Cleaning Coffee off a Rytm MKii

So, I had a mistake and spilled a fair amount of maple syrup-infused coffee on my Rytm. Good news is, it was turned off and after leaving it off for 2 weeks i turned it on and everything is working well. I think the coffee was so thick it had a hard time seeping in the cracks, but it did cause some button stickage. So, i scraped a lot of it off the buttons but found a youtube video where a guy is fixing DT buttons by popping them off and cleaning with alcohol swabs, both the button and the contact where it gets inserted.

So my main question is about the alcohol swabs, if I order 70% alcohol swabs is that safe to use on the buttons and below the buttons? or is there a specific type of cleaning agent i should get? fast drying so i imagine so but want the hives’ opinion.

thanks in advance for steering me in the right direction

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this is what i was going to order for cleaning

the best thing to clear out coffee is using hot chocolate.


perfect! i love hot chocolate.

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if the face is as easily removed from the rytm as it is from the digitakt, I don’t see any advantage to cleaning the buttons only through the face and leaving coffee on the board.

Someones removed the face, search google, last I recall there was something here or on reddit or flickr dedicated to pictures of disassembled Elektron devices, I bet you can check it out and do a more thorough job. last thing you want to do is leave it and let that macchiatto go to waste, make sure you lick the whole thing clean.

with dt the face is held to the board behind the scenes, you just need 2 different size hex or torx. the only trick is aligning them when you reassemble so no buttons touch the button holes on the face plate but theres a trick if you aren’t patient enough to eyeball it. take pieces of like a business card and wedge them between the outermost buttons of all corners before tightening, then tighten halfway from behind. Remove the card bits and check all buttons go in without contact, and then adjust as necessary.

edit: found this -


nice! thank you. will watch this now

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I think the rule of thumb with alcohol wipes is test somewhere on the back to make sure its not gonna mess with paint or something, and for cleaning the actual circuit board its better to go with the highest concentration alcohol possible. Best to give the board a good look over, even if currently working some syrupy coffee residue left there will likely hurt it over time. Some 99% isopropyl with q tips should be best on the circuit board (be careful with that on paint on the outside of the device though)


good advice. thanks. i ordered some 70% wipes for the buttons and my girl is picking up some 90% for me now. yeah, was thinking if the RYTM gets warm it could melt the syrup and cause issues. so, i will give it a wipe

was it a large area covered in coffee or was the area of exposure fairly isolated?

Don’t use those wipes, I don’t think it will do well with the text on the case and also with the coating on the buttons. Just use a lightly damp cloth.

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however on the circuit board as long as it evaporates before you put it back into service isopropyl alcohol is probably the preferred method, it’s regularly used to clean electronics components. I used 70% rubbing alcohol to clean my digitone buttons once and they were fine but hawk is probably correct, and the case graphic may fade with 90% but I don’t know so I say err on the side of caution. the board though you could literally soak in alcohol and it would be fine.


I don’t know how safe alcohol is for the AR’s finish, but for electronics you want 99+% alcohol. You don’t want any water, and 70% is 30% water. Alcohol will evaporate before your eyes, water can linger and cause problems. High purity alcohol is expensive and usually purchased online from electronics supply retailers.

I would consider using water for the front panel and non-electronic things. After all, coffee is clearly soluble in water (that’s how it is brewed).


to be fair, if he was patient enough to wait 2 weeks after spilling the coffee to even test a button he could get away with waiting for water to evaporate unless he lives in some kind of sub zero climate, but you’re absolutely correct 99% is what would be used in the field of electronics at a professional shop.

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The issue with a higher percentage of water in the isopropyl solution is likely the risk of oxidization. Or the expediting of it. The higher the alcohol content, the more that evaporates.


I understand what you are saying and I agree with the logic, but I guarantee you that unless it is sealed in a vacuum or at a sub freezing temperature, water evaporates, it’s science. It is simply a matter of how long it takes to evaporate. But I do agree, if at all possible use the highest percentage isopropyl and it will evaporate that much faster and you will have more peace of mind. Simple exposure to water h20, however, does not cause oxidization, prolonged exposure to moisture certainly can though. but everyone is right, don’t take a chance, go with the best option available.

but I guarantee, it’s not the more or less evaporation that’s the issue at play - it all evaporates, it’s just the rate at which it’s state transitions from liquid to gaseous.

To avoid a discussion on the complexities of polar and non-polar solvents basically, you should spot test any solvent in a discreet location to test suitability first.

*Avoid Acetone (nail polish remover) and industrial solvents.
*Rubbing alcohol (Isopropyl Alcohol) or ethanol/methanol based products should be ok.
*Always spot test first.


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I can report back and say 70% alcohol and q-tips had no negative effect on the Rytms paint job. I removed all buttons today and cleaned the ones that needed it with alcohol. I looked down to the board with a light and it seems i got lucky. I am still going to open it up and clean the board but today i did not notice any coffee that got down to the board. My sticky oat milk and maple blend kept it to the buttons so far. I really thought, given the impact, the Rytm was toast but it seems to be in good shape now


this is great to hear, keep us updated on if it helped the sticky button feel.