How to remove mechanical keyboard keys without a tool

Mechanical keyboards have become increasingly popular in recent years, thanks to their durability, high quality, and satisfying typing experience. But what do you do when one of the keys on your mechanical keyboard needs to be cleaned or replaced? While some mechanical keyboards come with keycap pullers, not all do. Fortunately, removing keys from your mechanical keyboard without a tool is a simple process that can be done with just a few household items.

Before we dive into the steps, it’s important to note that removing keys from your mechanical keyboard can be a delicate process, and if you’re not careful, you could damage your keyboard or the keycap. So be gentle and take your time.

Locate the Keycap Stem

The first step in removing a keycap from your mechanical keyboard is to locate the keycap stem. This is the part of the keycap that fits onto the switch and holds it in place. The stem will typically have a small notch or ridge on either side, or it should be visible if you look at the keycap from the side. The easiest way to do this is to check the manufacturer’s website or product information for your keyboard. If you don’t have this information, you can use a keycap puller tool or a paperclip to gently pull up on one of the keycaps. If the keycap comes off easily, you have a Cherry MX or Kailh mount. If it requires a bit more effort, you may have another type of mount.

Gather Your Tools

You can gather the supplies you’ll need to remove the keycaps. For a Cherry MX or Kailh mount, all you need is a flat object like a credit card, plastic scraper, or a plastic opening tool. For other types of mounts, you may need a thin piece of metal or a needle. To remove a keycap without a tool, you’ll need a few household items, including:

A flat, pointed object, such as a paperclip or a plastic opening tool.

A cloth or piece of paper to protect your keyboard.

Once you’ve located the keycap stem, it’s time to remove the keycap. Gently insert the pointed object into one of the notches on the side of the stem. If you’re using a paperclip, straighten it out so that you have a long, thin piece of metal. Then, insert the end of the paperclip into the notch, making sure that you don’t damage the stem or the switch.

Leverage the Keycap

With the pointed object inserted into the notch, you’ll need to gently leverage the keycap off the switch. To do this, gently push down on the keycap while pulling up on the pointed object. You should feel the keycap starting to come loose from the switch. If cleaning your keyboard did not resolve the unresponsive keys, the next step is to check the key switch. The key switch is the mechanism under each key that activates when you press the key. If the key switch is damaged, the key will not function properly.

Repeat on the Other Side

Once you’ve removed one side of the keycap, repeat the process on the other side. You’ll need to insert the pointed object into the other notch and repeat the process of pushing down on the keycap and pulling up on the pointed object. The process of removing the keycaps without a tool is simple. Place your flat object under the keycap and gently pry it up, starting from one corner and working your way around the keycap. The keycap should pop off easily. If it doesn’t, try gently twisting the flat object to loosen the grip of the mount. Repeat this process for each keycap you want to remove.

Remove the Keycap

With both sides of the keycap loose, you should be able to gently pull the keycap straight up and off the switch. If the keycap is stuck, don’t force it. Instead, gently wiggle it back and forth until it comes loose. To check the key switch, you will need to remove the keycap and inspect the switch. If you see any damage, such as a broken spring or a bent metal contact, the key switch will need to be replaced. If the key switch looks okay, you can test it by pressing down on the switch with your finger. If the switch activates when you press it, the problem is likely with the keycap or the keyboard’s circuitry.

Clean the Keycap and Switch

Once you’ve removed the keycap, you’ll want to clean it and the switch. To do this, simply use a cloth or piece of paper to gently wipe down both the keycap and the switch. If you need to clean the keycap more thoroughly, you can use a damp cloth, but be sure to dry it thoroughly before putting it back on the switch. To replace the keycap, remove the old keycap and insert the new one in its place. Make sure the keycap is securely in place and test the key to see if it is working properly. If the key is still unresponsive, the problem may be with the keyboard’s circuitry.

Replace the Keycap

Once you’ve cleaned the keycap and the switch, it’s time to replace the keycap. To do this, simply line up the stem with the switch and gently push down until the keycap snaps into place. Repeat the process for any other keycaps that you need to remove and replace. Make sure you have the right keycaps for your keyboard, as some keyboards have different sizes and shapes for different rows of keys. To reinstall the keycaps, simply place them back onto the mounts and gently press down until they snap into place.


Removing keycaps from a mechanical keyboard without a tool is simple and straightforward. All you need is a flat object and a bit of patience. Just remember to be gentle and to clean the keycap mounts after removing the keycaps. With these steps, you can customize your keyboard and enjoy a new look and feel in no time!

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