Need help with greasy MBP keyboard and trackpad.
June 13, 2011 10:38 PM   Subscribe

Help me get that layer of oil/grease off my unibody MBP keyboard/trackpad.

Ok, so Apple's own page about taking care of the laptop and cleaning it seems a bit bare to me. So what exactly is a good approach to cleaning that layer of grease off the keys/trackpad/palm rest of the unibody Macbook Pro?

I do plan on getting a keyboard protector soon, but prior to that I'll need to clean these first, so any suggestions on what works is welcome. I do wash my hands with soap prior to using the laptop. To clean it, I've tried wiping the affected areas down with a damp cloth just as the manual says. I've also tried using a Mr. Clean Magic Eraser to try and wipe it off, but for some reason the grease still seems to be there. This accumulation of slick is slowly bothering me now.

So how exactly did you do it?
posted by FarOutFreak to Computers & Internet (12 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
I thieve acquire those phone sanitiser wipes from work. I'm told you can also purchase them, but I've no idea where one would do such a thing.
posted by pompomtom at 10:42 PM on June 13, 2011

Ordinary household cleaning wipes (Clorox or similar) work great for this, and they don't hurt the plastics that I've noticed at all. If you want to be very careful, unplug and power off the computer and maybe allow the wipe to dry a little bit before using it — but you'd really be doing this more for your sake than the computer's.
posted by RogerB at 10:54 PM on June 13, 2011

You don't need special wipes. Just use a paper towel moistened with Windex (or whatever equivalent you normally use around the house for similar purposes, a grease-cutter that doesn't require any rinsing).

Don't spray the Windex directly onto the keyboard, just spray it onto the paper towel until it's damp enough to wipe away the greasiness without dripping.
posted by amyms at 11:13 PM on June 13, 2011

"I've also tried using a Mr. Clean Magic Eraser to try and wipe it off, but for some reason the grease still seems to be there."

Magic eraser is essentially a fine sandpaper so you'll want to avoid that for cleaning your laptop in the future.

Like amyms I've always used a glass cleaner (usually a monitor cleaner 'cause that's what I had on hand) to clean keyboards and mice. It'll even cut oily smoke residue.
posted by Mitheral at 12:04 AM on June 14, 2011

Simple Green would be fine.
posted by rhizome at 12:51 AM on June 14, 2011

Washcloth + rubbing alcohol. (Other suggestions are fine, but windex and simple green leave behind a scent...rubbing alcohol won't.)

And just a note, not that you would do this, but maybe in case one day you ever accidentally get nail polish on your computer: DO NOT use acetone-based polish remover. It eats through computer plastic. Live and learn.
posted by phunniemee at 2:31 AM on June 14, 2011

I always use a tissue or cotton wool moistened with a little isopropanol for this. Rubbing alcohol, cassette head cleaner, monitor cleaning fluid, glass cleaner, all of those should work.
posted by nowonmai at 2:51 AM on June 14, 2011

Simple Green would be fine.

The ingredient in that dulls some plastics. Rubbing alcohol also can harm some plastics. Don't know if the MacBook contains those kinds of plastics or not, however.

Windex contains the same ingredient as Simple Green, but at a much lower concentration. You would be better off getting some generic blue window juice, which contains ammonia, and using that. Ammonia is an excellent degreaser and has never harmed any of the computer equipment I've sprayed it on. The World's Perfect Grime Cleaner is a mixture of 90% generic windex and 10% Fantastic. Invented by me.
posted by gjc at 6:10 AM on June 14, 2011

I've found a slightly damp microfibre cloth does the job for me. Get your index finger behind it and rub on each key in a circular motion. No chemicals required.

(phunniemee, you're not the only one who's discovered that about nail polish remover, sadly.)
posted by Georgina at 6:51 AM on June 14, 2011

I'll echo the microfiber route--I would use a damp microfiber cloth (moistened with a little water or rubbing alcohol). A vigorous wipe should take care of the hand-grease residue. I do this often on the mac keyboard and it leaves it almost indistinguishable as a new keyboard. I would NOT use clorox wipes or any sort of harsh household cleaner on your laptop keyboard.

I also use technique to clean my laptop screen and mighty mouse (esp. the scroll wheel) and it seems to do great there too.
posted by scalespace at 9:23 AM on June 14, 2011

don't use paper towels , it is very abrasive
posted by Oli D. at 12:02 PM on June 14, 2011

I use isopropyl alcohol swabs (which I have around the house anyway because I inject insulin). A box of 100 is something like $2 at the supermarket.
posted by Bruce H. at 4:47 PM on June 14, 2011

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