Help for grubby iBook with MacBook disease?
August 26, 2006 12:55 PM   Subscribe

What to do about discoloration issues similar to those grubby MacBooks... on a G4 iBook?

My husband's G4 iBook, which he's had for about 18 months, quickly developed terrible discoloration all over the places his hands rest and on the trackpad. He has also had to go to the Apple Store to get individual keys replaced a few times, because the letters have worn away over time, which suggests there may either be something systemically wrong with the plastics on his machine, or perhaps that his sweat is chemically different than ordinary sweat.

The discoloration looks very much like the photos that have circulated of defective MacBooks, for which I understand Apple had been replacing the top plastic. And the trackpad, which has an egg-shaped horizontal area that is worn away in the center, feels slick and slimy compared to mine.

I'm not really happy with the appearance of my iBook either--I scrub with microfiber cloth and iClean (which I guess is really for the display and not the top of the machine, and maybe is not the best product to use) and can still always see the ghosts of my fingertips and palm prints, but it's nothing like the situation with my husband's machine. He's ashamed to take it out in meetings, since it looks like a dirty ape has been using it.

So my questions: has anyone heard of similar discolorations on iBooks? Will Apple replace it as they have for the MacBooks? And is there some other cleaning product we should be trying?

yrs sincerely,
the wife of the guy with the nasty iBook
posted by Scram to Computers & Internet (9 answers total)
My boyfriend's iBook had the same discolorations, but he never tried to have it replaced.
Acetone-free nail polish remover works quite well on my Macbook's mouse button.
posted by snownoid at 1:01 PM on August 26, 2006

i took my ibook, which had the same problems even after using iclean, to the apple store. the person i spoke to told me he'd never seen anything like it, it was my fault, i must have been using the computer wrong (i shit you not), and that there was nothing the company could do for me.

if you find any solutions, i'd love to hear about them. i may just have encountered a shitty employee, but it was so frustrating that i've just continued using the ugly thing, filthy though it may look.
posted by brina at 1:11 PM on August 26, 2006 [1 favorite]

My best buddy had this problem with his G4 iBook. All of the discoloration came off easily with the application of a Mr. Clean Magic Eraser.
posted by SpecialK at 1:53 PM on August 26, 2006 [1 favorite]

It's all about the Mr. Clean Magic Eraser. I've read on the Mac message boards that using any cleanser harsher than iClean (ie, 409 or Clorox) can damage the plastic and invalidate your warranty.
posted by chickletworks at 2:00 PM on August 26, 2006

posted by cillit bang at 3:10 PM on August 26, 2006

It's all about the Mr. Clean Magic Eraser. I've read on the Mac message boards that using any cleanser harsher than iClean (ie, 409 or Clorox) can damage the plastic and invalidate your warranty.

People on Mac message boards usually don't know shit.

1. "Plastics" (a blanket term for plastic or metal casing parts) are not covered half the time anyway. Apple's picky about covering this stuff under warranty, because it's common to find a top case assembly or some other piece damaged (abused) outside of normal wear. They really take it on a case-by-case basis here.

2. 409 and Clorox are inappropriate cleaning solutions to begin with. Non-acetone nail polish remover will get 99% of your cleaning jobs done. Don't put it on the LCD. Magic Eraser should take care of the iBook palm rest.

3. Using a cleaning product on the plastic isn't immediately going to void your warranty. This bit is from Apple's hardware warranty:
This warranty does not apply: (a) to damage caused by use with non-Apple products; (b) to damage caused by accident, abuse, misuse, flood, fire, earthquake or other external causes; (c) to damage caused by operating the product outside the permitted or intended uses described by Apple; (d) to damage caused by service (including upgrades and expansions) performed by anyone who is not a representative of Apple or an Apple Authorized Service Provider; (e) to a product or part that has been modified to significantly alter functionality or capability without the written permission of Apple; (f) to consumable parts, such as batteries, unless damage has occurred due to a defect in materials or workmanship; or (g) if any Apple serial number has been removed or defaced.
As far as cleaning your computer is concerned, the warranty will be invalidated if one can show that the cleaning product caused or is related to the damage for which you are requesting warranty service. If you use Soft Scrub on your case and it scratches the shit out of it, good luck getting new case plastics. If you used Soft Scrub, it scratched things, and your logic board dies, you will get a new logic board.
posted by Mikey-San at 4:02 PM on August 26, 2006

Wow - not the original poster, but I just tried the Magic Eraser on my iBook and it worked wonderfully!
posted by misskaz at 4:03 PM on August 26, 2006

addendum to my post:

At the very least, according to the lawyers I know, this is the case you should make when presented with the issue, if applicable.
posted by Mikey-San at 4:10 PM on August 26, 2006

Mr. Clean is our hero! The product was a little hard to find, but dang, was it worth the trouble. The grime lifted right off the hand rest area, to gasps of shock and delight.

Is it safe to use on the mousepad, too? And what the heck IS in this thing? Thanks, AskMeFi, we knew we could count on you.
posted by Scram at 4:37 PM on August 28, 2006

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