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Released October 24, 2011 / 2.2, 2.4, or 2.5 GHz Quad-core Intel Core i7 Processor

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How do I clean mbp after coffee spill?

Spilled coffee with sugar and milk on the right side of the keyboard on my macbook pro. Immediately set aside the computer and dried most of liquid off, then turned the machine off and more intensively dried with a cloth. Turned it back on (which I now realize wasn't the wisest move, and I'm very lucky nothing got fried) and everything worked, so I put it to sleep and left it while I went to work.

After work (about 5 hours later) I found the keyboard keys weren't working right (no response to occasional response from enter, spacebar and delete keys, and one of the directional keys seemed to be constantly active - computer making bumping sound like incorrect key pressed), so I powered the laptop off and opened up the back to see if there was any liquid inside. The machine was bone dry inside, dust undisturbed with the only oddity being a slight coffee smell coming from the optical drive corner (drive was a little hesitant to release disk inside - took 2 tries to eject disk), but no smell anywhere else. Left the computer upside down for about a day to dry out some more (powered off) and popped off and cleaned the keys that weren't working with a damp cloth (water - dried thoroughly before popping back in place).

Powered the laptop on the next day and everything works except the keyboard. No response at all from any key, and the backlight only appears to be working in the very center of the board. However the computer does not sound as if it's working too hard, no overpowered fan noise, just operating normally. Currently is powered off and upside down with a small cooling fan on the keys.

Tried further drying by setting rice over the keys for a few hours, which was a mistake. Took a few hours to get the rice out that had seeped to the internals of the machine. I think there is still a rice piece stuck under the optical drive, but don't have the correct tools to pry it out yet.

Recently ordered a torc screwdriver to see if I can clean off the drive with some isopropanol, but not sure if I should replace the keyboard or not. Is there a way to fix it without replacing the whole thing? Would cleaning it with isopropanol as well help it? Should I try to clean everything since rice did get inside the machine?

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My last attempt to turn my mac on left me a little fearful as the keys began to respond again, but not in the way they should have (pressed delete and got a letter on screen). It also befuddled me that my login screen popped up, when I have always had my mac set up to go directly to my home screen without a forced login. It had never acted up like that before, so I actually ended up taking it into the Geek Squad and am glad I did. It needed not only a new keyboard, but a new power button (which made sense to me as the power button was very hesitant to respond) and hard drive! Just lucky that I backed up my important files before sending it off! Expensive lesson, and I now have my mac ensured for any future problems. Thanks so much for your input!


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Isopropyl alcohol does a good job cutting through the oils & fats but it doesn't do a good job with water soluble stuff like sugars & other solids, or dilute acids which is in the Coffee.

The best thing here is using distilled water (not tap!) so you can remove the water soluble stuff first and try to remove as much of the acids that spilled out. Then wash it down with Isopropyl alcohol (85% or better) as it has a second property as a dryer to help in removing the water we used here or what else is left (oils & fats). I let what I clean air dry in a sunny location for a day letting the IR of the suns rays warm things causing any remaining moisture out.

In this case I think you'll need to take your system apart quite far. Review this IFIXIT Guide - Upper case removal. This maybe beyond your skill set. Once you get to the top case you still need to disassemble the keyboard. Here you'll find about 80 screws holding it to the case. Then you will need to carefully pull the pieces apart (are you good with jigsaw puzzles).

Of the dozen or so of these I've done I'll warn you its a 50-50% chance of getting the keyboard to work as well as it once did.

Apple only sells as a part the complete upper case, but, I have seen some keyboards starting to show up on eBay that claim to be original. In either case I would just replace the keyboard Vs wasting the time clean it.

As I said this is a big job so you may want to think about letting an independent Apple authorized repair center deal with it (Apple them selves won't fix this it as they don't repair anything that has gotten wet). While it will be costly I still think its worth it (Vs getting a new system).

Good Luck!

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Corrosion takes time.. thats' why it worked for a day. Like dissolves like so alcohol will not dissolve sugars... nor will it do much for the dried milk.

At this point you have nothing to loose by trying to wash the keyboard in a dishwasher (top shelf) let try (days, not hours or minutes - use your rice or some other desiccant) and trying it again... Some of the keyboards can be removed and swapped, but many are integrated to the top case and it's just easier to pull the trigger and bite the bullet with a complete top case replacement.

Good Luck,

If this Answer is helpful please remember to return and mark it Accepted.

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The dishwasher trick is a little to much here. These keyboards really need to be disassembled to clean correctly.


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replace the keyboard no need the top case, and check the logic board for coffee

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I agree the easiest way to fix this is just replacing the keyboard, as long as it was the only thing that got wet.


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Emily zal eeuwig dankbaar zijn.

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