Keyboard: Cleaning under keys

I somehow got something under my arrow keys that is causing it to stick. From what I can tell removing the keys isn’t an easy task, as getting them back on it difficult without the proper experience. Does anyone know if this is true, or if it would be safe to power the laptop off and fire some rubbing alcohol under there?

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You’re correct, the keycaps aren’t designed to be removed. However a handful of people have had success with it, so it should be possible with some care.


I take no responsibility if your keyboard doesn’t snap together as nicely as it came apart… I never did get all the juice out. A single key though, should be no problem

For the larger keys, there are one or more stabilizers. Make sure you go in on the side of the key with the Framework Spudger (the back side of the driver) and unhook the metal bars from the top and bottom clips (the space bar has 3 clips on each side).

While you’re doing that, be cognizant of the butterfly scissor things, they’re very delicate and like to pop out of place. If that happens, make sure it doesn’t happen. I broke both of the scissors on the spacebar, and have to order a new keyboard. At least shipping is super fast!


Hi @Brian_Hellman. If you want to clean your keyboard, we highly recommend following our step-by-step guide on how to open the laptop and remove the keyboard through this link: Keyboard Replacement Guide - Framework Guides

Thank you and stay safe!


Hey @Val thanks for the posts. I need to clean under my spacebar - that juice…!

You say “Make sure you go in on the side of the key” - which side? In the gif shown on the clear keyboard post they go in from the screen side.

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@artfulrobot I actually wouldn’t recommend going in from any direction; getting the keys back on once they’re off is a nightmare in and of itself.

I meant the right side, though. On most of the keys they should pop off well enough. The clips are on the top and bottom, and your one and only goal is to make absolutely sure the butterfly mechanism doesn’t come apart. The hinges are so fragile, it’s hard to get back together without breaking them irreparably.


If one does take the big risk to remove a key-cap,
& the cap is damaged & absolutely can’t be fitted back onto the top of the now-naked key-post,

isn’t it probable that the key-post will still work?

(That assumes that:

  • The fingertip presses down well on the key-post,
  • The dust or other blockage has been removed from the key-post.
  • The user seeks to avoid the downsides of the alternative approaches, i.e opening the entire keyboard for cleaning, or buying a replacement Input Cover that contains an entire replacement keyboard.

Today, I removed 14 of my keycaps to clean and put them back without breaking a single one. It requires a lot of precision and patience, but it’s doable. I did it because I spilled a Coke on the keyboard, and it was hard to press, and cleaning it with a can of isopropyl alcohol from the outside did not help. Removing the keyboard from the laptop also didn’t fix my problem since it’s not possible to clean it even when removed without removing keycaps

Here are a few tips for others who want to do the same:

  1. It’s recommended to remove the keyboard from the laptop before doing this, otherwise, the aluminum body makes work more difficult
  2. To remove a key:
    1. Slightly lift a keycap on the top side
    2. Find a place where the keycap connects to the butterfly mechanism (it looks like a tiny Lego hand)
    3. Put the handle of the framework screwdriver (or something else thin) as near to this place as possible
    4. Gently apply pressure between the keycap and butterfly mechanism to separate the keycap. It should come out easily
    5. If there is any metal reinforcement in the button remove it the same way (it’s typical for large buttons, usually on both button and top)
    6. After all top couplings are removed, carefully move the keycap in the direction of the touchpad to disconnect the bottom couplings
  3. To put a key back:
    1. Slightly lift a butterfly mechanism
    2. Carefully place the keycap on top with a movement in the direction towards the touchbar. Make sure bottom couplings are connected to the keycap
    3. Slowly press down the keycap to connect the top couplings, and make sure the bottom couplings stay connected
    4. If the button has metal reinforcement it’s convenient to put it a bit up towards the screen before putting on the keycap