6 Replies Latest reply: Mar 8, 2009 5:23 PM by sig
David L Watkins Level 1 Level 1 (15 points)
I have an orig 15in MBpro onto which I spilled about a half a teaspoon of coffee (this time<g>). 3 of 4 arrow keys now don't work. Spills are not covered by AppleCare, and I have about 6 mos of AC to go which I don't want to void by opening up my machine.
Here is my plan.
1 Remove battery and pop off offending key tops
2 Apply 1-2 drops to key subsystem of
a) distilled water
b) 95% ethanol
3) Wiggle around the rubber key subsystem
4) Blow with hairdryer on low for (a) long time or (b) short time.
5) Start up and hope for best.

I assume the volatility of the alcohol is an advantage.
Will it damage parts?
David - Dallas

MacBook pro, 15 inch, 1.83 gh, 2gig ram, Mac OS X (10.5.5)
  • iSMH Level 5 Level 5 (4,310 points)
    I would not apply heat- those little frames will melt real quick. Just let them air dry over night. Cleaning out the keys will not resolve the issue if the keyboard infrastructure is damaged, however, it's you're best shot.
  • S.U. Level 6 Level 6 (8,360 points)
    Here is a link that may be of help:


    You probably don't want to actually drop water onto the subsystem--you don't want to risk water getting deeper into the machine and carrying coffee with it maybe down to the logic board. Coffee is corrosive. It would be safer to use something like a Q-tip dampened with distilled or deionized water and clean up any residue. I would avoid using ethanol--it will attack some finishes. Isopropanol is more benign, but since water will dissolve coffee, I don't think alcohol would even be necessary. I would also just let everything air dry and avoid using any heat on it.

    The alcohol might serve as a desiccant to help dry any traces of water, but if you should not be using that much water.

    You want everything to be bone dry before starting up.

    The keys may well not be working due to sticky residue which has dried below them. Removing this residue completely may well get them working again.

    In my opinion, it is well worth attempting this sort of a repair on a keyboard. If something is busted, you don't have much to lose by trying to fix it. If you can't, then you always have the option of replacing the keyboard.

    Good luck!
  • David L Watkins Level 1 Level 1 (15 points)
    I took of key tops and scissor mechanisms to expose the key actuator electronics showing some coffee stains. I then lightly wiped top and bottom sides of key mechanisms with denatured ethanol and re-assembled the keyboard. No improvement was seen. My next step is a new keyboard I am afraid.

    David - Dallas
  • David L Watkins Level 1 Level 1 (15 points)
    Thanks for your help.
    David - Dallas
  • hwpienaar Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
    My secretary spilled coffee on my Mac Book Pro. I was not their when it happened and have no idea what she did. She is not in my employment anymore.
    Everything is still working fine. It is only when I connect my Mac to electricity when the trouble starts. The Mac freezes. When the Mac is switch-off it does charge the battery when connected to the electricity. But the Mac is only working when the electrical cable is disconnected. When the Mac goes to sleep and when I woke it it also freezes. I then have to switch it off again and then on again then everything is fine. It is just so frustrating working only when the battery is charged. I loose valuable time. What is wrong and how can I fix it.
  • sig Level 8 Level 8 (35,775 points)
    "...Everything is still working fine. It is only when I connect my Mac to electricity when the trouble starts. The Mac freezes"

    Well I guess "everything" is not working fine. You should have removed the battery, disconnected it from power and allowed it to dry out for several days prior to powering back up. If you take sugar in your coffee that can eventually exacerbate matters. It would appear you have a short or dysfunction with the power so get it to an Apple store and have them diagnose a fix.