As an Amazon Associate, we earn from qualifying purchases at no extra cost to you. We greatly appreciate your support!

Is Your Mechanical Keyboard Not Working After Cleaning?

Have you ever meticulously cleaned your mechanical keyboard, expecting a smoother typing experience, only to find it completely unresponsive?

Well, this issue is more common than you might think. But why does this happen, and how can you avoid it?

In this article, we’ll shed light on the reasons behind this issue and offer actionable steps to restore your keyboard to its prime condition. Without further ado, let’s get started!

Key Takeaways

  • Residual moisture from cleaning can short-circuit a keyboard, so always ensure it’s thoroughly dried afterward.
  • Aggressive cleaning might break stems, so always opt for gentle techniques.
  • After cleaning, if switches are stuck, they can cause ghosting, so make sure to inspect and clear any obstructions.
  • Cleaning can sometimes dislodge cables, so always double-check and secure all connections.
  • For wireless keyboards, if moisture gets to the batteries, they can fail, so consider replacing them if needed.
  • Even after wiping, hidden moisture can remain, so consider using a hairdryer on a low setting to ensure complete drying.

Common Reasons Why Mechanical Keyboard Keys Stop Working After Cleaning

Residual Moisture

When cleaning a mechanical keyboard, it’s crucial to ensure that all moisture is removed. Water or cleaning solutions left behind can lead to short circuits in the keyboard’s components.

Specifically, water droplets that remain under the keycaps or moisture that gets trapped within the switches can disrupt the keyboard’s functionality.

Physical Damage During Cleaning

Cleaning a keyboard requires a gentle touch. Being too aggressive or using improper tools can result in physical damage.

This includes broken stems, which are the tiny plastic pieces that attach the keycap to the switch, or keycap mounts that get dislodged from their original position. Such damage can prevent keys from registering correctly or even make them entirely unresponsive.

Stuck Switches Causing Ghosting

A stuck switch due to post keyboard cleaning

Ghosting is due to limitations within the keyboard, where it fails to communicate to the computer that a key has been pressed.

After cleaning, if switches get stuck or don’t return to their original position, it can exacerbate this issue. This can be a result of debris, possibly remnants from the cleaning process, obstructing the switch.

Additionally, if a switch mechanism was inadvertently damaged during cleaning, it could further contribute to the ghosting problem.

Disconnected or Damaged Cables

Cleaning a keyboard isn’t just about the keys and switches; it also involves handling the cables. In the process, cables can inadvertently become unplugged or sustain damage. This includes issues like loose USB connectors, which might not establish a proper connection post-cleaning.

There’s also the risk of the cable’s insulation getting frayed or damaged, especially if it was scrubbed or cleaned with harsh chemicals. Ensuring the cables are securely connected and inspecting them for visible damage post-cleaning is crucial to avoid such issues.

Practical Solutions for an Unresponsive Keyboard

Addressing Residual Moisture

Residual moisture on a recent cleaned keyboard

After cleaning, moisture can be a silent adversary, lurking in the nooks and crannies of your keyboard.

To combat this, grab a can of compressed air. A few strategic blasts can dislodge hidden water droplets, ensuring they don’t wreak havoc on your keyboard’s internals.

But don’t stop there. For a thorough drying, let your keyboard have a mini-vacation in a dry, warm spot.

Think of it as a two-day spa retreat for your trusty typing companion. This will help evaporate any stubborn moisture that might be hiding out of sight.

Unplug and Plug Again the Keyboard

After a thorough cleaning, it’s not uncommon for keyboards to have intermittent connection issues.

If your keyboard isn’t responding as it should, a simple yet effective troubleshooting step is to unplug it.

By disconnecting and then reconnecting it to a different USB port, you’re essentially giving the system a fresh chance to detect and communicate with the keyboard.

Sometimes, certain USB ports can have temporary glitches or might not provide adequate power post-cleaning.

Replace the Batteries (For Wireless Keyboards)

Faulty battery on a recently cleaned keyboard

During your cleaning process, if any moisture seeped into the battery compartment of your wireless keyboard, it could have a detrimental effect. When water infiltrates a battery, it disrupts the flow of electrons from the positive to the negative terminal.

This interference can cause the battery to short-circuit and fail, rendering your keyboard unresponsive. It’s not just about the battery losing its charge; the very mechanism by which it powers your keyboard can be compromised.

So, after cleaning, if your keyboard is giving you the silent treatment, it’s wise to inspect the batteries. If you notice that they are moist, I recommend you replace them and see whether it will fix your issue.

Heat Blow the Keyboard

Moisture is a silent adversary for electronics. Even after wiping and air drying, some moisture can remain hidden in the keyboard’s crevices. Using a hairdryer can be an effective way to tackle this. Set it to a low setting to gently evaporate any lingering moisture.

As you go about it, move the hairdryer evenly across the keyboard, ensuring all areas receive attention. It’s crucial to avoid focusing on one spot for too long to prevent overheating or potential damage.

Think of it as sunbathing your keyboard, where even exposure ensures a thorough dry without any harm.

Double Check the Switches

Cleaning keyboard switches from moisture

After cleaning, it’s crucial to inspect the switches of your mechanical keyboard.

As mentioned above, debris from the cleaning process can cause keys to stick, affecting their functionality. Ensure that each switch moves freely and isn’t obstructed.

Try a Different Cable

Last but not least, if your keyboard isn’t responding, it might be due to an issue with the cable.

During cleaning, cables can inadvertently get damaged or compromised. Testing with a different cable can help determine if this is the root of the problem and get your keyboard back in action.


We hope this article has guided you to the solution you were seeking for your keyboard woes. Your experiences and insights matter to us.

Feel free to share your thoughts, ask questions, or discuss the reasons behind your keyboard’s malfunction.

Also, if your mechanical keyboard is irreparably damaged, we invite you to read our guide on selecting the right mechanical keyboard, which includes tips on finding durable and reliable options.

We're an affiliate

We hope you love the products we recommend! Just so you know, is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by linking to

Hi, I’m Abdelkader, a gamer and the founder of Gamer Around. I’ve been into gaming for the past 20 years and I love to share my passion and experience with you. Throughout these years, I managed to build a decent amount of knowledge and experience in PC hardware, but I’m always learning and improving.

Leave a Comment