3 Replies Latest reply: Sep 15, 2010 11:22 PM by Pan Corbin
lonelyheartclub Level 1 (0 points)

My friend recently spilt some orange juice onto his Macbook Pro. Thankfully for him, everything seems to be working fine (he said it was only a tiny spillage), but his trackpad has gone sticky. He's out of warranty by a few weeks (though it probably wouldn't be covered, anyway) and he knows it would be costly to have Apple look at it. I said that I would take off his back case and remove the battery (as per a few guides on the internet) to see if there's any sticky residue and clean it off if so. I just wanted to check that removing the battery would expose the backside of the trackpad so I'm not wasting my time and risking his machine with the repair job for no reason. I've come across this as a solution around the internet, you see. Comments appreciated. Thanks guys.

P.S. His Macbook Pro is a new unibody type from mid 2009 onwards.

macbook pro unibody, Mac OS X (10.6.4)
  • eww Level 9 (52,975 points)
    Removing the battery will expose the back of the trackpad, but it won't enable you to get at the sticky residue where it matters. If your friend wants the use of his trackpad, he'll have to have the top case replaced.
  • Sunshine22 Level 1 (0 points)
    I had the same problem - spilled OJ on my MBP during a flight. Sticky keyboard, sticky track pad.

    I saw a great YouTube video on how to replace the keyboard, by a very nice girl named Rebecca from Small Dog Electronics. Here's the link:


    Small Dog has good prices on keyboards and other parts. Keyboard was about $80.

    If you decide to replace your keyboard, follow that video, it worked great for me. Here's some additional hints:

    Keep track of what screws came from where, by using an egg carton. Label each egg compartment with a sharpie.

    The flat ribbon cables for the backlight display and main keyboard are a little tricky. There's a "latch" that flips up on the connector. You'll need a magnifying glass to see it. (Try high-powered reading glasses, inexpensive at a discount store like Dollar General.) Then the ribbon itself slides out. There is no connector on the end of the ribbon, simply a flat ribbon. Also, there is glue on the bottom of the keyboard ribbon cable that makes it a little tricky.

    The "black stick" that Rebecca mentions is a great help, but if you can't find one locally, you can make do with a plastic knife, or better yet, an old nylon toothbrush that's been filed to a tapered flat edge.

    Here's my best hint: Get a 16 oz bottle of 70% isopropyl rubbing alcohol from any drug store or Wal-Mart. (Make sure it doesn't have Witchhazel or any green coloring or anything else in it, just 70% rubbing alcohol.) Then get a pistol-grip spray nozzle, and screw it into the alcohol bottle. You have just created one of the most useful tools I own.

    I used the spray alcohol to spray under the trackpad button, which dissolved and washed away the sugary OJ residue, and now it works great! Do this with the battery removed (much safer that way, and you can also spray from the back ), with the MBP held above a sink to catch the alcohol drip. Also, be careful, as the alcohol is flammable - no smoking, and stay away from any possible ignition source.

    Give it a few good sprays, then use paper towels to dry off as best you can, then a blow dryer to finish drying it.

    I could have probably taken out the keyboard and cleaned it with the spray alcohol as well, but I had already bought a new one. (It works great, as you can tell from my typing.)

    Since my OJ spill killed my warranty anyway, I had nothing to lose, and about 300 dollars to save.

    Work carefully, and good luck!
  • Pan Corbin Level 1 (0 points)
    Here is what you do. Be careful when you do it but it will work wonders.
    1 remove the bottom cover
    2 remove the battery
    3 get a damp paper towel corner and clean up any sticky around the track pad
    4 open the screen and lay it on your lap (so that the upper side of the track pad is exposed to your lap)
    5 get a toothbrush and dip the tip gently in water
    6 brush/drip the water all around the sides of the track pad (just in the moveable crevasses) you goal is not to get your computer or any wires wet, just down the sides of the trackpad, Don't forget the front middle crevasses.

    This should dilute the substance after a few run throughs. Of course you know not to get anything wet, the water should just drip in your lap. Then of course dry up any water left on the outer case and inner case, check to make sure nothing will drip back inside when you flip it right side up. then put it all back together. Its not hard, works perfectly.