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Cleaning off factory lube

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What do you guys use to clean factory lube from switches.  Sometimes switches will come inconsistently lubed or with a grease that is too thick and you will want to re-lube them yourself.  I have found that Ronsonol lighter fluid does an amazing job at breaking down most oils and grease.  Soak the parts for a bit and scrub with a toothbrush.  Is there go-to method used in the keyboard hobby? I have never heard it mentioned actually.

You can use isopropyl alcohol and a q-tip to clean off most of the lube decently, if you do then you should be careful around the leaf. 

If you don't feel comfortable using alcohol, warm water and some soap could work pretty well (Water on it's own wont be very good at cleaning off lube because of polar and nonpolar reaction. So you'll have to add soap).

Another method I've seen a lot of people use is an ultrasonic cleaner, now this might be overkill but if you have access to one it's worth a shot.

If it's silicone, which most is, have fun. Silicone does not clean up easily. You can use alcohol, whatever, truth is you won't really get it completely clean. It may look clean, it may feel clean to the touch but it is not clean and if you happen to use a lube that is incompatible all that work will be for nothing.

More important,
Pome says use q-tips, stop and think about this for a minute, how long it will take to properly clean a switch this way, now multiply that times however many switches, and you still need to lube them when done. Most people YOLO it but if you really want to do this you can buy small ultra sonic cleaners for about $40 which will do it better, faster and a whole lot easier and it would be WELL worth the money rather than trying to clean them by hand.

To clean oil/grease  from a bulk amount of switches, stems, or non-keyboard related items I've used an ultrasonic cleaner successfully.  You also add a small amount of Dawn dish soap.  Besides helping to lift oil and grease, the soap actually allows the the sonic waves to better penetrate the water and get to the nooks and crannies.   I do highly recommend using lighter fluid as a cleaner- just don't put it in the ultrasonic cleaner  :p

Lighter fluid is petroleum based and will cause micro fractures, soften plastic and more depending on the plastic, ABS in particular can react to it at a micro level.

Another concern is POM, it will do similar in hot water, so be careful with temps in a cleaner.


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