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How To Clean A Mechanical Keyboard With Brake Cleaner



Cleaning a mechanical keyboard is essential to maintain its performance and longevity. Over time, dust, debris, and oils from our fingers can accumulate within the keyboard, affecting its functionality and appearance. While there are various methods to clean a mechanical keyboard, using brake cleaner has gained popularity due to its effectiveness in removing stubborn grime and restoring the keyboard to its pristine condition.

In this comprehensive guide, we will delve into the process of cleaning a mechanical keyboard using brake cleaner, providing step-by-step instructions and essential precautions to ensure a safe and successful cleaning experience. Whether you are an avid gamer, a coding enthusiast, or simply someone who values a clean workspace, understanding how to properly maintain your mechanical keyboard is crucial for optimal usage and satisfaction.

As we embark on this cleaning journey, it is important to recognize the value of our mechanical keyboards and the role they play in our daily lives. These keyboards are not merely tools for typing; they are extensions of our creativity, productivity, and personal expression. By keeping them clean and well-maintained, we can enhance our overall computing experience and prolong the lifespan of these cherished devices.

Join us as we explore the intricacies of cleaning a mechanical keyboard with brake cleaner, empowering you to take proactive measures in preserving the functionality and aesthetics of your beloved input device. Let's embark on this cleaning adventure and unlock the secrets to revitalizing your mechanical keyboard with the power of brake cleaner.


What is a Mechanical Keyboard?

A mechanical keyboard is a type of keyboard that utilizes individual mechanical switches for each key. Unlike traditional rubber dome keyboards, where the keys are supported by a single membrane, mechanical keyboards feature discrete switches for enhanced tactile feedback, durability, and customization. These switches are typically composed of a spring-loaded mechanism and a stem that contains the keycap. When a key is pressed, the stem makes contact with the switch, registering the keystroke.

One of the defining characteristics of mechanical keyboards is the variety of switch types available, each offering unique actuation forces, tactile feedback, and audible clicks. Common switch brands include Cherry MX, Razer, and Gateron, with options such as linear, tactile, and clicky switches to cater to different user preferences. This diversity allows individuals to select a switch that aligns with their typing style, whether they prefer a smooth keystroke, a noticeable bump upon actuation, or an audible click with each press.

Besides the switches, mechanical keyboards are prized for their robust construction and longevity. The use of individual switches and metal components contributes to their durability, making them capable of withstanding millions of keystrokes. Additionally, mechanical keyboards often feature a sturdy, high-quality build, providing a satisfying typing experience and a sense of reliability.

Furthermore, mechanical keyboards are renowned for their customizability, allowing users to swap out keycaps, modify switches, and personalize the aesthetics of their keyboard. This level of customization enables enthusiasts to create a keyboard that not only meets their functional needs but also reflects their unique style and preferences.

Overall, mechanical keyboards are cherished for their superior typing feel, durability, and customization options, making them a popular choice among professionals, gamers, and keyboard enthusiasts alike. Understanding the intricacies of these keyboards is essential for maintaining and optimizing their performance, which includes regular cleaning and upkeep to ensure a pristine and enjoyable typing experience.


Why Use Brake Cleaner to Clean a Mechanical Keyboard?

Brake cleaner has emerged as a popular choice for cleaning mechanical keyboards due to its exceptional ability to dissolve grime, oils, and contaminants that accumulate within the keyboard over time. While traditional cleaning methods such as using compressed air or wiping with a damp cloth can address surface debris, brake cleaner offers a more thorough and effective solution for deep-cleaning a mechanical keyboard.

The primary reason for using brake cleaner is its powerful degreasing properties. Many mechanical keyboards, especially those with high-profile keycaps and intricate switch designs, can harbor stubborn oils and dirt that are challenging to remove with conventional cleaning methods. Brake cleaner, formulated to dissolve grease and oil residues in automotive systems, can effectively penetrate and dislodge these stubborn contaminants, restoring the keyboard to a pristine state.

Furthermore, brake cleaner evaporates rapidly without leaving behind residue, making it an ideal choice for cleaning electronic devices such as mechanical keyboards. Unlike water-based cleaners, which can potentially seep into the keyboard’s internal components and cause damage, brake cleaner evaporates quickly, minimizing the risk of moisture-related issues and ensuring a safe cleaning process.

Another advantage of using brake cleaner is its versatility in targeting hard-to-reach areas within the keyboard. The spray nozzle of brake cleaner allows for precise application, enabling users to target specific areas where dirt and grime have accumulated, including between the keycaps and around the switches. This targeted approach ensures thorough cleaning without the need to disassemble the entire keyboard, saving time and effort while achieving optimal results.

Moreover, brake cleaner is known for its fast-drying properties, which expedite the cleaning process and minimize downtime. After applying brake cleaner to the keyboard, the rapid evaporation of the solvent ensures that the keyboard can be used shortly after cleaning, allowing users to resume their activities without prolonged waiting periods.

Overall, the use of brake cleaner to clean a mechanical keyboard offers unparalleled effectiveness in removing stubborn grime and oils, while minimizing the risk of moisture-related damage and expediting the cleaning process. With its degreasing power, rapid evaporation, and precision application, brake cleaner has proven to be a reliable solution for rejuvenating and maintaining the cleanliness of mechanical keyboards.


Precautions before Using Brake Cleaner

Before embarking on the process of cleaning a mechanical keyboard with brake cleaner, it is crucial to observe several precautions to ensure the safety of the keyboard, the user, and the surrounding environment. While brake cleaner is an effective cleaning agent, it is important to handle it with care and attentiveness to mitigate potential risks and maximize the cleaning outcome.

  • Ensure Proper Ventilation: Brake cleaner contains volatile solvents that can emit strong fumes. It is essential to conduct the cleaning process in a well-ventilated area to prevent the accumulation of fumes, which may cause discomfort or respiratory irritation. Adequate ventilation also facilitates the rapid evaporation of the cleaner, expediting the drying process.
  • Power Off and Disconnect the Keyboard: Before applying brake cleaner, power off the mechanical keyboard and disconnect it from the computer or any power source. This precaution prevents electrical hazards and ensures that the keyboard’s circuitry and components are not exposed to electrical currents during the cleaning process.
  • Protect Sensitive Components: While brake cleaner is safe for use on most keyboard surfaces, it is advisable to protect sensitive components such as LED indicators, display screens, and USB ports from direct contact with the cleaner. Covering these areas with tape or protective barriers helps prevent potential damage or discoloration.
  • Use Personal Protective Equipment: When handling brake cleaner, wearing protective gloves and safety goggles is recommended to shield the skin and eyes from potential contact with the solvent. Additionally, wearing a mask or respirator can help minimize inhalation of fumes, especially when working in enclosed spaces.
  • Test in a Small Area: Before applying brake cleaner to the entire keyboard, conduct a small test in an inconspicuous area to ensure compatibility and assess any potential adverse effects on the keyboard’s finish or materials. This preliminary test helps mitigate the risk of unintended damage during the cleaning process.
  • Dispose of Waste Properly: After completing the cleaning process, dispose of used cleaning materials and waste in accordance with local regulations and environmental guidelines. Brake cleaner containers and residues should be handled and discarded responsibly to minimize environmental impact.

By adhering to these precautions, users can approach the cleaning process with confidence, knowing that they have taken the necessary steps to ensure a safe and effective outcome. With proper ventilation, protective measures, and conscientious handling, the use of brake cleaner to clean a mechanical keyboard can be a rewarding and successful endeavor, revitalizing the keyboard and enhancing the overall typing experience.


Step-by-Step Guide to Cleaning a Mechanical Keyboard with Brake Cleaner

Cleaning a mechanical keyboard with brake cleaner involves a systematic approach to ensure thorough cleaning while safeguarding the keyboard’s components. By following these step-by-step instructions, users can effectively rejuvenate their keyboards and maintain optimal performance.

  1. Prepare the Workspace: Choose a well-ventilated area with ample space to work. Lay down a clean, lint-free cloth or paper towels to serve as a work surface. Ensure that the keyboard is disconnected from the computer and powered off.
  2. Protect Sensitive Components: If the keyboard features LED indicators, display screens, or other sensitive areas, cover them with tape or protective barriers to prevent direct contact with the brake cleaner.
  3. Test in an Inconspicuous Area: Prior to widespread application, conduct a small test by spraying a small amount of brake cleaner in an inconspicuous area of the keyboard to ensure compatibility and assess any potential adverse effects on the finish or materials.
  4. Apply Brake Cleaner to Keycaps: Remove the keycaps from the keyboard. In a well-ventilated area, spray a small amount of brake cleaner onto a lint-free cloth or directly onto the keycaps. Gently wipe each keycap to remove accumulated grime and oils. Ensure that the cloth is not overly saturated with brake cleaner to avoid excess liquid seeping into the switches.
  5. Clean Between Key Switches: Utilize the precision nozzle of the brake cleaner to target hard-to-reach areas between the key switches. Lightly spray the cleaner and use a cotton swab or small brush to dislodge and absorb dirt and debris. Exercise caution to prevent excess liquid from pooling around the switches.
  6. Dry and Reassemble: After cleaning, allow the keycaps and keyboard to air dry thoroughly. Ensure that no residual moisture remains before reassembling the keyboard. Once dry, reattach the keycaps, ensuring they are properly aligned and securely in place.
  7. Dispose of Waste Properly: Discard used cleaning materials and waste in accordance with local regulations and environmental guidelines. Ensure that any residual brake cleaner is handled and disposed of responsibly.

Following these steps with care and attention to detail can result in a meticulously cleaned mechanical keyboard, free from accumulated grime and oils. By adhering to the recommended procedures and precautions, users can revitalize their keyboards and enjoy a refreshed typing experience, all thanks to the potent cleaning power of brake cleaner.



Cleaning a mechanical keyboard with brake cleaner offers a transformative solution for rejuvenating and maintaining the cleanliness of this essential input device. By harnessing the degreasing power, rapid evaporation, and precision application of brake cleaner, users can effectively remove stubborn grime and oils that accumulate within the keyboard, ultimately enhancing its functionality and visual appeal.

Throughout this guide, we have explored the intricacies of mechanical keyboards, understanding their construction, durability, and customizability. With a deeper appreciation for the craftsmanship and versatility of these keyboards, it becomes evident that proper maintenance, including regular cleaning, is essential for preserving their performance and extending their lifespan.

Moreover, the decision to use brake cleaner as a cleaning agent for mechanical keyboards is rooted in its exceptional efficacy and safety when applied with care and attentiveness. By observing the necessary precautions, preparing the workspace, and following a systematic cleaning process, users can revitalize their keyboards with confidence, knowing that they have taken proactive measures to safeguard the keyboard’s components and optimize the cleaning outcome.

As we conclude this guide, it is important to emphasize the value of regular maintenance and cleaning in prolonging the life and performance of mechanical keyboards. By incorporating the use of brake cleaner into the cleaning routine, users can enjoy a refreshed and hygienic typing experience, free from the impediments of accumulated grime and oils.

Ultimately, the journey of cleaning a mechanical keyboard with brake cleaner is a testament to the dedication and care that users invest in their beloved input devices. Through thoughtful maintenance and the application of effective cleaning solutions, mechanical keyboards can continue to serve as reliable tools for productivity, creativity, and personal expression, enriching the computing experience for their users.

As you embark on your own cleaning adventure with brake cleaner, may this guide serve as a source of knowledge and inspiration, empowering you to uphold the cleanliness and performance of your mechanical keyboard, ensuring that it remains a steadfast companion in your daily endeavors.

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