Getting milk out of computer keyboard
September 1, 2008 3:10 AM   Subscribe

Crying over spilled milk - in Mac keyboard.

My darling spilled a glass of milk over her keyboard. The milk has drained away, but the keyboard is not happy, with some keys not working and others apparently stuck on.

What is our best bet for salvaging it?
posted by i_am_joe's_spleen to Computers & Internet (8 answers total)
I'm going to assume you tried cleaning between the keys with a q-tip or some such, and go straight to drastic measures

depending on how brave you are, you could remove all of the keys and clean under them - they're probably just stuck from the milk solids. Putting it back together is hard, though....

I have actually had success with plugging up the usb ports on the keyboard, and putting it in the dishwasher. BUT if you do this, make sure that it's completly drained before you plug it in again. And, uhm, okay, i don't guarentee that it will still work after, but then, it isn't now, is it?

(Failing that, any USB keyboard will work as a mac keyboard if you're at a pinch - command maps to windows key, and the other weird key maps to the menu key)
posted by jaymzjulian at 3:27 AM on September 1, 2008

Put it in the dishwasher, low temp, no soap, air dry.

Afterwards, take the keyboard out, turn it upside down, and shake it out.

Set it to dry for 2 - 3 days.

Plug it back in.
posted by zippy at 3:38 AM on September 1, 2008

Which kind of keyboard is it? On a MacBook keyboard you can prise each key off individually for cleaning. It's quite difficult to get them back on though, so it gets time consuming.
There's more advice in a thread from when I spilled cream on my Macbook last year (sadly it never worked really well again).
posted by roofus at 4:32 AM on September 1, 2008

Open keyboard by unscrewing screws.
Clean with soap, water and a towel.
posted by PowerCat at 6:21 AM on September 1, 2008

NB Milk is stickey. So since it is already kaput you can unplug it and rinse with water and dry the heck out of it. However certain circuits may already be shot.
posted by Gungho at 6:41 AM on September 1, 2008

If you'd immediately unplugged it and rinsed it under fresh water I'd say there was a chance of salvaging it. Things are already starting to corrode due to the moisture and stick together due to the sugar (lactose).

How much is your time worth? Go buy another one.
posted by Confess, Fletch at 7:23 AM on September 1, 2008

I have killed a few keyboards over the years. Cleaning them only works sometimes, even if you pull all the keys off, clean meticulously, etc. Now that they are cheaper, it just makes sense to go get a new one, unfortunately. I would prefer to not do this, as I hate throwing stuff away, but the success rate for cleaning is just too low.
posted by chuke at 8:49 AM on September 1, 2008

When I spilled orange juice (or wine, I can't remember which) on my pre-aluminum mac keyboard I immediately pulled off all the keys and put the whole thing in a large bucket and flushed with fresh water. Then I took the keyboard and keys out and left them laying on a towel for a week to dry. Worked perfectly. As others have pointed out, the trick is to rinse off the spill before the acids start affecting the circuitry printed on the keyboard base. You might have to throw it out, but if you've resigned yourself to that anyway you've got nothing to lose by soaking everything in fresh water and drying thoroughly. You'll have a nice clean keyboard when you're finished, too.
posted by Turtles all the way down at 1:06 PM on September 1, 2008

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