How to fix unresponsive mechanical keyboard keys

Mechanical keyboard keys are prone to dust and debris. The fine particles can get inside the keys and cause trouble when using them. Most of the time, they become unresponsive due to this issue. But there are ways to fix the unresponsive keys in a mechanical keyboard with the help of some cleaning techniques. 

In this article, we will be discussing the different ways to clean a mechanical keyboard so that the unresponsive keys are fixed.

There are several ways to fix an unresponsive key in your mechanical keyboard. We will discuss each of them and you can either do them one by one or choose the most appropriate one for you.

Try Turning it Off

Many times, the keyboard becomes unresponsive due to driver malfunction. So, you can simply turn off your PC or remove the keyboard from your PC. After restarting the PC, plug it back in and check whether the keys respond.

You can also try plugging it into other devices to check whether the problem lies with the keyboard or the connected device. If the keys become responsive with other devices, then you may conclude that it is a PC problem and you have to fix the drivers or update them. If the keyboard doesn’t work after restart, then you may go for other fixes. 

Try cleaning the keyboard

If there is dust inside the keyboard, the switches might not actuate properly and may cause unresponsiveness. In such cases, try to clean the keyboard with a vacuum. You can use a small handheld vacuum cleaner to remove the dust in between the keys. 

You can also remove the keycaps and do a thorough vacuuming of the keyboard. When you do this most of the dust and debris will be removed and the switches will work properly. If they are still unresponsive you can go for deep cleaning methods.

Try deep cleaning

One of the deep cleaning methods involves the use of a microfiber cloth to remove the dust from the keyboard. In this method, you have to take a clean microfiber cloth and slightly make it damp. Then remove the keycaps and clean them individually. Also, clean the keyboard between the switches to remove any minute dust particles.

The second deep cleaning involves the use of contact cleaners. In this method, unplug the keyboard from the PC and remove the keycaps. Now spray a few squirts of contact cleaner solution on the stem side of the unresponsive switch and let it dry. You can also gently wipe it to make it dry.

After doing these deep cleaning methods, replace the caps and check whether the keyboard works or not. If the keys are still unresponsive, you may go to the next step.

Check for Solder Integrity

If you are using a soldered PCB, then the pins might have weakened and requires resoldering. But first, check whether the soldering is good and the integrity is not compromised. If you find any issues with the solder joints, then resolder it.

Remove the caps, locate the area required for resoldering, and properly solder it. If you don’t have any soldering experience, then go to a technician to do it for you.

Try replacing the switch

Even after using a solder to fix the issue, if the keys are still unresponsive, then you must try replacing the entire switch. With a soldered PCB, you have to remove the switch by desoldering the pins from the PCB. Then find a switch with matching pins and model. Resolder the pins onto the board and check whether they are working.

In the case of hot-swappable switches, you can easily pull the switches out and replace them with a new switch. 

If none of the above works, then there is no other way. You have to replace the keyboard entirely or change the PCB of the keyboard. If you have custom-built the keyboard, then you may try changing the PCB. But if you have bought a prebuilt one, then you may purchase an entirely new one.

These are the different methods you can try to fix an unresponsive switch and make sure to observe precautions so that you don’t ruin the keyboards. If you aren’t sure about fixing it yourself, take it to a technician.

What are the causes of unresponsive keys?

An unresponsive key is caused due to the following reasons:

  • Dust and Debris accumulated under the keycaps, switches, and over the board.
  • A broken switch
  • A switch that is stuck
  • Poor connection in the circuit
  • The connected device is not responding

Among these dust and debris are primary factors for unresponsive switches. The switches being broken is usually rare unless you have used too much force on the keys or have bought a very cheap mechanical keyboard. 

As for the stuck switch, it is usually caused by dust accumulation, but it can also be caused due to a problem with the spring inside the switch. 

The poor connection in the circuit is also rare and it might be caused due to improper handling of the keyboard. 

An unresponsive device can also cause this issue and it may not be the problem of the keyboard itself. 

Fixing all these issues are very easy. Only if the switch is broken, you have to replace it with a new one. One of the benefits of a mechanical keyboard is that they are individual keys and they don’t work in serial connection. 

That means, if one switch doesn’t work, it will not break the circuit of all the other switches and render the keyboard useless. So, due to this advantage, you can easily swap a broken switch for a new one and use them comfortably.


A mechanical keyboard can get unresponsive sometimes and it can be fixed easily. You never have to change the entire keyboard unless you have ruined it to that extent. But with proper care, you will be able to maintain the integrity of the keyboard and have prolonged usage with efficiency.

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