Corsair Keyboard Restoration

A few weeks ago, a friend of mine was asking about which was the best gaming keyboard to buy as theirs was “broken”. I knew that they had a pretty decent Corsair gaming keyboard and that they hadn’t had it all that long (maybe less than a year). The scientist in me immediately asked “In what way is it broken?”.

“The keys are sticking and often don’t register. I’m going to throw it away.”

Always one unable to resist a challenge and prevent something ending up in landfill if I can help, I offered to take a look to see if I could fix it. I wasn’t surprised at the state of it when it arrived. My friend often ends up eating and drinking at their desk during both work and gaming, and most people don’t clean their tech regularly, if at all.

Dirty Corsair keyboard as it arrived to me.
The wireless Corsair keyboard in it’s original state.

It was slightly worse that I’d envisioned. The keys were indeed sticky, in both travel and general touch. This was definitely something that was going to need significant cleaning!

Step one was to remove the keys. Like most mechanical keyboards, it’s pretty easy to pop off the key caps with gentle force, taking care not to break any of the clips. With this done, I could see just how much rubbish was underneath.

 keys are removed from the keyboard and the true horror of all the mess underneath is revealed
With the keys removed, the true horror of the keyboard is revealed :O

Most of the dust and crumbs were stuck to the keyboard membrane. I removed as much as possible with a soft brush, and then used screen wipes to loosen and remove the rest. Some of the loose crumbs has dropped down into the keyboard itself so I used my trusty cyber clean to gently get those out. While I hadn’t noticed a smell on the keyboard before, it smelled “clean” now!

Keyboard is much more hygienic now - with all of the dirt removed
The keyboard is clean!

I used a lot of screen cleaner and several goes with the cyberclean to make sure that the keyboard itself was as close to new as I could get it. Then it was a case of dealing with the keys.

Many of the keys themselves were sticky to the touch. Rather than screen cleaner I opted for a plant based anti-bacterial spray and a microfibre cloth and went through them one at a time. Once cleaned and dry, I clipped them back in and checked the travel to make sure that they moved freely.

Keyboard with all keys replaced and cleaned.
Keys back in their original positions and all working correctly without “sticking” in any respect.

At this stage it looked like a new keyboard. All that remained was to check that the keyboard actually worked, which I couldn’t do as I’d only been given the keyboard and not the receiver. However, the light still worked 😀

Keyboard with the lights working
You can actually see the light behind the keys now…

This whole process took a couple of hours as I didn’t want to rush. These keyboards are pretty resilient – they have to be to cope with the demands of gaming :). So it was a fair guess that there was nothing wrong with the keyboard that a little elbow grease couldn’t fix.

I gave the it back to my friend, who couldn’t believe that it was the same keyboard. Once plugged in and connected to their desktop it was confirmed to be “as if it was brand new out of the box”. I don’t know if Corsair approve this method of restoring “broken” (dirty) keyboards, but it worked, and is a testament to their build quality. I just wish they made an ergonomic design as I just can’t work or game on a straight keyboard any more.

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Dr Janet is a Molecular Biochemistry graduate from Oxford University with a doctorate in Computational Neuroscience from Sussex. I’m currently studying for a third degree in Mathematics with Open University. During the day, and sometimes out of hours, I work as a Chief Science Officer. You can read all about that on my LinkedIn page.