How To Fix a Loose or Tight Keycap

Whether it’s after a thorough cleaning, or while installing some brand new “puddings” — some keycaps don’t immediately fit your switches. Does that mean you can toss them in the bin? Not necessarily. With some slight tweaks, even extremely loose or tight keycaps can still fit snugly. In this article, we’ll tell you all there is to fixing keycaps, the easiest ways possible.

First of all: your keycaps should generally match the stem of your switches. Not to worry: most switches abide by the iconic plus shape that Cherry MX standardized. Even if they’re not necessarily Cherry MX switches, almost all manufacturers use Cherry’s mold as an industry standard. 

In turn, most aftermarket keycap sets are compatible with that exact shape, to keep compatibility high. As long as your intended keycaps and switches are generally compatible, these tips will work fine for you. Let’s get to fixing keycaps, however they may be offset…

How to fix a tight keycap

A keycap that is simply too tight for your stem, is easily recognized. When pressing overly tight keycaps onto their switches, they generate quite some resistance. 

Some stiffness is to be expected, but be sure not to push your keycap through, if you feel like it might be too tight. Damaging a keycap is a minor shame, but ruining your entire switch? You definitely want to avoid that. 

Instead, you’ll want to opt for this easy lifehack. Simply prepare a cup of warm water (60~70º Celsius, or 140~160º Fahrenheit) and submerge any tight keycaps in the liquid. Let the plastic float in there for 5 to 10 minutes, before drying them off, and applying them to the switch — while they’re still warm, of course.

By pushing the keycap onto the stem while it still holds some heat, the mold grants additional wiggle room. Warm plastics “give in” just a tad bit more, loosening the material up. When applied and left to rest for a couple of minutes, the mold will settle around the stem as it cools down. 

That’s all. With a little bit of warmth, you’ll get even the tightest keycaps to fit on your switches.

How to fix a loose keycap

How do you know if your keycap is too loose for your switches? Well, they will slide on just a bit too easy. 

When applying a loose keycap on its respective stem, you will see the plastic wobble around like there’s no tomorrow. Optionally, they even might launch themselves off of the switch after being pressed. Don’t worry: that too, can be fixed easily. 

This “lifehack” is less driven by science, and more by some MacGyver-ing. Simply apply a tiny bit of tape to the top part of the stem — preferably some sort of double-sided tape. When pressing the keycap onto your sticky solution, the tape will adhere the stem and keycap together.  

If this solution still leaves your keycap wobbling, you can carefully add some more tape. Just make sure not to amass too much adhesive, as this could offset the key with the rest of your keyboard. If it fits snugly, let it sit. 

All truths, no cap

There you have it: two simple solutions to two common keycap issues. We certainly hope it’ll help you straighten out your keyboard, by simply fixing keycaps. Any and all video credit goes to Dwarf Factory, makers of some splendid artisan keycaps themselves.

Got any other keycap-related problems? Feel free to talk to us, through the comment section down below. We’d love to help out with any keyboard questions you have. Maybe we could even add any handy suggestions you might have to our article.

Looking for more content on mechanical keyboards? Head on over to our handy guide on How To  Easily Clean Your Keyboard, or check out our list of Recommended Keycap Sets to bring some new life to your dusty, old keyboard.

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