How to Remove Keys from a Mechanical Keyboard

Image credit: Martin Garrido / Unsplash

We know that PC gaming is expensive. While the hardware inside your case will be where most of your money goes, a lot of gamers also spend a lot of money on the peripherals they use.

While there is no doubt that a gaming mouse and a mechanical keyboard can increase your performance while gaming by a considerable amount, you also need to maintain the hardware.

When it comes to a mechanical keyboard, removing the keys will allow you to properly clean the mechanical keyboard. Here, we take a look at how to remove keys from a mechanical keyboard. We will look at multiple methods so that you can pick the one that is the most suitable for you.

Why Remove Keys from a Mechanical Keyboard

Console gamers coming to PC may have trouble understanding all the maintenance required for their peripherals. Learning how to get used to gaming on a keyboard and mouse is difficult enough. However, cleaning and maintaining your equipment carries a lot of benefits.

We have already mentioned how removing the keys is an important part of the mechanical keyboard cleaning procedure. There are also other reasons to remove your keyboard’s keys, as it will also allow you to solve many problems that can happen with the hardware. For example, removing the keys will allow you to fix sticky keys on a mechanical keyboard.

Another major reason why people remove keys from their mechanical keyboard is to be able to customize their keys. A lot of high-end mechanical keyboards come with various different types of keys, each having a different redeeming quality (e.g., actuation point).

Some users prefer to have textured keys, especially when it comes to the buttons that are used quite frequently (WASD and/or the arrow keys).

All in all, there are a lot of reasons why you may want to remove the keys of your mechanical keyboard. Now, let’s take a look at two ways to remove them.

Remove Mechanical Keyboard Keys Using a Keycap Puller

The easiest method to remove your keycaps involves using a keycap puller. A keycap puller is a small and inexpensive device that can be purchased from any computer store (or online). The two main types of keycap pullers are plastic pullers and wire pullers.

While a lot of people tend to prefer wire keycap pullers over plastic ones, both of them do a good enough job.

Before you begin, make sure that your keyboard is switched off and there are no LED lights blinking on it anywhere. Not only is the light extremely bright once you pull off the keys, but there is a risk of you damaging the electrics of your keyboard if you remove the keys when the keyboard is switched on.

Once the keyboard is switched off, place the keycap puller on the keyboard and slide it down the key that you want to eject. If you are using a plastic puller, you should hear it click into place beneath the keys. If you are using a wire puller, you can simply slide the wires underneath the keys.

Now, gently pull and apply force in increasing amounts until the key comes off. Remember that you should never try to yank off the keys, as it is possible to break them. Remember that for the larger keys (such as Enter and the Space Bar), you should first remove the keys from one side and then the other.

Remove Mechanical Keyboard Keys Without Using a Keycap Puller

If you want to remove the keys and do not have access to a keycap puller, here are other items that can be used to remove the keys:

  • Paper Clip
  • Credit Card
  • Key
  • Finger

Simply put, anything that you can put underneath the key and use to apply upward pressure will allow you to remove keys from your mechanical keyboard. Here is how:

Remove Keys Using a Paper Clip

If you are using a paper clip, you may need to bend the pin in order to make sure that it can fit underneath the keycaps. The good news is that apart from a keycap puller, a paperclip is the surest way to remove keys from your keyboard.

Simply slide the paper clip underneath the key until a part of it is completely underneath the keycap. Then, gently pull on the clip and wiggle it a little bit until the key comes off. Once again, remember not to yank the paperclip as it may end up breaking or damaging the key.

Using a Credit Card, Key, or other Household Object to Remove Keys

Once again the process is similar. As long as you can get the object underneath the keycap, you should be able to exert force and gradually get the keycap to come out.

Remember that if you are using a hard object such as a key, you must make sure not to use too much force as you may end up scratching the keycap. Or worse, you may end up damaging the key mechanism itself.

Using a Finger to Remove Keys

The last method to remove keys from a mechanical keyboard revolves around using your finger. However, this is extremely difficult and may even cause pain. As such, proceed with caution.

The major issue here is that there is no space for you to stick your fingers underneath the keycap. As such, you want to start with the key at the edge of the keyboard and slowly work your way up to the keys that you actually want to remove. Use the room that you gain by removing each key to remove the next one.

Of course, you can also try to fit your nail underneath the keycap and pull the key out using it. However, this can be very painful, especially if your keycaps are rigid and do not come off easily.

Conclusion

Once you have removed the keycaps and want to install new ones (or install the same keycaps again), all you need to do is to hold the keycap over its mechanism and gently push it down. Eventually, you will hear the key click and lock into place.

So, we just went through multiple ways of removing keys from a mechanical keyboard. While all of them get the job done, we advise readers to invest in a keycap puller, as that makes things quite easier.

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