drying, these little gems can be rejuvenated.

First things first, make sure your keyboard is unplugged. Then, set it on a hard surface that you don’t mind getting dirty, and take a look at the keys. You might be surprised to find that most of the dirt is actually trapped underneath the keycaps, in the space between the switches.

Before you begin the actual cleaning, it’s best to create a comfortable workspace and organize all your supplies and tools. You’ll also want to snap a photo of your current keycap layout, so that you can reinstall them correctly after you’re done.

Start by removing the keycaps, using a wire keycap puller for smaller keys like the space bar and enter key (leave the key caps on the shift and command keys). Soak the keycaps in a bowl or container of lukewarm water with a small amount of mild dish soap.

Using a microfiber cloth or sponge, gently wipe each of the keycaps, paying special attention to stained areas. Rinse the keycaps and dry them with a lint-free towel or let them air dry.

While the keycaps are soaking, use a toothbrush to clean the switch area of your keyboard, especially around the edges. If you have a difficult time reaching the corners, try blowing away loose debris with a can of compressed air. If any remaining stains remain, dampen a cloth with isopropyl alcohol and carefully rub away the stain.

David Sunnyside
Co-founder of Urban Splatter • Digital Marketer • Engineer • Meditator
linkedin facebook pinterest youtube rss twitter instagram facebook-blank rss-blank linkedin-blank pinterest youtube twitter instagram