Problems with cleaning my UHK


I am cleaning my UHK roughly every 8 - 12 weeks by removing all key caps blowing all dust and hair out and cleaning my key caps with soapwater and a sponge.

However on some of my key caps there is a tiny layer of dirt which I can scratch with my fingernail (and a lot of force) but will not go away by soapwater.

Here is a picture after the cleaning process with soapwater (for some reason this layer turns white after it)

When I use Isopropanol after it, it gets better:

But I can not get them 100% clean.

As for cleaning the palm rest, I have a similar issue but I only used soapwater (no Isopropanol) and I guess I should follow this guide: Palm rest refurbishment guide - Ultimate Hacking Keyboard by polising it and add a new layer of lacquer.
However I was wondering what lacquer to use (or maybe some wood oil is better?) to get a more robust skin for my palm rests.

Lacquer is much more robust, but you loose the wooden feeling. I much prefer hard (wax) oils on all wooden surfaces in the house – especially when you touch the wood. You need to reapply the oil from time to time (every year or less, depending on the usage), but is not much work. The oiled wood looks and feels much nicer IMO. Another advantage is that dents and scratches can easier, often partially, be fixed. This is normally not an option with lacquer. Which oil to choose is a matter of preference. I have mostly used Leinos Hartwachsöl and recently tried Danish Oil. Not sure yet what I like better. They need to be applied differently although.

All that said, some prefer lacquer.

1, Basically, when we use soft soap to clean the keycaps, this coating will not be removed. So using some engine oil or sticky lubricant (with soft fabric) to wipe the keycaps can probably make them look new again.
2, As for cleaning the palm rest, the manufacturer of the wooden parts suggests car spray: lacquer spray that is normally used for cars.

thank you both, I will give it a try

Oh, your photo reminds me the days I ruined mine…

I soaked them in a soap water for a few hours and washed with a water. That white residue came up. So I repeated the process and it got even more contrast. I tried a toothbrush. I used an IPA solution and an ultrasonic bath, but every time I washed the keys the white residue just got… whiter and brighter. As the last resort I tried some dental liquid in an ultrasonic bath, and after that (that was like 5th washing or even more) the keys got even worse.

I ordered a new set. Now I am not sure how to clean them, and the date approaches.

Thanks a lot for the pictures and warning.
For me, this is a quality problem and not even close to a “you-problem”.

I’m sixty years old by now, and mechanical keyboards are my obsession/fetish for thirty years.
I do own about 100 keycapsets of all given profiles and materials in existence, GMK, Signature Plastics (aka Pimpmykeyboard), Realforce, HHKB and on and on, and this shouldn’t happen at all with quality keycaps!

Being a member of all bigger (English/German speaking) communities of mks, I can’t even remember to have seen something like that before and this is something to have talked about with the manufacturer to avoid that, even more for the money asked for the keycapsets.

I’ve had a bad experience with my original keycapset too.
Support was topnotch, fast and generous!

Even though I do understand, small company, lower batches of production/keycaps asked, higher prices, the keycaps given are overpriced and don’t match the outstanding quality of the UHK at all!

Have a nice Sunday.

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I’m sorry for your bad experience. We’ll look to the bottom of this issue and follow up.

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In the meantime, we’ve tried to reproduce this issue with soap unsuccessfully, and we left the keycaps in soapy water for days.

We’ve talked to our supplier, and they said that this issue shouldn’t happen when using regular soap with a soft fabric. We think that the sponges used are too abrasive and damaged the keycaps.

Everyone affected, would you please try Nora’s earlier suggestion? :

Using some engine oil or sticky lubricant (with soft fabric) to wipe the keycaps can probably make them look new again.

I have cleaned my original keycaps from the first production run (smooth plastic without the grippy texture) by soaking them in dish soap for a few hours, rinsing thoroughly in a colander (spaghetti strainer), towelling them mostly dry with a dish towel, putting them into a mesh bag, and blow-drying them with the same blower I use to clean the hair/dust away. I have not had this problem after many cleanings.

Do you have the newer textured keycaps? Thanks for the warning.

Do you have the newer textured keycaps?

I’m not sure what you mean. Would you elaborate?