How to clean a macbook pro keyboard after spilling your coffee on it, aghh!!

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:

  1. Lift Macbook in the air and flip it upside down so the liquid doesn’t seep inside as much.
  2. 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.
  3. Disconnect any cables attached to Macbook.
  4. Safely set down the Macbook on a clean surface.
  5. Get some absorbent paper.
  6. 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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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).
  3. 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 –
  • Don’t drink coffee near your computer !

9 comments on “How to clean a macbook pro keyboard after spilling your coffee on it, aghh!!

  1. As a preventative option you can buy a completely waterproof flexible keyboard that plugs into any USB port.

    I have one. It is great, withstands coffee, maple syrup, oatmeal, tachina and chumus!!

    Worth every penny, and it is cheap!!

  2. Thank you for going into detail. I am very cautious when it comes to my macbook. Unfortunately i spilled red bull on the right side of my laptop and immediately responded to the situation. I had this air duster can and started spraying it all over. I took my laptop to the apple store and they want to charge me $600 to repair it. So far and thank the holy spirit I havent experienced any technical difficulties yet. Im going to remove some keys and clean them thoroughly. Thank you for your post :]

    • Sorry for taking so long to get back to you… I’m glad this post helped you and I hope everything turned out ok. If you feel like it, let me know what happened at the end 🙂

    • So is this laptop alighrt for like pc games (black ops,Battle field 3,etc) Becauseim planing on geting one for christmas and i dont want my parents to spend there money on something that cant play good games but either way all the other coolfeatures almost givs this thing a reserved spot on my christmas list

  3. I did the same thing this morning. I turned it off immediately turned it upside down and now have it set up with a hair drier on cool. It was a very small amount of coffee that seeped into the keys and it was on the right side. All of the blog posts give complicated instructions on taking everything apart which I am not really up for.
    Any guesses on my odds that nothing got damaged? How long should I wait to turn it on?

  4. Hey I know this is off topic but I was wondering if you knew of any widgets I could add to my
    blog that automatically tweet my newest twitter updates.
    I’ve been looking for a plug-in like this for quite some time and was hoping maybe you would have some experience with something like this. Please let me know if you run into anything. I truly enjoy reading your blog and I look forward to your new updates.

  5. 2.40GHz Intel Core i3-370M ProcessorMicroprocessor Cache 3MB L3 CacheMemory 4GB DDR3 System Memory (2 DIMM)Memory Max 8GBVideo Graphics Intel HD GraphicsVideo Memory Up to 1696MBHard Drive 500GB (7200RPM)Multimedia Drive LightScribe SuperMulti 8X DVDb1R/RW with Double Layer SupportDisplay 17.3�? diagonal High Definition+ HP BrightView LED Display (1600 x 900)???

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