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How To Remove Keycaps Without Tools?

Every one of us uses a keyboard irrespective of our field of work. A writer uses the same keyboard as a teacher or a doctor.

The technical era has brought all of us together in the field of technology and working techniques. Thus, all of the work is done in digital format, and the usage of a keyboard is inevitable.

But while using the keyboard, we often forget about the maintenance and end up with a faulty or broken keyboard.

Keyboards require maintenance to showcase durability, and one of the easiest and most important caring the keyboard needs is clearing it of any dirt and debris.

The dust can be cleared by removing the keycaps, which can be easily done without any fancy tools.

Why Should You Remove Keyboard Keycaps?

The keycaps are the buttons on the top of switches, which are printed with the letters, numbers, or characters for reference, to know which key we are pressing.

These keycaps can also be removed from the keyboard and put back on easily. There are various reasons why the keycaps need to be removed, here is why.

Maintenance

With continuous usage of a keyboard over quite some time, or due to something spilling or getting into the valleys of the keyboard (the spaces between keys), the keyboard gets dirty and dusty, which needs to be cleaned.

A thorough cleaning can be done by removing the caps and then cleaning the accumulated debris. Cleaning the underlying dust can also be done without removing the keycaps, but the dust particles remaining in there may cause some glitches later.

Thus, it is more favorable to take off keycaps to clean the keyboard.

Replacing Switches

Sometimes, the switches of the keyboard, which are present below the keys, and aid in registering the clicks, need to be changed.

The purpose behind changing the keycaps may be to replace broken switches or to change the switch type.

For example, if your keyboard comes with a blue switch, you might want to change it to a brown switch, and for this, you will need to remove the keycaps to operate on the switches easily.

Personalization

Customized keyboards are super cool and super trendy. You can either buy customized keyboards at a high price or do it on your own.

You can personalize the keys to get a different feel, customized colors, pictures, or themes.

Remove Membrane Keyboard Keycaps Without Tool

Opting for fancy tools to remove the keycaps can be quite time-consuming and also clearly unnecessary when you can do it just without tools.

The two types of the keyboard- the membrane and mechanic, both of their keycaps can be removed without using any tools.

Here is how.

How To Remove the Keycaps of The Membrane Keyboard?

The membrane keyboard or the general keyboard is the one most widely used for general purposes. The dome present in these keyboards is rubber domes that aid in registering the keystrokes.

The membrane keyboards are budget-oriented and the best suited for typing, and other general uses.The keycaps of these keyboards can be removed without any professional tools.

All you need to grab is some items easily available around you and give them a go. The items you need to pull out the keycaps of a membrane keyboard are.

  • Your membrane keyboard
  • A bowl
  • Cotton swab
  • Paper clips or a credit card
  • A screwdriver or spoon

After you have collected these items, follow the steps below to clean your membrane keyboard.

  1. Place a soft cloth or paper below the keyboard so that the keys don't fall elsewhere and end up lost.
  2. Turn the keyboard upside-down, and look for the screws holding the front and back pieces together and unscrew them. To unscrew them, you can use a spoon if you are unable to find a screwdriver.
  3. After the unscrewing, the keyboard should split up into two halves. If it doesn’t, use a credit card to detach the keyboard into two halves.
  4. Once you have detached the two halves, place the bottom half on the cloth carefully so that the circuits are untouched and undisturbed. Disturbing the cables may cause problems with the keyboard.
  5. Take a picture of the keyboard so that you can place the keys back in their right place after cleaning the keyboard.
  6. After that, use the paper clip or credit card to remove the keys one by one. Removing the keys, place them into the bowl one by one.
  7. After removing all the keys, clean the keyboard using a cotton swab or soft cloth.
  8. Once the cleaning is completed, place the keys as before or add any customize the keys as you wish.

This way, the keys of the membrane keyboard can be removed, without using any professional tools, to clean the keyboard or change the caps.

How To Remove the Keycaps of Mechanical Keyboard?

Mechanical keyboards or gaming keyboards are those keyboards that contain a switch under the keycaps that have numbers, alphabets, or functions printed on them. The switches are metal stems that make contact with the PCB when the key is pressed, and register the keystroke.

Generally, removing the keycaps, you may need a keycap puller for a gaming keyboard. While some keyboards come with a keycap puller from the manufacturer, a few don’t.

Since we are looking to remove the keycaps without a tool, we will prefer using a paperclip, a credit card, or something similar to it.

Removing the keycaps of a mechanical keyboard is simpler than that of a membrane keyboard. You do not need any screwdrivers or splitting the keyboard in half.

After you have all the items needed to open the keycaps, follow the steps below.

  1. Place the keyboard on a clean and dry surface that would be favorable to remove the keycaps on.
  2. Click a picture of the keyboard before removing the caps.
  3. Use a credit card or paper clip to remove the keycaps from the switches.
  4. If you cannot find a paper clip or are afraid of damaging your credit card, you can even use household items like keys a knife, or similar items. The basic principle is to apply equal pressure in the upward direction on the opposite sides of the keys.
  5. Pull the keycap outwards by applying equal pressure. Make sure that you do not bend the keycap in any direction as it may damage the switch.
  6. The keycap should easily dismantle itself from the switch and come out.
  7. The larger keys will need extra care as they come with additional support, which might get broken during the removal process.
  8. Remove the keys and place them securely in a bowl.

Generally, mechanical keyboards come with backlighting. So, to reduce the chances of damaging the lighting, turn the lighting off and unplug the keyboard.

Another benefit of the mechanical keyboard is that you can clean a particular portion of the keyboard just by removing the keycaps of that particular section instead of opening up the whole keyboard and removing all the keys.

How To Clean Mechanical Keyboard Keys?

Now that you know how to remove the keycaps of a mechanical keyboard, you might as well know how to clean the keyboard to enhance its durability.

A mechanical keyboard, if maintained properly can work excellently for 13-15 years. Thus, it is important to keep the keyboard health in check so you do not miss out on the amazing life of the keyboard.

Periodical Cleaning

Cleaning your mechanical keyboard periodically can be highly helpful in achieving the best performance and long life.

Cleaning the keyboard at regular intervals like once in a month or once in two months would help a lot in preventing the accumulation of dirt and grease.

  1. First of all, unplug the keyboard.
  2. Using a vacuum brush, clean up the dust from the keyboard.
  3. Press the vacuum brush against the keycaps and trigger the keycaps in the process. Using small handheld vacuum brushes is recommended for this.
  4. Wipe off the whole keyboard with a slightly moist microfibre cloth.
  5. Dry it with another cloth. Avoid usage of a paper cloth as it may leave traces of paper on the keyboard.
  6. If you are cleaning the keyboard after removing the keycaps, you can use canned air to blow off the dust. Using canned air with the keycaps on may cause air condensation in the keyboard so it is suggested to avoid using compressed air with the keycaps intact.

Deferred Cleaning

Deferred cleaning involves removing keycaps as we have seen earlier. This cleaning technique can be useful in the removal of the dust and grease that is stubborn and cannot be removed just by outer cleaning.

  1. Unplug the keyboard from your system.
  2. Remove the keycaps using a credit card or kitchen knife gently.
  3. Pay extra attention to bigger keys such as shift, spacebar, or enter as they have support fixtures and may not be easily removed. In that case, you can just wipe them off.
  4. Collect the keycaps in a bowl and pour hot water into them. Leave the keycaps in there for some time.
  5. Remove the dirt around the switches with canned air and dry cloth.
  6. The plate can also be vacuumed, just take care not to damage them.

Advantages of Cleaning keyboard Regularly

The keyboard is said to be one of the dirtiest things around us, due to the continuous contact with our fingers and germ transferring and might result in the sickness of the user due to skin to keyboard contact.

Cleaning the mechanical keyboard regularly has numerous benefits. It is necessary to keep the keyboard clean to waive off any unwanted contaminations or germs from its surface. Let’s take a look at certain benefits of cleaning your keyboard regularly.

Better Keystroke Response

A clean keyboard will respond to your strokes faster and help you type with greater accuracy. If there’s any dust particle in between the keyboard’s silicon buttons and chipset, it may cause malfunctions and even make the keys unresponsive for a while.

Longer Usage Life

It’s a no-brainer that every mechanical component requires some sort of maintenance to help you make the most out of it. Similarly, if you keep your keyboard clean and tidy, it may last longer and provide you with a good value for money.

Hygienic Typing Experience

If your work involves a lot of typing, you may resonate with the fact that the keys can get quite messy sometimes, especially when you’re eating something too. To ensure that your typing experience remains tidy, consider cleaning your keyboard regularly.

Precautions While Cleaning the Keyboard

While mechanical keyboards are highly durable, it is also necessary to keep some “Do Not Do’s” in mind. The things that you should never do in cleaning the keyboards are.

  • Never apply a high-pressure spray to the keyboard, as it can damage or rust the springs and the PCB.
  • Ensure that you have not reconnected the keyboard components until it dries up in case you have used a liquid cleaner.
  • Never use a sticky compound such as jelly to clean the keyboard.
  • Avoid eating or drinking anything around the keyboard as it may cause extra labor to clean if anything spills on it.

FAQ

  1. Can You Pull Keycaps Off by Hand?
  2. Although it’s completely doable to pull off keycaps by hand, we won’t recommend that as the pressure applied will be uneven, as opposed to the recommended practice of applying even pressure, and you may end up either breaking the key or hurting your fingers.

  3. What Is the Easiest Way to Remove Keycaps?
  4. Using a credit card, paper clip, or anything that helps you apply even pressure from one side of the key is hands-down the best way to remove the keycaps from your keyboard.

  5. Is It Safe to Remove Keyboard Keys Without a Tool?
  6. Yes, it’s absolutely safe to remove keyboard keys without using a specific tool for the purpose. However, make sure you use an alternative that helps you carry out the task efficiently.

  7. What Can I Use Instead of a Keycap Puller?
  8. Objects like credit cards and paper clips are best for this purpose. You may also use other household items like spoons and more.

Final Word

Whether you’re writing that next bestseller or looking forward to publishing a new blog for your audience, typing can be a very nasty job sometimes. To make the experience somewhat more pleasant, you can thoroughly clean the keyboard with the help of the aforementioned information.

We hope you find the shared steps informational to remove your keyboard’s keycaps without the need for a dedicated tool.

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