Beneath each keycap on a keyboard is a switch that registers keystrokes. Tap your space bar, Enter key, and some random keys, and try to notice the differences in sound and feel. Perhaps the space bar makes a lighter thump than the letter keys, or maybe the Esc key is a little scratchy on the way back up. Although lubricating switches isn’t entirely necessary for typing or gaming, doing so can smooth out every keystroke and provide a satisfyingly consistent sound for each key.
In order to lube switches, you will need a clean, wide-open workspace. The parts are very small and lightweight, so it can be easy to lose pieces.
You will also need a small paintbrush—size 00 or 000—to apply the lubricant. More than one paintbrush isn’t necessary, but an extra one may be nice to have available.
Switch lubricant, like Krytox or Glorious’ G-Lube, a switch opener, and a switch puller are also necessary. Switch lubricants are used for linear and tactile switches, but vary depending on switch type and user preference. Many enthusiasts recommend against lubing clicky switches. A switch opener is an easy to use tool that will separate the components of the switches safely. The Gliding metal switch opener and Koi Co switch opener from Amazon will work just fine, but there are plenty of other options. Some lube stations, like the Gliging lube station, will include a four-prong grabber tool, but individual grabbers can also be found on Amazon, such as these ANCIRS or Bonarty grabbers.
How to lubricate switches
- Lay out the switches on your workspace.
- Open the switches with a switch opener to separate each component.
- Place the switch with its legs facing down in the opener.
- Press down to allow the bottom of the switch to secure in the opener.
- Lift off the top of the switch.
- Take out the stem, spring, and bottom of the switch.
- Repeat with each switch.
- Dip the paint brush into the lubricant.
- You can use the pronged grabber to hold components while lubing.
- Use the brush to gently lubricate the springs.
- A light glaze over the springs will do the trick. Over-lubing can lead to squishy switches.
- It is only necessary to lubricate the ends of the spring, since that is where most of the action in the spring happens.
- Very lightly paint the lube on the inside of the slider rails of the switch.
- Make sure to evenly coat the rails, but do not over-lube the rails.
- Brush lubricant on the stems of each switch.
- This is where the lube station comes in handy. These parts are very small, so use this tool to hold each piece as you brush.
- Lubricate the bottom housing of each switch with the paintbrush.
- Again, feel free to use the lube station to make lubricating these parts easier.
- Lubricate the top housing of each switch with the paintbrush.
- Not everyone lubricates the top housing of switches, but it is up to each person’s preference.
- Place the spring into the bottom housing of each switch.
- Next, place the stem in the spring with the legs facing the leaf of the bottom housing.
- Pop the top housing on top with the logo or curve in the same orientation as the stem.
- Repeat for each switch.
It’s important to keep in mind that while some people lubricate every component for linear switches, this is generally not recommended for tactile switches by many keyboard enthusiasts. Over-lubing tactile switches can take away the satisfying tactile feel that users enjoy.
Another helpful note is to try to lubricate all switches the same exact way and amount as the first one. The purpose of lubing switches is to make them buttery-smooth and consistent. This effect will likely not be enjoyed as much if some switches are more lubed than others.