How to remove keycaps? Quick & Easy step-by-step guide

  • Keycaps 101
  • Posted by: carson-rutz
  • Jun 12, 2022

Are your keyboard switches not working properly? Is it time to get rid of those keycaps for good? Cleaning mechanical keyboards or testing your keyboard switches is a breeze when you know how to remove your keycaps.

That's why we're here to help you with a full guide on how to remove keycaps without tool.

This detailed guide helps you save your time and make this difficult task much easier! Continue reading to learn about each type of keyboard and how to take keycaps off without tool?

How to remove mechanical keyboard keycaps?

You can adhere to these methods to remove the keycaps from a mechanical keyboard:

Step 1: Gather the necessary tools for keycap removal

The necessary tools for keycap removal
the necessary tools for keycap removal

What do you need to remove mechanical keyboard keys?

Pulling Tools
  • A rounded keycap puller (preferred)
  • A stainless-steel wire keycap puller (preferred)
  • Plastic keycap puller
  • DIY keycap puller
  • Metal Keycap Puller
  • Your fingers
Cleaning Supplies
  • Cleaning solution (optional)
  • Soft cloth or brush
  • Dust Blower
  • Tweezers
  • Compressed Air Can
  • Dental Pick
  • Lubricant
  • Anti-static Gloves

An effective tool for removing keycaps from mechanical keyboards is a keycap puller. It often has little loops on both ends and is constructed of wire or plastic. If you don't have a keycap puller, you may remove the keycap by using a tiny, flat instrument, such as a flathead screwdriver, but you must be extremely careful not to harm the keycap or the switch.

Step 2: Turn off your computer and unplug your keyboard

It's imperative to shut down your computer or at the very least detach the keyboard before you begin removing keycaps. This maintains safety and stops unintentional key presses or system outages.

Step 3: Gently remove keycaps with your puller

Identify the type of keycap mounting to ensure proper removal technique (e.g., Cherry MX, Topre, etc.)

Choose the appropriate method for removing the keycaps based on the mounting type.

How to remove keycaps
remove keycaps with puller

Place the loops of the keycap puller around the sides of the keycap you need to remove. Lift the keycap away from the switch's stem with a little upward pressure. Avoid using too much force while removing the keycaps from mechanical keyboards.

If using a keycap puller, position it properly on the keycap and ensure a secure grip before gently pulling it off. Avoid pulling at an angle that could cause the keycap or switch to twist.

If you’re having trouble removing a keycap, try wiggling it back and forth gently while pulling up on it.

Be patient and take your time when removing keycaps without a tool!

Step 4: Repeat for other keycaps

For any more keycaps you wish to remove, use the same procedure.

Step 5: Clean the keycaps and the keyboards

If you don't know how to clean your keyboard and keycaps, this video will guide you step-by-step in detail on the steps and necessary tools to clean your keyboard.

You have to clean the exposed switches on the keyboard after removing the keycaps. In order to clean the keycaps, you can use isopropyl alcohol or a mild soap solution. Remember to completely dry them before reattaching them.

Step 6: Reinstall keycaps carefully

Aligning each keycap over the switch stem, you must then firmly press down until you hear or feel it snap into place to reinstall the keycaps. Ensure that there are no alignment issues and that the keycap is correctly positioned.

Tips for Safe Keycap Removal

Learning the skill of safe keycap removal is crucial if you want to customize or fully clean your mechanical keyboard. We have put up a thorough guide below with useful advice for safe keycap removal to assist you in navigating this procedure with ease. 

Use the right tools

Use a keycap puller or a suitable tool specifically designed for keycap removal to minimize the risk of damage.

Be gentle

Apply gentle and even pressure when removing keycaps to avoid bending or breaking them.

Clean your hands

Before removing keycaps, ensure that your hands are clean and free from any debris or oils. This helps prevent transferring dirt or stains onto the keycaps.

Wiggle, don't yank

Instead of pulling forcefully, wiggle the keycap gently from side to side while applying upward pressure to detach it from the switch.

Wiggle, don't yank
wiggle, don't yank

Start from the corners

Begin removing keycaps from the corners or edges to minimize the risk of damage to neighboring keys or the switch underneath.

Start from the corners
Start from the corners

Store keycaps safely

As you remove keycaps, place them in a safe and organized container or bag to prevent them from getting lost or damaged.

Store keycaps safely
store keycaps safely

Document the removal process

Consider taking photos or making notes as you remove keycaps, especially if you have a complex or customized keycap layout. This will help you remember the correct placement when reassembling the keyboard.

Remember, each keyboard may have unique characteristics, so adapt these tips to suit your specific keyboard and keycap types. By following these guidelines, you can safely remove keycaps without causing any damage.

When do you need to remove your keyboard keycaps?


Keycaps can accumulate dirt, dust, and debris over time. Removing them allows for a thorough cleaning to maintain the aesthetics and functionality of your keyboard.

In case of a malfunctioning key or a sticky switch, removing the keycaps can provide access to the underlying mechanism for troubleshooting, repair, or maintenance.

Check out this post: How to deep clean your keycaps and mechanical keyboard safely and easily? to get a full guide on how to clean your keycaps.

Switch Modification

Some keyboard aficionados alter the feel or sound of their mechanical switches. In order to reach the switches for lubrication or other adjustments, the keycaps may need to be removed. 

Enhance your typing experience with smooth and responsive mechanical keyboard switches! Learn how to lube your mechanical keyboard switches effectively with this helpful guide. 


If you want to personalize your keyboard by replacing the keycaps with different colors, designs, or materials, you'll need to remove the existing keycaps before installing the new ones.

If you want to unleash your creativity and turn your keyboard into a unique accessory? Then check out this handy guide on how to dye your own keycaps at home.

Upgrading or Swapping

When upgrading to a new keyboard or swapping keycaps between different keyboards, removing the keycaps allows for easy transfer without causing damage.

How to Make a DIY Keycap Puller

Making a DIY keycap puller is a simple and cost-effective solution if you don't have a specialized tool on hand. Here's a step-by-step guide to creating your own keycap puller:

Gather the necessary materials: You'll need a paperclip or a strong length of wire that is about 6 to 8 inches long, pliers (optional), and any gripping material, such as heat-shrink tubing or electrical tape.

Gather the necessary materials
gather the necessary materials

Straighten the Wire: If you're using a paperclip, carefully straighten it out to create a long, straight length of wire. Alternately, if you have a strong length of wire, ensure it is straight and free of any sharp edges.

Bend the Wire: Bend one end of the wire at a 90-degree angle with pliers or your hands to form a little hook. This hook is just big enough to raise and snag the keycap while still being tiny enough to fit below the keycap.

Bend one end of the wire at a 90-degree angle
bend one end of the wire at a 90-degree angle

Add grip (optional): You may add some grip to the handle of your homemade keycap remover by wrapping electrical tape or a piece of heat-shrink tubing around the wire's other end.

Add grip to the handle of the homemade keycap
Add grip to the handle of the homemade keycap

Test the DIY Keycap Puller: Holding the grip, place the hook end beneath a keycap on your mechanical keyboard. To see if the wire can successfully grasp and lift the keycap, gently wiggle and lift it. Make sure that using it is safe and pleasant.

Trim and Smooth: If the wire is excessively long, you may use wire cutters to reduce it to a more manageable length. Additionally, check that all edges are smooth to prevent damaging your keyboard's keycaps or other surfaces.

Remember to exercise caution when using the DIY keycap puller to avoid any accidental damage to the keycaps or keyboard. If you prefer a more professional tool, keycap pullers are readily available for purchase online or at computer accessory stores.

How to remove Laptop Keyboard keycaps?

Removing laptop keyboard keycaps can be a bit different from removing keycaps on mechanical keyboards. Here's a general guide on how to remove laptop keyboard keycaps:

Power off your laptop: Before starting the removal process, make sure your laptop is powered off and disconnected from any power source.

Assess the keycap attachment: Laptop keyboards usually have different mechanisms for keycap attachment, such as scissor switches or rubber domes. Take a look at the keycap and determine the attachment type.

Use a keycap puller or a flat tool: Depending on the attachment type, you may need a keycap puller or a flat tool like a small screwdriver or plastic card. Gently insert the tool under the edges of the keycap.

Remove laptop keycaps with a screwdriver | youtube
remove laptop keycaps 

Apply gentle upward pressure: Once the tool is inserted, apply gentle upward pressure to lift the keycap. Be careful not to apply excessive force, as it can damage the key or the underlying mechanism.

Wiggle and lift: Wiggle the keycap slightly from side to side while lifting it to detach it from the mounting points. Take your time and be patient to avoid any accidental breakage.

Repeat for other keycaps: If you need to remove multiple keycaps, repeat the process for each keycap individually.

Clean and maintain: Once the keycaps are removed, you can clean them separately using a mild cleaning solution and a soft cloth. Clean the exposed keyboard area as well, taking care not to damage any sensitive components.

Remember, laptop keyboards are delicate, so handle them with care. If you're unsure about the removal process or encounter any resistance, it's best to consult the laptop manufacturer's documentation or seek professional assistance.

Laptop Keycaps Mechanical Keyboard  Keycaps
Complexity Relatively Easy Moderate Difficulty
Tool Needed None Keycap Puller
Removal Technique Gentle Prying/Lifting Pulling/Twisting
Potential Damage Risk Low Low to Moderate
Frequency Rarely Occasionally

To make it even easier to imagine how to take out keycaps without tool, we highly recommend you to watch the video below:

Bottom Line

Removing your keycaps is a simple task that anybody can complete! Simply follow the easy guide on how to remove keycaps without tool that is outlined in this article and they'll be removed in the fastest way.

For the best tool, we highly recommend a wire keycap puller. It is the simplest to use and will not damage your keycaps like a plastic one.

Have fun typing!


What are the best tools for removing keycaps?

The best tools for removing keycaps include keycap pullers, which come in wire or plastic/silicone variations, as well as dental picks. These tools provide a secure grip for precise and safe removal of keycaps without causing damage to the keyboard. Keycap pullers are widely available online or at computer accessory stores.

What can I use instead of a keycap puller?

You can carefully wiggle a bent paperclip or safety pin into the spaces surrounding the keycap in order to raise and remove the keycap. Another choice is to carefully tuck the point of a tiny flathead screwdriver under the keycap and pry it up.

Can I remove keycaps by hand?

Keycaps can be removed manually, especially if they are not firmly fastened. Simply apply even pressure, firmly grasp the keycap near its base, and pull upward while gently jiggling it from side to side.

Can I use tweezers to remove keycaps?

It is difficult to use tweezers to remove keycaps.  Tweezers' pointed points have the ability to scratch or harm the keyboard's keycaps. Additionally, if keycaps are firmly connected, tweezers could not offer enough leverage to remove them safely. 

How do I take a key off a keyboard without breaking it?

To remove a key from the keyboard without causing damage, gently lift one side of the key cover using a flathead screwdriver or a small tool like your finger. Rotate the key cover to disengage the opposite side's connection system. If you encounter resistance or difficulty, use a keyboard cover puller or one of the other techniques mentioned to avoid harming the keys or the keyboard.

Can I remove keycaps without the tool?

Yes, you can remove keycaps without a specialized tool by gently wiggling and lifting them or using your fingers, a plastic card, or a small flathead screwdriver to pry them upward. However, be cautious to avoid damaging the keycaps or keyboard.

How to remove keycaps using dental picks?

To remove keycaps using dental picks, gently insert the pointed end under the corner of the keycap and apply upward pressure to lift it from its housing. Move along the edges, repeating the lifting motion to loosen the keycap and pull it off completely.


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