How do u clean / remove lube on switches?

Soooo, I’m going to relube 50 Helios and I want to remove the old lube completely.

My plan ATM is to just open them up and put in a jar of isopropanol and give it a shake, thoughts on that?

Speaking from personal knowledge, based on facts as far as I know, I think you should be aware that prolonged exposure to isopropanol especially of the plastic parts can cause crazing or stiffening depending on the plastic.
I think it’s better to grease up those elbows and clean the housing with a Q-tip and a rag with alcohol and the stems and springs by tossing them around in a jar of the alcohol.

The stems are a solid piece of plastic so the phenomenon wouldn’t appear if you left them in the alcohol for even 30 mins or much longer than that, which you don’t really need to do.
The housing however can be pretty thin at some places, plus the prongs of the top housing which hold the bottom housing aren’t something you want to get stiffened.

Confirmed this as well. Best to clean housing manually.


I’d say this plan is overall fine, but depends on what parts you lubed. It might be best to skip the housings, I’ve found on Gateron transparent housings, you can sometimes get a white haze that’s stupid hard to wipe off(I would assume that this would happen with other transparent housings as well). Switch will still work though.

Best bet would an ultrasonic cleaner or like Kasuka said, just plain old elbow grease.

ooo good tip, I didn’t know stiffening could occur.

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Probably a good job for a ultrasonic cleaner and some mild dish soap.

Hmm, there is a ultrasonic cleaner on sale for ~50$@ the hardware store here in town. :thinking:

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Allright, let’s see if this works. :grimacing:

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Waiting… :yum:

Well after 6min springs were clean but I could feel the lube on the stems still so I started another run.

But it definitely cleaned something out. :grimacing:


Hmm, I don’t know. I’m not impressed with the ultrasound cleaner. U really need to dry them afterwards to. (that’s why I wanted to use isopropanol)

One concerning thing is that a couple of leaf fell out, I don’t know if it was due to drying or the ultrasound tho… :grimacing:

But they are pretty clean now though I had to run the stems a 3rd time.

BTW, did u mix up isopropanol (cleaning PCB’s) with isopropyl (cleaning wounds)?

Nope…Isopropyl is safe, just leaves a whitish hue.
Isopropanol (rubbing alcohol) stiffens and corrupts :slight_smile:

I agree with elbow grease, fluoridated oils aren’t going to dissolve well in aqueous cleaning solutions. Definitely wiping off all excess before sonicating would be best.

Kasuka, isopropyl alcohol and isopropanol are names for the same chemical - when you say isopropyl, do you mean ~70% isopropanol in water (which is what you buy for wound cleaning in the US)? I’m surprised they react differently to keyboard plastics, but I’ve only ever used the 70% for cleaning and that’s never clouded anything for me.

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Oh I agree with you… The IUPAC name for it is Propan-2-ol
However, the properties do differ slightly between the concentrations.
Which is why 75% variant is a better disinfectant than 99% :slight_smile:

It sounded like you were saying pure IPA was less bad on plastics than the one with water in it, which didn’t make sense to me. The IPA I use is 91% in water (“rubbing alcohol”) and I’ve never seen it affect stems. I happen to be a chemist with access to 100% but have never seen the need to try.

Interestingly, this chart says Ethanol doesn’t affect nylon like isopropyl does. Nylon Chemical Compatibility Chart might be worth a shot. I’m not sure how much I trust that, as they also list “good” compatibility between ethanol and polycarbonate, and EtOH is known to crack PC. This is a common mistake in some DNA isolation protocols, people use expensive PC centrifuge tubes and ruin them!

But I’m 100% with you that I wouldn’t immerse housings or stems in alcohol in the first place, I’d just wipe them, maybe with some alcohol on a cloth so it dries immediately.


Oh I surely never meant that effects would be too extreme, it’s just that we know how much the tolerances matter and slight deviations could ruin your perfect switch :slight_smile:
I have seen 7 PC centrifuge tubes be ruined at the same time… :joy:
Cause ‘it’s an alcohol too right?’

Oh also, I wasn’t really worried about stems… But the housing. Especially the relatively thin legs on the top housing that grip the bottom housing.