When the discussion about lubing your keyboard switches, you might feel unsure or overwhelmed. A person using a mechanical board just doesn’t understand that keyboard switches require lubrication.
Cleaning is not the only maintenance that the keyboard needs. Lubricating them reduces noise. At the same time, such an act increases the lifespan of your keyboard by minimizing regular wear and tear.
Here is an in-depth discussion on do you need to lube keyboard switches. Continue reading.
Do You Need to Lube Keyboard Switches?
The straightforward answer is that it depends on what type of keyboard switches you have. Lubing the keyboard switches is necessary if you are a heavy keyboard user who type or game frequently for hours.
Here is a chart describing what switch types require lubing.
|Type of Switch||Common Color of the Switch||Do You Need to Lube Them?|
|Linear Switches||Black, Yellow, Red||Lubing will always be beneficial.|
|Tactile Switches||Clear, Brown||You will get benefits by re-lubing them. But avoid lubing too much or thick.|
|Clicky Switches||Green, Blue||Generally, it is less beneficial. Lubing can take away the tactility of the switch. However, you can provide light lubing only on the specific parts of a switch.|
Lubing your keyboard is one of the crucial things you can do to your keyboard. This is a must if you want to get long-term service from your mechanical keyboard.
You will see a big difference between the typing experience of a rubber membrane keyboard and a new mechanical keyboard. Typing with a mechanical keyboard will be much smoother and more satisfying than with a rubber membrane keyboard.
After a few months, you will experience scratchiness and pinging sound from the keys if the keyboard is used for several hours daily.
- Lubing is the best way to eliminate scratchiness and provide your smoother typing experience again. Moreover, proper lubing is a quick fix for the pinging noise or a rattle in your keyboard stabilizers.
However, maybe you are not hearing or don’t bother with the pinging sound or don’t mind the scratchiness, but you prefer hearing that majestic “thocky” sound from your keyboard.
Bear in mind a keyboard is most likely creating a “clack” or “thock” sound when it is lubed perfectly. In fact, lubing can make a big difference in creating a better sound.
How Often Do Keyboard Switches Require Lubrication?
The lubing frequency completely depends on the usability of your keyboard and the scratchiness amount you face when typing.
|5 – 8 hours / day||6 months|
|2 – 3 hours/ day||1 – 2 years|
If you are a heavy keyboard user and type or play games for 5 – 8 hours daily, I recommend lubing the switches every 6 months.
On the other hand, average keyboard users who use their keyboard for 2 – 3 hours a day remember to lube their keyboard switches every 1 – 2 years.
However, one crucial note to be kept in mind,
- Users of linear switches should re-lube the keyboards more frequently than those of tactile or clicky switches.
I use 2 keyboards, one for gaming and the other for typing articles with tactile switches.
I have a gaming keyboard, which requires re-lubing in 6 – 8 months of a cycle to get the optimum benefits.
When I forget to re-lube the keyboard, I notice that the Q, A, S, D, W, Spacebar, X, and Z keys offer a late response, creating unusual noise and scratchiness. Generally, I use these keys more frequently than others.
Then, I re-lube the switches and start feeling balanced now, not creating disturbing scratchiness and becoming smoother.
Now, you might wonder how often I should re-lube tactile switches.
Well, I have been using the 2nd keyboard for over a year and used it for typing. For tactile switches, determining when to lube is a little challenging because of the tactile bump of the switches.
However, if you feel that the smoothness of the switches is reduced, I suggest you lube them. Consequently, if you are typing less frequently, re-lube the tactile switches once within 1 – 2 years.
What Factors Determine Lubing Frequency?
As you already know, lubing your keyboard switches significantly improves your gaming and typing experience, so what factors determine the lubing frequency?
I listed the factors below. Read them carefully.
1. Keyboard Usage
The lube wears off quickly if you use the keyboard intensively or more for gaming. Generally, the same switch must be pressed multiple times per second when gaming. As a result, lube wears down faster.
Typists or gamers usually observe that the keyboard lube wears off within 6 – 8 months. Whereas lubing may require every 1 – 2 years for the regular use of the keyboard.
2. Switch Type
The type of switch also plays a crucial role in the frequency of applying lube.
Frequent lubing is more necessary for linear switches than tactile switches. Lube your linear switches every 6 – 8 months. You will get a smooth feel after applying lube to the linear switches.
The smoothness of tactile switches is difficult to feel for the tactile bump. Re-lube is not frequently required for tactile witches. You can re-lube them every v1 – 2 years. However, the keystroke sound will improve for sure after re-lubing tactile switches.
Re-lubing is unnecessary for clicky switches. However, if you feel that a specific key feels less smooth or sounds unusual, re-lube it.
3. Lube Type
The application cycle of lube for your keyboard switches also depends on the lube type. You will find many types of lubes in the market with different life cycles.
For example, PEPE (Perfluoropolyether) has a lifespan of 5-10 years. They are efficient enough in resisting temperature and oxidation.
On the other hand, Krytox lube lasts 6 months when the switches are used heavily. Even their life cycle can be 20 years if it remains untouched.
Yes, re-lubing keyboard switches are worth it. If you re-lube them periodically, your keyboard switches will become smoother and less stiff. Although re-lubing may seem minor, it can make a big difference in typing or gaming. Re-lubing is worth considering if you prefer improving your typing experience.
Re-lubing keyboard switches are not difficult but tricky. A steady hand and patience are a must in this regard. Moreover, learning the process and choosing the correct tools and lube is important. Careful application of the lube is necessary to avoid further damage.
No, Vaseline is not an ideal choice for re-lubing keyboard switches. Petroleum jelly is used to make Vaseline and can damage the components. More dangerously, it can make the keys sticky instead of smoother.
You shouldn’t use olive oil for keyboard re-lubing. Olive oil causes accumulation of residues into the keys. The reason is olive oil has higher density, making it unsafe for keyboard switches. While olive oil is a good lubricant for applying on metals.
Let’s conclude the topic of do you need to lube keyboard switches. Re-lubing can make a huge difference in how your board feels and looks. Whether or not you need to lube your keyboard depends on your preferences and the type of switches you use.
Lubrication can improve the feel and sound of the switches, reduce friction and wear, and potentially prolong the lifespan of the switches. With the right approach, lubrication can be a worthwhile upgrade for a better typing experience.