How to clean MacBook Pro keyboard grease

How to clean MacBook Pro keyboard grease

We are all guilty of eating at our desks from time to time, leaning over our laptops and inevitably dropping crumbs everywhere! On top of that, our oily fingers tap away on the keys and the dust in the air, flitters and falls all around us. If you have noticed that the keyboard on your MacBook Pro is covered in grease and grime, then it is probably time to clean it.

But how do you clean a MacBook Pro keyboard? Cleaning a MacBook Pro keyboard of grease is not difficult, providing you have the correct cleaning products at your disposal, so that you don’t cause any damage to your laptop. Regular cleaning of your keyboard can prevent potential problems and costly computer repairs.

Here will talk you through the best ways to keep your keyboard looking spick-and-span and provide some top tips on which essential tools you should keep in your cupboard for cleaning your MacBook Pro.

Step by step guide on how to clean a MacBook Pro keyboard

The first thing to be done when you are cleaning your MacBook Pro, is to turn the power off completely. This will stop the keys on the keyboard from carrying out crazy actions whilst you clean them.

After that, flip your keyboard over, making sure that you point it at the ground and wipe it down with either a clean microfibre cloth or a soft brush. This will wipe away any loose debris that could work its way into your keyboard as you go about cleaning it, whilst preventing any disruption to the inner workings of your MacBook keyboard.

Now your Apple keyboard is dust and lint free on the surface, it’s time to start on those greasy marks that are really bothering you. In order to do this, why not follow our top tips below?

How to use alcohol wipes to clean your keyboard

Most people clean their keyboards using a single use alcohol wipe. Whilst this isn’t the most eco-friendly way of cleaning a keyboard, the high concentration of isopropyl alcohol on the texture of the wipe, makes them very capable of cutting through dirt without smearing.

Start the cleaning process by giving the whole computer keyboard a good wipe over before leaving it to dry for a moment. Remember that alcohol dries very quickly like this and will not damage the electrical components of your MacBook Pro like water will.

Once it’s dry, you may want to use a light at different angles to try and identify the greasy spots. The grease and grime will cause a strong reflection on each keys compared to the rest of the keyboard, which allows you pinpoint accurately where you need to re-clean with your alcohol wipe.

Make sure to scrub it clean as some stains can be stubborn, so perseverance will be paramount at this point. As you are working, take a moment to let the alcohol dry or wipe it with a clean microfibre cloth to speed up the process.

After that, try the reflection test again to check how much dust may still be left to clean and repeat the exercise if necessary.

Problem with your MacBook keyboard? Contact us for specialist repairs.

Can alcohol clean a MacBook Pro keyboard?

Alcohol is more environmentally friendly than using one-use disposable wipes, but make sure that you are careful when applying alcohol, as it may cause irritation to your skin and eyes.

When choosing which alcohol based solution to rub and apply, we recommend using either isopropyl alcohol or ethanol, as they are both safe to be used for electronics.

Alcohol is great as it not only dries quickly but leaves little to no residue, so you don’t need to worry about replacing dust and dirt with smudges and smears.

This being said, it is not advisable to pour alcohol solutions directly onto your device or allow excess liquid to build up on your keyboard, as it can cause damage over time.

Why use alcohol with a fresh cloth?

The best way to administer alcohol when cleaning a MacBook Pro keyboard, is to take a fresh cloth and place it over the open top of the rubbing alcohol and flip it upside down for a second. This will give you enough alcohol on the cloth to start cleaning the grime from your laptop.

Again, use a light so that you can see from different angles, identifying any shiny spots where dirt and grease has built up over the years and set to work cleaning those keys by rubbing them in a circular motion.

Using a clean cloth may leave some fibres behind, but don’t worry as these can also be cleaned with a tissue or even wiped away later, simply using your hand.

Can you use a cotton bud to clean a keyboard?

We would not recommended that you use a cotton bud as a solo way of cleaning a MacBook Pro, mainly because of the shear time it will take and how fiddly it becomes.

If you have some rubbing alcohol, then it’s a great idea to use a cotton swab to get into the hard to reach places between the metal spacing around the keys. This way you can clean any grease and debris that’s been building up on your Apple device over the years.

Again, we would suggest placing the cotton swab onto a cloth or tissue beforehand and holding it firmly over the lid of the isopropyl bottle before turning it upside down to get the right amount. Do not pour or keep any alcohol near your MacBook Pro, just to be on the safe side.

How to put together a MacBook Pro cleaning kit

Keeping your keyboard clean is of the utmost importance – after all you don’t want to get any sandwich crumbs stuck in your switches. Below we list our cleaning kit essentials in order to keep your Apple Mac shiny for years to come.

  1. Isopropyl alcohol – This is best for cleaning grease and sticky substances from your laptop keys
  2. Microfibre cloth – Great for dusting and cleaning your screen, without leaving smudges
  3. Clean cloth for use with rubbing alcohol – Always start with a clean cloth, but make sure it is one that you don’t mind getting stained, as alcohol can leave permanent marks on material
  4. Cotton swabs – These are great for getting into small spaces easily
  5. Compressed air can – Blows away dust that could otherwise become ingrained into speakers, keyboards and ports. Just remember not to hold the air too close to the keyboard and move the can around in a zig zag like motion. This should prevent excess liquid for seeping into the keys
  6. Vinegar based window cleaner – We have used every new laptop, computer and device specific screen cleaner money can buy, and we’ve never found something that works as well as the spray bottle of vinegar window cleaner

Final Thoughts…

It’s never a good idea to let debris build up on the metal and plastic of your MacBook as it can cause damage to sensitive parts of your computer hardware. Simply by giving your laptop a full service once a year, can help to prolong its longevity and ensure that it continues to work efficiently, saving your both time and money in the long run.

All of the items on our cleaning kit list are relatively inexpensive and can help to maintain your MacBook for many years to come.

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Greg Doulton

Greg is an Apple repair specialist and has wealth of knowledge within the industry. Follow the blog for more news and tips.

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