Today I started my morning with my usual cup of coffee, but unlike most days I decided that instead of enjoying my morning coffee, it might be better to spill it all over my desk and Macbook pro, aghh !
The one good thing to come out of this, was writing this ‘how-to’ article for my readers, so they know what to do in the event this happens to them too.
The following applies to the aluminum unibody Macbook/pro line, but most of it applies to any laptop.
Phase 1 – First-Aid:
- Lift Macbook in the air and flip it upside down so the liquid doesn’t seep inside as much.
- Press & hold the power button until it completely shuts down. Forget about doing a ‘safe shutdown’, it’s better to deal with software failures or some data loss, than hardware damage.
- Disconnect any cables attached to Macbook.
- Safely set down the Macbook on a clean surface.
- Get some absorbent paper.
- Gently use the paper to soak the spill from your Macbook keyboard. Don’t press hard or the spill will seep into the keys. You can either do this with the Macbook still upside down or flip it back so it’s easier to clean.
Phase 2 – Cleaning:
- After soaking the spill take a damp cloth or dampen absorbent paper, and gently clean the keyboard and other places that were spilled over. Don’t forget to clean the bottom as it was probably stained too. Make sure you’re not using too much water, remember this is a delicate electronic device – not your dirty dishes.
- Now it’s pretty clean, but there will still be some sticky residue. Remove the residue with some rubbing alcohol applied to cue-tips for the keyboard keycaps and use a clean cloth with alcohol for the larger surfaces.(Alcohol will vaporize fast which is why it’s good for cleaning electronics, and it breaks grease & grim very efficiently).
- You may want to remove keyboard keycaps to clean & dry the liquids that might have leaked inside. To be honest, I removed and cleaned only a few keys for the following reasons:
A. My coffee spilled on only a part of my keyboard.
B. Because I quickly responded with the measures written above, and only a bit of liquids leaked inside.
C. I’m pretty lazy 😉
My recommendation is to do at least a few keys, to get an estimate of how much liquid got in. If it’s just a bit you can stop, but if it’s a lot then you really should take them all apart and clean thoroughly. In any case, you can always do this in the future if your key presses feel sticky.A nice youtube video tutorial which I used as reference.How to remove the ‘Enter’ key.
- Be gentle ! This is true whenever you’re dealing with delicate electronic devices, and especially true with keyboard keys. Nothing should be done with excessive force. If you’re applying a lot of force – you’re doing something wrong.
- When using liquids, be it water or alcohol, use moderate amounts – you are NOT giving your laptop a bubble bath !
- After cleaning the laptop, don’t turn it on until everything has dried. Be patient ! you can also use a hair-drier to speed things up.
- If the spill leaked inside anything else, e.g: DVD drive, cable ports, etc’ this guide will not be enough, and you’ll need to clean those too before powering on the device. In this event I would recommend taking your laptop to a professional lab.
- video tutorials website for removing keyboard parts – http://www.laptopkey.com
- Don’t drink coffee near your computer !