How to Keep a MacBook Pro Clean
July 4, 2020 12:56 AM   Subscribe

Just received my beautiful new MBP (with Touchbar) from work. I want to keep it as clean as possible and avoid the grody fingerprint stains that my last MacBook developed over time. What should I buy to maintain the screen, keyboard, and trackpad? Bonus points if you can also tell me how to better protect the power cable.
posted by Kitchen Witch to Computers & Internet (11 answers total) 14 users marked this as a favorite
Regularly wiping down laptops, phones, tablets with a damp cloth goes a long way. I use a clean microfibre dish cloth, mild soapy water and wring out the cloth really well. You’re aiming for barely damp, not dripping wet. This seems to shift your normal finger prints and stains/marks, including hand cream residue on screens/keyboards, very well. For the shiny surfaces you can follow this with a cleanish dish towel to dry whatever residual damp the first cloth has left behind.
posted by koahiatamadl at 4:48 AM on July 4, 2020

I mold Sugru around all the weak spots of my power cables and it works fantastically. The cables usually last for the full life of the device that way. Highly recommend.
posted by thegreatfleecircus at 5:05 AM on July 4, 2020 [4 favorites]

Fingerprint stains on the trackpad should come off with a cloth dampened with isopropyl alcohol.
posted by oceanjesse at 6:18 AM on July 4, 2020

To stop finger oils transferring from the keyboard to the screen, I buy a ScreenSavrz every time I get a new laptop. They last forever and are also useful for screen cleaning.
posted by scruss at 6:30 AM on July 4, 2020

I use a keyboard cover. They make all different kinds for MacBooks and they are easy to wash and help prevent issues.
posted by eleanna at 8:38 AM on July 4, 2020 [2 favorites]

I just use whatever screen cleaning stuff I have (microfiber cloth + iKlear or the Monster equivalent - the latter of which can be found cheap on deal sites); the machines nowadays are all aluminum so they're fairly easy to clean, and just using the screen cleaning stuff means you can easily clean the touch bar and screen too. A protective snap-on case might be handy though since the aluminum can get nicked or scratched.

For power cable: don't wind the cord up super tight around the block. Most of the ones I've seen that were pulled apart and half broken were ones that were also always wound super tight around the charger itself or some other doodad. (Admittedly, they do die on their own more frequently than they used to. The insulation around the wire isn't nearly as resilient as it was.) Alternatively, with the new USB-C ones, just unplug the cable from both ends and coil it up separately (and somewhat loosely). Or, since the new ones do come fully apart, just go get a good quality USB-C to USB-C cable from somewhere else and use it if/when your Apple one kicks the bucket. Anker, Aukey, RavPower, Monoprice, etc. all make perfectly good USB-C to USB-C cables that'll work as a stand-in replacement for the one that came with the computer. (Some may be marked USB 2, but data transmission isn't really important here; the official Apple one is also a USB 2 cable. USB is very confusing nowadays.) The (one) nice thing about losing MagSafe is that it is literally just USB charging now, so anyone can make replacement chargers that are better/cheaper than the Apple ones and they'll work just fine, as long as you get one rated for a decent amount of power.
posted by mrg at 9:35 AM on July 4, 2020

Adding my "Yes, do this" to

- Sugru
- keyboard cover

If you decide to not get a keyboard cover, I've used this keyboard cleaning slime to get little crumbs and nonsense out of the keyboard and it works pretty well. Really the big thing is just to have a simple cleaning schedule so stuff doesn't get too "silted in" over time.
posted by jessamyn at 10:24 AM on July 4, 2020

I have a 2011 MBP-15 and a 2012 MBP-13 that are still going strong(ish), and I attribute a lot of their continuing tolerability to keyboard condoms. I bought a pack of 20, and I just throw them away after a few weeks (when the machines were younger and condoms cost $5-10 each, I used to wash them, but vendors are currently desperate to unload old-stock condoms).

I was gifted a new MBP-15 (2017 or 2018 or so) recently and the first thing I put on it was a new condom.
posted by spacewrench at 1:43 PM on July 4, 2020

I'd call an Apple store to get the details on your particular model. I have a 2017 MBP, and have had various conversations with Apple geniuses. Depending on the MBP model, such as mine, Apple does not recommend keyboard covers (and also does not sell them in apple stores last time I was there). Despite persistent attempts to get a recommendation for buying one, the genius refused to answer my question. I get the impression that for my model keyboard covers could damage the keyboard, damage the screen, etc.

Also, check with them for cleaner for the screen. The apple site recommends water only I think. I would spray just a little water onto a microfibre cloth and use that. Don't spray onto the laptop. Although having said that, at the moment I actually use a 'screen mom' kit, it's pretty much free of chemicals. Comes with a spray bottle and a cloth. Once the liquid runs out I'll try water.
posted by carter at 5:40 PM on July 4, 2020

Yarn bomb the cable.
posted by aniola at 11:40 AM on July 5, 2020

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