Lubing your keyboard can make your typing and gaming experience a lot smoother, and more satisfying. However due to the extent to which we use our keyboards; this can allow the lube to wear off the keys making a noticeable difference and an increase of scratchiness when typing.
This gives us the question. How often should you re-apply lube to your mechanical keyboard?
Heavy keyboard users who type or game for multiple hours a day will start to feel the lube wearing off around 6 months after the last lube application. People who are average keyboard users can notice the lube wearing off at around 1 – 2 years depending on how much they use their keyboard.
Lube re-application strongly depends on how much you type on your keyboard each day and the amount of scratchiness you experience when typing.
I would recommend that people who use linear switches re-lube their keyboards more frequently than people who use clicky or tactile switches as the lube makes a more noticeable difference for people who use linear switches.
From personal experience, I have found that the main keyboard I use for gaming usually needs to be lubed every 6-8 months in order to get the optimal benefit from the keyboard lube.
When I don’t re-apply lube to my keyboard after this time frame I start to notice the difference in scratchiness from my W, A, S, D, Z, and X keys, which are the keys on my keyboard that I use most frequently when gaming compared to all the other keys on my keyboard.
Once I start to feel this unbalance in my keyboard is when I decide to re-lube these keys on my keyboard.
You should also note that I use linear switches on this specific keyboard, where the non-lubed keys are much more noticeable.
How Often Should You Re-Lube Tactile Switches?
The second keyboard I use is a tactile keyboard which I’ve been using for a little over a year, and I mostly use it to type articles like this one.
So, far I have not noticed much of a difference from when I first lubed this keyboard, as it is not my main keyboard, and it is a tactile switch.
With tactile switches, it can be a lot harder to determine when to re-lube them because the lubricant is a lot less noticeable in these types of switches because of the tactile bump, which takes away from the smooth feeling that lube is supposed to provide you.
Therefore, you really shouldn’t have the need to re-apply lube to a tactile keyboard for a few years unless you are typing on it very often every day, or like a specific feel, the lube provides to your tactility.
For me personally, I never apply lube to the tactile part of the switch, but some people like a smoother tactile bump when they type.
If you are one of these people then you will need to re-lube your keyboard more frequently in order to get that same smooth tactile feel that lube provides.
How Long Does Krytox Last?
Typically, users who lube their keyboard are most likely to go with Krytox 205G0 as their main lubricant to their keyboard because it is a very durable and very smooth lube that works well with mechanical keyboards.
If you are worried about the shelf life of your Krytox lube there is no need to worry because the shelf life of Krytox lube can last over 20 years untouched, so if you decided to buy a larger container of Krytox so that can use it for future builds there is no rush.
On the other hand, Krytox that is already applied to your keyboard can last anywhere from 6 months to a couple of years depending on how much you type on your keyboard.
Although, after some time you will start to notice that your Krytox lube is starting to wear off your keyboard switches, even though this difference is noticeable, the remaining lube will stay on there for a few year’s time.
If this is not an issue you won’t have to re-lube your keyboard, but if you are really bothered by this difference then it is worth considering re-applying some Krytox lube to your keyboard.
Does Lubing Your Keyboard Do Anything?
Lubing your keyboard is the most common modification you can do to your keyboard and is probably the first thing you should do if you want you to want to get the most benefit out of your mechanical keyboard.
You can notice a significant difference when you first upgrade from a rubber membrane keyboard to a new mechanical keyboard.
Instantly, you can feel how much smoother, and how much more satisfying a mechanical keyboard is compared to the basic membrane keyboard, but sometimes you want to feel the full effects of owning one of these mechanical keyboards and the best way to get these effects is by lubing your keyboard.
With a stock mechanical keyboard, you are bound to feel some scratchiness in the keys, what lubing your keyboard does is get rid of the scratchiness for a smoother typing experience.
You might also experience a pinging sound in your springs, or a raddle in your keyboard stabilizers, a quick fix to this is by using lube on the springs and stabilizers so you can get rid of that unnecessary typing noise.
With that being said maybe you don’t mind the scratchiness in your keyboard, or you have very stable stabilizers that don’t raddle, and your springs aren’t making a pinging noise just yet, but you heard the sound of your favorite streamer or YouTubers keyboard, and you’re wondering how their keyboard is making that majestic “thocky” noise that you want your keyboard to sound like.
Well, let me tell you something. It is more likely than not that they are using lube in order to get the “thock” or “clack” noise that you so desperately want out of your mechanical keyboard.
The difference in sound between a stock mechanical keyboard and one that’s lubed can make a big difference and a lubed keyboard can sound so much better.
If you want to see an example, here is a video of me typing with lubed tealios switches, which are linear switches, and let me tell you they sound so good when they are fully lubed.
As you can hear in my video when I press a key on my keyboard I get a really low-pitched thock noise that makes my typing experience very satisfying.
For some people, they much more prefer a lighter thock, or even a clack when they type. The sound is a mechanical keyboard can be easily changed depending on what switches you use and how much lube you apply to these switches.
For my linear keyboard, I showed in the video above, I went for a low-pitched thock sound because at the time I really wanted my keyboard to sound and feel that way. In order to make that type of sound with your keyboard, you should apply a little extra lube than normal.
For a lighter thock in your keyboard, you should opt to use less lube, and let the switch do the work.
Here is another video, I made another mechanical keyboard that focuses on being more clacky, than thocky.
As you can see in this video my keyboard sounds a lot more clacky than the previous one. If you are looking to have a more clacky feel and sound to your mechanical keyboard I would recommend using tactile switches, only lubing them on the base of the switch avoiding the tactile bump.
This will allow for a smoother sounding feel and a clack when the switch runs over the tactile bump, keeping the tactility of your keyboard, but making it sound good at the same time.
Another benefit you can get from lubing your mechanical keyboard is that it will give you the ability to type a little bit faster.
Although, it is not a significant typing difference lubing your keyboard will smooth out your switches allowing you to press the keys a little bit faster than a non-lubed mechanical keyboard.
If you are just switching over to a mechanical keyboard for the first time it will probably be harder to experience these benefits because you are not yet used to the feel of a mechanical keyboard.
Once you get used to the feel of a mechanical keyboard, however, you will start to feel the benefits especially if you lubed the keyboard.
Here I have written an article that talks about how long it takes to get used to your mechanical keyboard.
How Long Does it Take to Lube Keyboard Switches?
The average time it takes to lube a single switch in a mechanical keyboard is about 3 minutes, however, you can bring this time down by spending a little extra money on some tools that will help you lube your keyboard much faster.
Tools You Can Use to Help You Lube Your Keyboard
There a many tools you can use to help you lube your keyboard, but here is a list of a few that I use and would recommend you use in order to make your life a whole lot easier when lubing your mechanical keyboard switches.
- Small brush/lubing brush
- Switches opener
- Switch holder
- Clean workspace
- Hotswappable Keyboard
1. Use a Small brush/Lubing Brush
The first thing you can use to help you lube your keyboard faster is using a small fine tip brush to lube your keyboard.
Using a smaller brush to lube your keyboard usually around 5mm will allow you to get a more accurate and even application of lube onto your switch.
If you are using a bigger brush then you are more likely to have an uneven coat of lube that you can feel once you start typing.
It is best to use a smaller brush so you can focus on smaller areas where you want a bigger or smaller coating of lube, and this also helps you make less of a mess when lubing your keyboard switches.
2. Switch Openers
Switch openers are probably the most helpful tool on this list, and if you don’t want to spend much money to buy lubing tools, I would recommend at least buying a budget switch opener because it will save you a ton of time.
Switch openers are made to open your switches. To use them just get your mechanical switch and press it down on the opener, after a couple of seconds your switch will be opened for you and ready to lube.
As you can see this can save you a ton of time.
People who are not using a switch opener will have to opt for a flathead screwdriver.
This is the mistake I made when I lubed my first mechanical keyboard because using a flathead screwdriver to open my switches cost me a ton of time.
The reason for this is that you have to dig the screwdriver into the little slot on the key switches and open up both sides.
This usually takes a couple of tries to get it right, and if you’re not gentle enough you will bend the little slot on the switch either breaking the switch or loosening it up.
Not only will this take a lot of time, but expect to get a few minor cuts when using this method because I can tell you that when I was finished using this method my fingers were all beaten up.
3. Switch Holders
Next, is using switch holders to keep track of your switches when you are lubing and finished lubing them.
A good switch holder will have a spot for every component inside the mechanical switch, that way you can sort your springs, stems, and body to keep you organized.
This will help speed up the lubing process because it will help keep you organized when lubing your keyboard.
4. Have a Clean Workspace
Having a clean workspace will also help you be more organized when lubing your mechanical keyboard, and will give you space to sort and lube your mechanical switches.
5 Using a Hotswappable Keyboard PCB
Lastly, I would recommend buying a hot-swappable PCB for your mechanical keyboard especially if you’re thinking of lubing the switches because it allows you to insert your switches much faster in your mechanical keyboard.
This will save you a bunch of time and money if you don’t already own a soldering iron.
Especially if you’re lubing an already built keyboard having a hot-swappable keyboard will save you a ton of time because you don’t have to go through the hassle of de-soldering and soldering your keyboard switches on and off your keyboard as you lube them.
What is The Best Lube for Your Keyboard?
There are so many different types of lube you can use to lube your mechanical keyboard ranging from dielectric grease to Krytox 205G0, Olive oil, and Krytox 105.
The variety of different lubes can make it hard to choose which one is best for your keyboard build, and in all actuality, there is no “best lube” to use for your keyboard because it all comes down to personal preference.
However, if you are new to the keyboard scene there are some recommendations that most keyboard enthusiasts will tell you to use when lubing your keyboard.
Best Keyboard Lube For Linear Switches
The best lube to use for linear switches is Krytox 205G0, this is by far the most hyped up and recommended lube to use for lubing your mechanical keyboard, and it is for a good reason.
Krytox 205G0 is a thicker lube with a high viscosity. This is great for linear switches because you are trying to have the smoothest click possible and this lube helps you do just that.
Due to the thickness of Krytox 205G0, it will also provide a nice thocky sound when you are typing.
Best Keyboard Lube for Tactile Switches
The best lube for tactile switches is Krytox 105, as this is still a really good lube, but less thick than its counterpart Krytox 205G0.
This is essential for tactile switches because you want to keep the tactility in the switch and using a really thick lube will take away that tactile feel,
Krytox 105 still provides that Luby feel you get when you type with your keyboard, but it doesn’t get rid of that tactile feel you want inside a tactile switch.
Best Lube For Stabilizers
The best lube to use for keyboard stabilizers is dielectric grease. This is because dielectric grease is really thick and will get rid of the feel of unstable stabilizers.
Also, because it is very thick it won’t rub off as fast as other types of lube, which is essential for stabilizers because lube tends to rub off faster on them.
Can You Use WD40 to Lube Your Keyboard?
You should not lube your mechanical keyboard with WD40 because after a few weeks it will start to dry out and will stop providing a lubricated feel to your mechanical keyboard.
It will also leave a dried-out residue that will scratch the inside body of your keyboard switches and could damage your switches.
Can You Lube Your Keyboard With Vaseline?
If you lube your keyboard with vaseline it will slowly start eating away at your keyboard switches because vaseline is made from petroleum jelly that starts to eat away at certain plastics that are used inside of your keyboard.
Can You Lube Your Keyboard With Olive Oil?
You cannot lube your keyboard with olive oil because it is very thick and will clog your switches after a few weeks.