Grime to Prime: The Ultimate Guide to Cleaning Your Gaming Keyboard

Attention, neatnik gamers! Is your beloved gaming keyboard losing its shine? Fret not, for we have the ultimate solution you’ve been looking for.

Wondering what is the best way to clean a gaming keyboard?

Your search ends here. With our expert guidance, you can restore your keyboard’s glory and keep it gleaming like new.

We will answer your query: How to deep clean a keyboard? Simply follow these steps:

For membrane: Remove keycaps, clean with soapy water, and air dry.

For mechanical: Power off, use compressed air between switches, and wipe the surface with an alcohol-dampened cloth.

We know most gamers fret that cleaning their keyboard might do more harm than good. And asked themselves how do you clean a keyboard without ruining it?

Well, you’re in for a treat – we’ve got the perfect solution to ease your cleaning worries. Stick around for our detailed step-by-step cleaning methods and let your keyboard shine— whether it’s membrane or mechanical.

How to Clean a Membrane Gaming Keyboard

Well, if you wonder, can you clean a gaming keyboard that has a membrane? Rest assured, any doubts you have are about to be cleared up.

Here, we’re going to give you a complete handbook of how you can clean your membrane gaming keyboard to get it back to mint condition.

Items You Will Need

●     Phillips screwdriver

●     Slot screwdriver

●     Old brush or soft, lint-free cloth

●     Cotton swab

●     Hot soapy water

●     Sanitizer or isopropyl alcohol (70% or higher)

Step 1: Remove Stray Debris

Remove stray debris in this initial step. We suggest turning your membrane gaming keyboard upside down and giving it a vigorous shake over a bin or outside. By doing so, loose debris, crumbs, and dust that haven’t adhered to the keys will be dislodged, making cleaning easier.

Step 2: Open Your Keyboard

Now, open Your Keyboard to gain access to the internals for a thorough cleaning. Start by flipping the keyboard over and locating the screws on the back.

Using a Phillips screwdriver, carefully remove all the screws. This will allow you to separate the top and bottom sections of the keyboard casing.

Step 3: Remove the Keycaps

After opening up your keyboard it’s time to remove keycaps. Before removing the keycaps, take a photo of your keyboard layout. It’s a cheat trick because this photo will serve as a helpful reference when you reassemble the keycaps later.

With the top piece flipped over, slightly elevate it to create space for the keycaps to come off naturally. Use the top of a slot screwdriver to gently nudge the small foot of each keycap, popping them off. 

Remember that Space and Shift keys may have metal rods, so handle them carefully. Leave the Enter key on the top piece, as it may have a unique double metal rod structure.

Step 4: Clean Keycaps

Well, this part seems easy, but it’s a bit tricky. Before cleaning, you must know how to clean keycaps properly. Well, no worries! Because we are gonna guide you through this as well.

For thorough cleaning keycaps, prepare a bath of hot soapy water and add sanitizer. Submerge the keycaps in soapy water and use a toothbrush to scrub stubborn stains and grime away.

After scrubbing, rinse each keycap under running water to wash away all soap and debris. And the most important part, don’t forget to place the cleaned keycaps in a well-ventilated area to air dry them.

Step 5: Clean the Top Piece

For cleaning the top piece, Take the top piece of the keyboard and hold it under running water. Ensure that both sides of the top piece are thoroughly wet. Use a toothbrush to diligently brush the entire surface, paying extra attention to corners and crevices where dirt may accumulate.

Rinse the top piece on both sides under running water to ensure all dirt is removed. To facilitate water removal, give the top piece a few firm swings to shake off excess water.

Then, place the top piece in a well-ventilated area to air dry naturally. You can also use a hair dryer with caution, but avoid using high heat to prevent any damage to the plastic.

Step 6: Rearrange the Keycaps

Here comes a fun part of the whole process which is rearranging the keycaps. We suggest you to begin the reassembly process with the Space key. Position the metal rod of the Space key at a 45-degree angle from the keycap, and then press down on the middle to secure it in place.

Repeat this process for the two Shift keys. For other keycaps, align them with their respective switches and press down on the tops until they snap securely into place.

Step 7: Close and Check the Keyboard

Gently press the sides of the keyboard casing to snap the top and bottom pieces back together.

Once securely fastened, flip the keyboard and use the Phillips screwdriver to reattach all the screws to secure the casing. Plug the keyboard back into your computer and test all the keys to ensure they work perfectly.

By following each step meticulously, you will have successfully cleaned your membrane gaming keyboard, optimizing its performance and ensuring a hygienic gaming experience.

How to Clean a Mechanical Gaming Keyboard

But wait! What if you have a mechanical gaming keyboard?

Well, it’s insane, but many beginner-level gamers have a query in mind: Do mechanical keyboards need to be cleaned? 

Well, the answer is pretty yes! Maintaining your mechanical gaming keyboard is essential for optimal performance. And if you have no idea how to do it, follow these detailed steps to ensure thorough cleaning:

Items You Will Need

●     Soft, lint-free cloth

●     Isopropyl alcohol (70% or higher)

●     Cotton swabs

●     Keycap puller

●     Compressed air canister

Step 1: Prepare Your Workspace

Before you start, ensure your computer is powered off, and your keyboard is disconnected. This precaution prevents accidental key presses and electrical mishaps during cleaning.

Step 2: Remove Keycaps

Begin using a keycap puller – a tool specifically designed for this task. Gently insert the keycap puller beneath a keycap’s edge, and then apply even pressure to lift it off.

Repeat this process for all keycaps. Start from one corner and work your way around the keyboard.

Step 3: Wipe the Keyboard Surface

Dampen Cloth with Alcohol: Moisten a soft, lint-free cloth with isopropyl alcohol. Ensure it’s damp but not dripping.

Gently Wipe Surface: Carefully wipe down the keyboard’s surface, including the area around the switches. This removes accumulated dirt, oils, and grime that can affect performance and appearance.

Step 4: Clean Between Switches

Here comes a tricky part i.e. reaching every nook and corner between switches of a mechanical keyboard. 

Use Compressed Air: Hold the keyboard at an angle and blow air between the switches with a compressed air canister. This dislodges and removes dust and debris that may be trapped.

Falcon Dust, Off Compressed Gas (152a) Disposable Cleaning Duster, 1, Count, 3.5 oz Can (DPSJB),Black
  • Falcon Dust-Off Aerosol Compressed Gas (152a) Disposable Cleaning Duster, 1-count, 3. 5 oz can The Original Duster 100% Ozone Safe A Bitterant is added to the Compressed Gas to Discourage Inhalant Abuse The Versatile Cleaning Tool
  • Compact
  • Indispensable for places where space is tight
  • Same efficient blasting power as larger models
  • 100% Ozone safe Bitterant added to help discourage inhalant abuse
  • Indispensable for places where space is tight
  • Same efficient blasting power as larger models
  • 100% Ozone safe Bitterant added to help discourage inhalant abuse
  • Falcon Dust-Off Aerosol Compressed Gas (152a) Disposable Cleaning Duster
  • Indispensable for places where space is tight
  • Same efficient blasting power as larger models
  • 100% Ozone safe Bitterant added to help discourage inhalant abuse
  • Falcon Dust-Off Aerosol Compressed Gas (152a) Disposable Cleaning Duster

Step 5: Clean the Keycaps

Soak Keycaps: Fill a bowl with warm, soapy water. Submerge the keycaps and allow them to soak for a few hours. This helps loosen dirt and grime.

Scrub Keycaps: Use a soft brush or toothbrush to gently scrub each keycap, highlighting the legends (printed characters) and edges. This ensures thorough cleaning.

Rinse and Dry: Rinse the keycaps under clean running water to remove soap residue. Place them on a clean towel to air dry completely.

Step 6: Clean the Switches and Plate

Dampen Cotton Swabs: Dampen a cotton swab with isopropyl alcohol. Make sure it’s not overly wet.

Clean Switches: Gently clean the switches and the surrounding areas with the dampened cotton swab. This removes any stubborn dirt or residue that may affect switch performance.

Step 7: Reassemble Keycaps

Delicately position them onto their designated switches after ensuring the keycaps are thoroughly dry. Pay meticulous attention to proper alignment with the switch stems, matching each keycap to its rightful place. 

Press Firmly: Apply deliberate pressure while pressing down on each keycap. This action guarantees a snug and secure attachment, resulting in optimal functionality. Listen for a subtle but reassuring click sound as the keycaps snap back into position, indicating successful reassembly.

This attentive approach ensures a satisfying tactile response and consistent performance during gaming sessions.

Step 8: Final Touches

Now it’s show time.

Reconnecting and Testing: Plug your keyboard back into your computer and power it on. Test each key to ensure they register correctly. Press each key multiple times to verify responsiveness.

Additional Tip:

RGB Lighting: If your keyboard has RGB lighting, use a cloth dampened with isopropyl alcohol to clean the keycap bottoms and the surface beneath them. This ensures optimal illumination.

Why Is It Important to Clean Gaming Keyboards?

We know that at some point, many gamers will wonder if cleaning their gaming keyboard is that important. Let us solve this dilemma for you if you are one of them.

Regularly cleaning gaming keyboards is crucial for optimal performance, precision, and durability. It enhances comfort, prevents malfunctions from debris or spills, preserves aesthetics, and upholds hygiene.

Allow us to further elaborate on the compelling reasons why a pristine keyboard is a must:

1. Optimal Performance

Gaming specialists understand that split-second reactions can be the difference between triumph and defeat in the heat of battle. Imagine, however, if your trusty gaming keyboard, which should be an extension of your skill, falters due to accumulated grime.

Dust and debris, stealthily infiltrating your keyboard’s switches, can disrupt the delicate dance of key actuation. The result? Missed commands and infuriating input lag that throws you off your game.

Regularly cleaning your keyboard ensures that your key presses are as sharp and responsive as your gaming reflexes.

2. Consistency and Precision

Veteran gamers know the path to greatness is paved with muscle memory – sublime synchronization between the brain, fingers, and keyboard. Yet, a keyboard caked with dirt can be the wrench in this delicate machinery.

Sticky keys or keys that offer unexpected resistance can jolt your muscle memory, causing you to fumble in critical moments. Imagine the frustration of mistimed jumps or misfires in critical encounters.

Maintaining a clean keyboard ensures that each keystroke feels uniform, empowering you to execute your moves with the precision and finesse of a true gaming virtuoso.

3. Durability and Longevity

In gaming peripherals, a keyboard is more than just a tool; it’s a trusted companion on your digital adventures. Like a knight’s sword, your keyboard’s mechanical switches are its most critical components, and they deserve protection.

Neglecting regular cleaning exposes these switches to increased wear and tear, shortening their lifespan and potentially rendering them ineffective prematurely.

Investing time in proper maintenance safeguards your keyboard’s durability, allowing it to stand by your side through countless virtual escapades.

4. Hygiene and Comfort

Long gaming sessions are your badge of honor, but they can also lead to a less savory consequence: a keyboard marinated in oils, sweat, and microbes. The result is an unhygienic battleground beneath your fingertips, not to mention an uncomfortable environment.

A keyboard properly cleaned and sanitized isn’t just a luxury; it’s a necessity. It ensures that your gaming sanctum remains a clean and comfortable haven, where your focus remains unwavering and your hands glide effortlessly across pristine keys.

5. Preventing Malfunctions

Like intricate machines of war, gaming keyboards can fall victim to unforeseen accidents – the spilled energy drink or the rogue sneeze.

These seemingly innocuous incidents can trigger catastrophic keyboard failures, disrupting your digital campaigns and tarnishing your gaming legacy.

Regular cleaning forms a protective barrier, shielding your keyboard’s delicate innards from the perils of spilled liquids and rogue particles, safeguarding your gaming fortress from potential disaster.

6. Aesthetics and Mood

Behold the gamer’s sanctuary – a realm of high-definition displays and radiant RGB lighting. Yet, even the grandest setup can be marred by a keyboard veiled in grime.

A meticulously cleaned keyboard isn’t merely a piece of hardware; it’s a work of art that contributes to your gaming mise-en-scène. 

Vibrant keycaps, free from the veil of dirt, enhance your immersive experience, cultivating an atmosphere where victory shines brighter and every defeat is a step toward triumph.

7. Reducing Distractions

In the theater of virtual warfare, the focus is your most potent weapon. A rogue crumb or a sticky key can shatter that focus, leading to untimely demise on the digital battlefield.

A clean keyboard is your shield against these distractions, enabling you to focus on strategic maneuvers and tactical brilliance.

By keeping your keyboard pristine, you’re fortifying your concentration and bolstering your chances of emerging victorious.

8. Maintenance of Additional Features

A gaming keyboard often boasts an array of features – macro keys, multimedia controls, and specialized keycaps – each designed to elevate your gaming prowess. Yet, these embellishments can become obscured and ineffective without proper care.

Regular cleaning ensures that every facet of your keyboard, from the most intricate keycap to the grandest macro key, remains functional and ready to augment your gaming experience.

9. Resale Value

Gaming, like any realm of expertise, is a journey of progression. As you ascend to new heights, your gear might transform as well.

A clean, well-maintained keyboard isn’t just a badge of honor; it’s a valuable asset. When the time comes to pass the torch to a fellow gamer or upgrade to a new realm of peripherals, a pristine keyboard commands respect and carries a higher resale value – a testament to your commitment to excellence.

Best Easy-to-Clean Gaming Keyboard on the Block

We all know the struggle of cleaning keyboards – it’s time-consuming and takes effort. But guess what? The solution lies in choosing the right keyboard built for easy cleaning. Do check out these awesome spill proof gaming keyboards that are built to withstand accidental spills and splashes.

Moreover, the following are the three gaming keyboards where cleaning becomes a cakewalk.

ROCCAT Magma Gaming Keyboard

ROCCAT Magma Silent Membrane Switch Gaming Keyboard boasts a low-maintenance design. Its precision-engineered membrane layer and translucent top plate create a sealed surface that repels dust and dirt, ensuring effortless cleaning. This means you can enjoy hassle-free upkeep and an ever-clean gaming setup.

ROCCAT Magma Silent Membrane Switch PC Gaming Keyboard with 5 Zone/10 LED AIMO RGB Top Plate and Detachable Palm Rest - Black
  • SILENT MEMBRANE KEYS - Equipped with high quality rubber dome keys for silent typing that feels both responsive and reliable
  • ADVANCED ANTI-GHOSTING - Technology to ensure each key stroke of the most-used keys is registered – no matter how frantic the gaming action gets
  • CUSTOMIZED YOUR WAY - ROCCAT’s Easy-Shift[plus] technology adds a secondary function to compatible keys; Just hold down the designated modifier key for double the command power in an instant
  • AIMO ILLUMINATION - ROCCAT’s proprietary lighting eco-system connects compatible devices present vivid lighting scenarios right out of the box, without the need for extensive configuration; With full backlighting in 16.8 million colors
  • DETACHABLE PALM REST - Lets you adjust your setup to whatever’s comfortable for you, whether it’s a relaxed typing or aggressive gaming style
  • LOW-MAINTENANCE DESIGN - The high-quality membrane layer and translucent top plate are precision engineered to create a sealed surface, keeping dust and dirt out and allowing for hassle-free cleaning

MageGee Mechanical Gaming Keyboard

MageGee Mechanical Gaming Keyboard offers easy maintenance with its spill-resistant design. Its removable keycaps facilitate effortless cleaning, ensuring longevity and hygiene. Non-slip adjustable rear feet enhance ergonomics, while a corrosion-free USB connector ensures a dependable connection. A keyboard that’s both durable and hassle-free to keep clean.

MageGee Mechanical Gaming Keyboard 87 Keys with RGB LED Backlit - Wired USB Computer Keyboard with Blue Switches, 100% Anti-Ghosting, Metal Construction, Water Resistant for Windows PC Laptop
  • GREAT OFFICE WORK and GAMING: The keyboard is not only good for gaming. It has been designed to be a superb typing tool for office work as well. You’ll love the feel and keystroke accuracy, which leads to fewer errors and typos. Pick among multiple LED backlight lighting modes for all 87 keys or create your own custom settings.
  • Space Saving Design: The Compact 87-keys Space-Saving Mechanical Keyboard Design, frees up workspace on your desk without sacrificing performance and comfort during your marathon gaming sessions
  • The Keyboard is built to withstand the average liquid spill: The Keycaps can be removed in case you need to clean the keyboard after long term use or simply want to switch out the key caps to add a personal touch.
  • Non-Slip Ergonomic and Spill-Resistant Design: This Mechanical Gaming keyboard comes with Non-Slip adjustable rear feet for the perfect typing angle and a gold-plated corrosion free USB connector for a reliable connection.
  • Advanced Backlight Control: The Illuminated Mechanical Gaming Keyboard features a Solid Aircraft-grade Aluminiumand ABS construction, plate mounted keys, double-shot injection moulded keycaps, high-end switches with mechanical ultra-last springs, crisp and bright adjustable LED backlighting. High-Speed USB cable with gold-plated corrosion free USB connector for a reliable connection which will stand up to fast hardcore gaming.

Fiodio Rainbow Membrane Gaming Keyboard

Fiodio Rainbow Membrane Gaming Keyboard guarantees longevity with its 10,000,000 keystroke endurance. Its spill-resistant design alleviates worries about water mishaps. The thin, quiet, non-conflicting keys offer an enjoyable typing experience, while the easy-to-clean feature ensures convenience and a prolonged service life.

Fiodio Rainbow Membrane Gaming Keyboard, Quiet Wired Computer Keyboard, 104 Silent & 26 Anti-Ghosting Keys, Spill Resistant, Multimedia Control for PC and Desktop
  • Easy Operation & Broad Compatibility: As a plug-and-play device, this USB wired gaming keyboard does not need any software support, serving as a great choice for PC, laptop, computer keyboard. It is compatible with Win XP / Win7 / Win8 / Win10.
  • Thin & Quiet: This keyboard is thin enough, which make your wrist very comfortable. And as a membrane keyboard, it’s quiet for working in the office or playing games in the night.
  • Non-Conflicting & Multimedia Keys: The anti-ghosting technology allows 26 keys to work simultaneously, offering you smooth and responsive gaming experience. The multimedia keys make audio settings and control easier.
  • Strong Durability & Spill Resistance: Tested over 10,000,000 keystrokes, the keyboard is extremely durable to ensure longer service life. Thanks to its spill-resistant design, you do not need to worry about the trouble caused by accidental spills of water any more.
  • Bright and Colorful Backlit Keyboard: The colorful rainbow Backlit can bring you into a great gaming keyboard atmosphere. There are permanent lighting and automatic breathing lighting modes for your options. You can also adjust the brightness of the backlight according to your preference.
  • What You Get: FIODIO F-8294 gaming keyboard, user manual.

FAQ: Cleaning Gaming Keyboards

How Often Should You Clean Your Gaming Keyboard?

Sweep your gaming keyboard with a disinfectant wipe weekly to uphold cleanliness and performance. For a thorough cleanse, delve between keycaps every 4-6 weeks to eliminate accumulated debris.

Is It Safe to Clean Keycaps with Alcohol?

Cleaning keycaps with alcohol is not recommended. Cleaning keycaps with isopropyl alcohol can yield shine but risks color loss, possibly rendering them transparent.

Can You Vacuum Your Mechanical Keyboard?

Vacuuming a mechanical keyboard is risky; strong suction may dislodge keycaps or damage switches. Use compressed air instead for safety.

How Do You Clean Under Gaming Keyboard Keys?

Use a keycap puller or compressed air to clean under gaming keyboard keys. Gently remove debris without damaging switches or keycaps.

How to Clean Mechanical Keyboard without Removing Keys?

Clean a mechanical keyboard without removing keys by:

1.    Power off and unplug.

2.    Tilt and tap the keyboard to dislodge debris.

3.    Use compressed air to blow between keys.

4.    Soft brush or toothbrush to sweep between switches.

5.    Dampen cloth with isopropyl alcohol to wipe the surface.

6.    Let dry before reconnecting.



Great job! Now that you’re equipped with the knowledge of how to clean a grimy keyboard. Get ready for a game-changer! By following the steps to unplug, remove keycaps, brush away debris, and disinfect, you’ll ensure peak performance and maintain a germ-free gaming experience.

Give your keyboard some love, and it’ll reward you with top-notch gameplay.

Andrew is arguably the geekiest member of our team. He has a knack for new gaming hardware and awesome gadgets. Although Overwatch is his current favorite, he thinks the Counter Strike Global Offensive is the best shooter of all times. He is constantly hunting for news about new hero releases and patches. Andrew believes that playing video games is not just a hobby but a way of life. He regards his job at RealGear as a way of helping fellow gamers make the most of their gameplay by writing reviews about the hardware he uses and the FPS/ RTS he plays.

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