How-to Guides

How to Fix Sticky Keys on Mechanical Keyboard?


Although Mechanical Keyboards are long-lasting, and their keys hardly stuck because of the smart switch mechanism, at times due to some external reasons you can have sticky keys on your mechanical keyboard which is not much common but can happen. It could happen especially when you are not much careful of the things around your loving Mechanical keyboard. There can be several reasons that can result in a sticky key on a keyboard. Fixing the sticky keys can be a vast core in itself at times.

How to Fix Sticky Keys on Mechanical Keyboard?

Quick Answer:

One of the best ways you can do that would be to use compressed air. You need to remove the keycap of the sticky key and use compressed air depressing the switch halfway through when doing so. The keyboard should be held vertically – parallel to the air can and perpendicular to the ground.

What Are the Sticky Keys on a Mechanical Keyboard? 

 By sticky keys with respect to this post, we refer to the keys that get stuck due to the debris and dust that is stuck between the key switches and other components inside the key . They can be caused due to several reasons. 

Please note that we are not referring to the sticky keys as part of the software. The keys that get stuck due to the gunk can make it extremely difficult to handle the proper typing experience. If you come across any such keys, it would be ideal to check out the best options to clean up the gunk and remove the dirt or dust from the sticky keys. 

Why Do Keys Get Sticky on a Mechanical Keyboard? 

There can be several issues that can cause sticky keys on a mechanical keyboard. One of the prime reasons can be that you have spilled something accidentally on the keys. If you are someone who loves to eat and surf at the same time, you would definitely find your keys getting stuck. Before we can find how to fix sticky keys on mechanical keyboard, we will understand what causes a mechanical keyboard stuck key

Some of the reasons that a sticky key on a mechanical keyboard can include the following scenarios: 

  1. Debris From the Surroundings

The environment around your work area is home to dust and dirt. You will not realize the issues until you come across a mechanical keyboard stuck key. The sticky key on a mechanical keyboard can result due to the accumulation of dust particles inside the switches, and thus make them show symptoms such as sticky or repeated keystrokes. 

  1. Food Crumbs and Beverages

We love eating and drinking while at work. The food crumbs and liquid spills on the keyboard can make some of the keys get sticky due to the accumulation of the food items. Keeping a safe distance between the keyboard and your foodstuff can largely be helpful in avoiding sticky keys on a mechanical keyboard. 

How to Fix Sticky keys on Mechanical Keyboard?

Depending upon the extent of the stickiness of the keyboard, you can employ different means to address a sticky key on a mechanical keyboard or even on any other type of keyboard. 

Method 1: Shake out the Keyboard

Unplug the keyboard and shake it off vigorously. Make sure that you have turned the keyboard upside down and shake it off, taking care not to damage it.

It would be advisable to hold it at an angle to the floor and shake it. Shake it such that the crumbs and debris fall off to the ground. You can even use a brush to get out the extra crumbs if any. You can remove the trash if any on the keyboard by brushing it off. 

Method 2: Use Canned Air to Blow Out the Switch

One of the significant reasons you may experience sticky keys on a mechanical keyboard can be the dust or debris on the switch itself. This can cause the slider or spring mechanism to stick. Though it may be rare, the up and down motion of the mechanical switch to ingress food particles or other elements into the switch. 

Image – Forbes

The use of compressed or canned air can be one of the excellent options to remove any of the gunk from blocking the activator on the keyboard. If this does not solve the issue, you may be forced to disassemble the keyboard and remove the debris in its entirety. 

Method 3: Remove Keycaps and Clean the Debris on the Switch

If the above method does not work, you will need to go with more advanced methods. This involves the removal of the switch or removing it entirely. Of course, it may not be the right option to go with if you do not have the requisite tools. That can be one of the advanced options in how to fix sticky keys on mechanical keyboard. 

Remove the affected keycaps, and then hold the keyboard in a vertical position. Make sure that the keyboard is held perpendicular to the ground and parallel to the canned air. Press the key switch halfway through and use compressed air to release the debris if any on the keyboard or the switch. 

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You should hold the can up and straight so that the liquid does not come out of the can and damage the keyboard mechanism further. Blast the canned air for a few seconds keeping the key switch pressed slightly. The gunk inside the switch should come out immediately. If it does not come out instantly, it may be a wiser idea to not to blow more air. 

Method 4: Remove the Switch

You can use this method only if you have the necessary knowledge and tools that can be helpful in achieving the task. If you have no tools or expertise, you will find it to be one of the most challenging tasks. 

Image Source: Wikimedia Commons

The switch on your keyboard comes with a plastic box along with a spring, a slider, and an electric switch. Some keyboards can have the switches mounted on a PCB, while a few may have them on a plate. Removing and cleaning them up can be extremely difficult. This can be tedious, difficult, and can be extremely cumbersome. You may even end up damaging the switch or even the keyboard. 

If Everything Fails, Just Change Your Switch!

If nothing of these tasks work, it would be practical to go with the ultimate and final option to fix the sticky keys on a mechanical keyboard. Mechanical keyboards are made this way that you can replace most of the parts, and so are the switches. So, if nothing works, all you have to do is to replace the switches. Either you can do yourself if you have knowledge about it or you get them replaced by an expert person.

Of course, for this purpose, you need to know how to solder and desolder the electronic parts and a replacement switch compatible with your keyboard. When choosing a new switch for your keyboard, you need to find the switch from the same manufacturer and belong to the same series of the keyboard.

How to Clean a Mechanical Keyboard?

Cleaning and maintaining your mechanical keyboard can be a complex task. In fact, not cleaning the keyboard can not only cause issues such as sticky keys, and other issues, but it can also be home to bacteria and other germs. 

The best cleaning solutions to clean a mechanical keyboard 

The choice of the cleaning solution would be of much importance when you want to clean your mechanical keyboard. Have a better understanding of the keyboard solutions before you can find how to clean a mechanical keyboard. 

Some of the best keyboard cleaning solutions would include: 

  • A mixture of isopropyl alcohol and water. You should make sure that you have diluted the solution in 30% alcohol. 
  • A Mild detergent mixed with water. Make sure that the solution does not leave any residue.

The keyboard can get the external contaminants that can further damage your keyboard and make them sticky. The keyboard can get dirty because of the dust, dirt, soda, food, hair, office supplies and other contaminants. Cleaning a mechanical keyboard can prove to be handy – not only in improving the punctuality of the keyboard but would also improve the hygiene of your keyboard. 

The Regular Cleaning schedule for the mechanical keyboard

The regular cleaning of the keyboard on a daily basis can be helpful in taking care of your keyboard rather effectively. In fact, the regular maintenance would be one of the excellent options to avoid the possibility of damaging your keyboard and keeping it in a hygienic condition. 

Here are a few options in how to clean a mechanical keyboard that can prove to be effective in cleaning your mechanical keyboard: 

  • Use a handheld vacuum cleaner to remove the dust from the keyboard 
  • Clean up the keyboard and by moving through the keycaps. 
  • Use an antistatic vacuum cleaner would be quite advisable. 
  • You can further clean the keyboard with the microfiber cloth. Ensure that the cloth is mildly wet for better cleaning efficiency. 
  • Using a disposable cleaning wipe may be yet another practical solution. 

Heavy Cleaning

You may need to resort to heavy cleaning if the dust and dirt on your keyboard are much difficult to handle. You can follow the steps here below to ensure that the keyboard can be cleaned off efficiently:

  • Remove the keycaps. You will need to have access to the right tools and expertise in handling your cleaning needs. 
  • Use the compressed air for removing the loose debris
  • You can remove the debris stuck inside the keys with the help of a brush. A nylon brush would be one of the excellent options. 
  • You can even clean the down plate with a cloth that has dampened with the cleaning solution. 
  • Clean and lubricate the stabilizers
  • Reinstall the keycaps after the keys and keys switches have dried off. 

A few Don’ts in cleaning Mechanical keyboard

There are a few key parameters and pointers that can prove to be effective in helping you in cleaning your mechanical keyboard in a more positive manner. Make sure that you follow the tips on what you should avoid damaging your keyboard: 

  • Never expose the keyboard to alcohol or detergents for prolonged periods. 
  • Ensure that the keyboard is dried entirely after it has been cleaned.
  • Never use a blow dryer or heat gun for drying your keyboard. This can possibly warp the keys. 
  • Do not soak the keycaps in the alcohol. This is likely to damage the UV coating of your keys.

The keycaps can be soaked in water – warm water to be specific. The denture tablets can be one of the excellent options for your needs in cleaning the keycaps. We would recommend soaking the keycaps for at least six hours and rinse them thoroughly. Make sure you have dried them off before applying them back on your keyboard. 

How to Safely Remove Keys from a Keyboard?

Well, if you need to remove a key from the keyboard, you need to be careful enough with your task. There may be a few precautions you need to follow before you can move ahead to find how to safely remove keys from a keyboard. 

To begin with, make sure you have disconnected the keyboard from your computer. Once that done, follow the steps here below: 

  • Press the key in front of the key you want to remove. You can use a flat object to slowly remove the key. 
  • You can slowly twist the flat object and push it down until the key pops up
  • Make sure that you are not exerting too much pressure to yank the key off.

That was how safely you can remove the key from a keyboard without damaging the keyboard or the adjacent keys. 

FAQs On Sticky Mechanical Keyboards

Q: How Do You Clean Sticky Keyboard Keys?

The best way to clean a sticky on a mechanical keyboard is to use rubbing alcohol and Instead of removing the keys directly, it may be a good option to use a combination of compressed air and rubbing alcohol to clean the sticky keys. 

Q: How to fix a repeating key? 

Repeating key can be a software issue. You can use control panel option for the keyboard and adjust the Repeat Delay rate to find if it solves the issue. You can follow the same steps in Mac as well. If the software is not a culprit, you can follow the other means of physically cleaning the keyboard. 

Q: How often should you clean the mechanical keyboard? 

You should ideally clean your keyboard at least once every week. You can simply wipe down the surface of the keyboard a couple of times. Make sure you are using a damp microfiber cloth. 

The Concluding Thoughts

The sticky keys on a mechanical keyboard can indeed prove to be something quite a huge concern if you are not careful enough in handling your keyboard. While the mechanical keyboard has been one of the best when it comes to the comfortability of typing and offers you plenty of advantages, keeping it clean at all times can prove to be a great option. 

The tips here on how to fix sticky keys on mechanical keyboard should help you solve the problem, just like the AKD Law helps resolve car accident disputes. Just ensure that you are following the right tips on how to fix sticky keys on a mechanical keyboard. Unless you are aware of the requisite technical knowledge or tools, we would not recommend opting for the tech-savvy guidelines.