How to Lube Mechanical Keyboard Switches: A Step-By-Step Guide

  • Keycaps 101
  • Posted by: carson-rutz
  • Sep 1, 2022

When it comes to mechanical keyboards, lubricating the switches can make a noticeable difference in your typing experience. If you don't take this step, you could be left behind in the race for smoothness, stability and comfort. This article will guide you How to Lube Your Switches through 9 simple steps. Let's explore !

Tools Required to Lube Your Switches

Tools to lube switches
Tools to lube switches

To lube your switches the right way, you need a set of specific tools, to begin with. Here, we have gathered a list of all the tools and components you need to lube switches.


Before starting to lubricate the mechanical keyboard switches, make sure you have prepared all the necessary tools. The right tools not only make the process easier, but also ensure that you can do it accurately and efficiently.

Tool Usage
Small brush or applicator Use a brush or small tool with a sharp tip to apply lubricating oil to the switch parts
Lubricant Use to lubricate switches
Switch opener To open the switch
Keycap puller Lift the switch off the keyboard
Tweezers Hold and remove small switch parts during the lubrication process
Container or tray Hold the switches to keep them from rolling around or getting lost
Isopropyl alcohol (optional) Use to clean switches before lubricating to remove dirt
Lubricate the switches
Lubricate the switches

Choosing the type of lubricating oil for the switch depends on the viscosity of the liquid. In particular, viscosity is defined as the ability of a liquid to flow freely. If the liquid has high viscosity it will flow slower, whereas a liquid with low viscosity will flow faster. Each switch will need a lubricant with a different viscosity to ensure smooth movement.

  • Best Lube for Tactile Switches: Linear switches do not have complicated contact points, so low viscosity lubes such as Krytox 205g0 (high viscosity), Tribosys 3204 (medium viscosity), Carbon GS1 (low viscosity) help reduce friction and make switch movement smoother.
  • Best Lube for Linear Switches: Tactile switches have increased pressure contact points and the ability to produce low sounds. Therefore low viscosity lubes like Krytox GPL 205g0 are the most popular and suitable choice.
  • Best Lube for Clicky Switches: Low viscosity lubricants are also popular for this type of switch. Thin fluids such as Krytox 105 (low viscosity) and Krytox GPL 205g0 (high viscosity) help lubricate contact points without reducing clicky sound.

Small Paint Brush

A small paintbrush
A small paintbrush


You will need a small paint brush to apply the lube inside the switches. One of the challenges users face while applying lube on the switches is the brush size. While some opt for smaller brushes, others go for larger ones to lube switches. If you wonder which size works the best, you may want to try the size #2 brush. It can easily fit into the narrow spots around the keys. 

Switch Opener or Flathead Screwdriver 

Switches openers
Switches openers

The switch opener helps to unmount the keys after removing them from the keyboard top. You can also use a flathead screwdriver to open the switches. A vital tip to remember while opening the switches using a screwdriver is to be as gentle with the plastic as possible. You may not want to break the switches off your keyboard.  

Soldering Tools or Switch Puller

A soldering iron
A soldering iron

This is the tricky part. You may want to check whether your keyboard switches are soldered to the PCB or not. If not, you can easily remove them using a switch puller. On the flip side, you may need a soldering iron to remove the switches from the PCB assembly. Once you apply the lube, you can solder the switches back to the PCB.

Please note that desoldering and soldering the switches back can be tricky. You must solder the right points to avoid problems with your keyboard's functioning.

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Nobody likes to get their hands sticky with the lube. To avoid getting in contact, you must have a pair of tweezers to pick up the minor components of the switch. The tweezers may also come in handy while placing the keys back. 

Clean Workstation 

On top of everything, you must have a clean workstation to lube keyboard switches. Many users overlook the importance of a clean working space while using lube for switches. If you work on a dusty surface, the dust may come in contact with the lube applied on the switches, leading to a clogged operation.

An ideal workspace to lube your switches is a wide space with drawers to keep the small components when disassembled. 

Anatomy of a Switch

Inside gateron brown switch
Inside gateron brown switch
  • Spring and Switch: A typical mechanical keyboard switch consists of a spring and a switch. A user needs to apply force on the keys to initiate actuation. The force required for actuation may vary for different switch types.
  • Plate: Underneath the switches, you can find a plate to hold the switches in place. The plate also plays an influential role in aligning the switches with the PCB.
  • PCB: The plate (holding the switches) sets above the PCB of the keyboard. PCBs or printed circuit boards are common in compact devices to regulate voltage function. For accurate functioning of the keyboard, it is vital to connect the keyboard switches to the PCB assembly. 
  • Upper Housing: A plastic top covers each switch to make it functional. You may also refer to them as keycaps. The keycaps allow users to operate different switches on the keyboard efficiently.

All these components combine to make a mechanical keyboard switch. You can also find the anatomy of a mechanical keyboard by searching online. 

9 Steps to Lube Your Switches

Here are the nine easy steps to lube your mechanical switches correctly. 

Remove the Switches from Your Keyboard 

How to lube your switches
Removing the keyboard switches

In the first step, you need to remove the switches from the keyboard top. You may use a pair of tweezers to take off the switch tops. 

Pull Apart the Switch

Removing a keyboards switch
Removing a keyboards switch

Once you remove the top, you can pull the switch apart from the cap using a switch opener. You must apply a gentle force to separate the two components. 

Lubricate the Lower Housing

Lubricate the lower housing
Applying lube on the switches

Apply the lube inside the lower housing gently. You may want to avoid lube contact with the metal to save your switch from damage. 

Lubricate the Spring

Lubricating the spring
Lubricating the spring

After applying lubricant to the inside of the lower housing, you can move on to lubricating the spring. Lubricate by putting a few drops on the surface and bottom of the spring, then use a brush to spread evenly all over the spring to ensure it operates at its best.

If you are lubricating a large number of springs then follow the method below instead of lubricating each one individually.

  • Take a plastic bag and put all the springs that need to be lubricated into it
  • Add an appropriate amount of lubricant, about 20 - 30 drops is enough
  • Tie the bag closed but leave some air inside
  • Shake the springs well (about 1 minute) until they are evenly coated with lubricant
  • Open the bag and separate the stuck springs
*Note: Because the function of the key depends on the spring, you must do it gently and use enough force to avoid breaking the spring.

Lubricating the Stem 

Lubricating the stem
Lubricating the stem

In this step, you can apply lube to the stem of the switch. You can use your paintbrush to apply lube on the rails and stem legs. It is important to remember that tactile switches may lose their tactical bump if you apply the lube on the legs. However, other switch types are relatively safer to lube in this regard. 

Lubricate the Upper Housing

Lubricate the upper housing
Lubricating the upper housing

You may apply the lube to the section where the stem comes in contact with the upper housing. By using a gentle force, you can apply the lube with precision.

Reassemble the Switch

Reassembling the switch
Reassembling the switch

After lubricating different parts of the switch, you can reassemble the switch. While doing so, you must be careful about bending the crosspoint contacts. One of the best ways is to make a video while removing the switches to remember how to fit it back the same way. Once the upper housing and lower housings snap together, you are good to go.

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Reinstall the Switches Onto the Keyboard

Reinstalling keys on the keyboard
Reinstalling keys on the keyboard

You can reinstall the switches on your keyboard by pressing them or soldering them in position, depending on their type.

Plug In Keyboard and Test Your Switches

You may wait a few minutes before connecting your keyboard to your computer. Once connected, you can check all the keys to test their performance.

Plugging in a keyboard
Plugging in a keyboard

Common Issues With Newly Lubricated Switches

Reassembling the switches may be a sigh of relief for you. However, there are a few issues that you may face in the post-lubrication phase.

Mushy Keys

Apply too much lube to the switches
Apply too much lube to the switches

Mushy keys can result from applying too much lube to the switches. You can take the mushy keys off and wipe the excess lube to resolve the issue.

Reduced Tactility

Tactile switches may lose their tactility after lubrication. You can wipe off the lube from the stem's legs and rails to restore the tactility of your tactile switches. 

No Key Response

If one or more keys fail to actuate, you may risk damaging your PCB. You may replace one of the function keys with the faulty ones to check if it actuates. If yes, your PCB is safe. You may check the pins to straighten them. Generally, setting the pins right resolves the problem.   

Reduced Smoothness

Lost the smoothness? You might have missed some areas while lubing the switches. In such cases, removing the keys and applying the lube again can increase the smoothness of your switches. 

How to Lube Switches Without Desoldering? 

You CAN completely lubricate the switches without removing the solder joints. This method is often called "band-aid mod". While not quite as effective as removing all the switches from the keyboard, this method is still worth doing for maintenance purposes.

The Push-Stem Technique 

Although no method can provide as good an experience as removing switches for lubrication, the Push-Stem technique is worth a try. Although only about 70% effective, this lubrication method is less technical than removing the switches from the PCB and reduces the risk of damaging them. Therefore, the Push-Stem method is the optimal choice for those who do not know how to handle solder joints or do not want to remove the switches.

  • Step 1: Use keycap puller to remove the keycap from the keyboard
  • Step 2: Use a small brush, apply a thin layer of lubricant onto the switch surface
  • Step 3: Use tweezers to press the stem and then use a brush to apply or drop 1 - 2 drops directly so the lubricant can reach the interior parts of the switch such as sliders, contact points...
  • Step 4: Press the switches to make sure they still operate properly. If there are any problems, you can readjust the amount of lubricant.
  • Step 5: Place the keycap back on the switch and wipe off any excess lubricant.

The Spray Lube Method 

The lubricating spray method is a popular and effective method for lubricating switches on mechanical keyboards without removing solder joints. However, this method is a bit messy because you need to remove all keycaps from the keyboard.

  • Step 1: Remove all keycaps and place them in a box or tray to avoid loss.
  • Step 2: Press the switch down so the lubricant can reach the gap between the switch parts.
  • Step 3: Aim the spray tube at the position that needs lubrication, press 1-2 times to ensure the lubricant is evenly distributed.
  • Step 4: Press the switches and check to see if the switches are working as expected. If not, spray a little more lubricant.
  • Step 5: Use Isopropyl alcohol to remove excess and reinstall the keycaps.

Where to Get Switches Pre-Lubed?

Finding pre-lubed switches can be frustrating. Most manufacturers sell mechanical switches without pre-lubing. You may want to lube them yourself. While this may be true, some brands, including Gateron and Cherry, offer pre-lubed mechanical switches. 

You can check their websites to find your desired mechanical keyboard with pre-lubed switches. 

Should You Lube Your Switches? 

Lubricate the switches

Switch lubrication can bring your keyboard experience to the next level. That's why some people choose to do it. Here are the key benefits that make people choose to lubricate their switches:

  • Smoothness: Lubricant reduces friction between the switch's moving parts, making keystrokes smoother. This can make typing more pleasant and improve overall typing speed and accuracy.
  • Reduced friction: Lubricants can help reduce the resistance encountered when pressing keys, making key changes easier and smoother.
  • Sound reduction: Lubricants can reduce or modify the sound made by the switch, providing a quieter typing experience. This can be especially useful for people who prefer softer and less harsh sounds.
  • Reduce vibration: Properly lubricated switches help reduce the sway of the switch body, making key presses more stable. From there, it brings significant improvement to the gaming experience.
  • Customization: Lubing allows the typing experience to be customized to suit personal preferences, from a light and smooth feel to tactile feedback
  • Enhanced durability: Lubrication also allows for reduced switch wear, thereby increasing their durability and longevity.

While lubricating switches can enhance the typing experience, it should be noted that this requires precision and patience, and not everyone has the tools or expertise to do it properly. Therefore, choose the appropriate type of lubricant and method to avoid errors. If you are not sure, ask someone with knowledge and experience in this field.

Switches Brand That You Should Avoid Lubing

Let's get this right. The point behind lubing keyboard switches is to ensure their smooth functioning. While you can lube most switch brands easily, there are a few ones that may cause trouble.

Kailh BOX switches can land you in bigger problems when lubed. The brand designs a keyboard with a unique architecture for keys. You may not be able to unclip them for lubing. Moreover, if you try to lube the switches without unclipping them, the BOX switches may damage the PCB of the keyboard.

It is vital to check the suitability of lubing switches while buying a new mechanical keyboard. You may only go for those brands with easy unclipping keys.


If you want to find out how to lube keyboard switches, we have mentioned all the details above to help you choose the right lube and apply it. How often you lube keyboard switches depends on your usage. While this may be correct, It is vital to lube switches for proper functioning over the years. 


How long does the lube last in switches? 

Typically, the lube wears off after a year or two, depending on your keyboard usage. If you use your keyboard quite frequently, you may re-lube the switches after six to seven months. 

How often should you lubricate your switches? 

How often you should lubricate your switches depends on your keyboard usage. If you are a moderate user, you may want to re-lube the keys after a year or two. Frequent users may re-lube the switches after six to seven months. 

What kind of switches should I lube? 

Using the recommended lube for each type, you can lube tactical, clicky, and linear switches. 

Do I need to lube my switches? 

Yes, lubing your switches can reduce the friction and sound of your mechanical keyboard. The lube also saves your switches from early degrading. 

What tools do you need to lubricate your switches? 

You need a lubricant, small paintbrush, switch opener, soldering iron, tweezers, and a clean workstation to lube your mechanical switches. 

Should I lube clicky switches?

Do I lube clicky switches? The answer to this question is yes. You may lube your clicky switches using the recommended lube type.