How To Clean Your Mac's Keyboard

The average computer user spends a good part of their waking hours typing in front of their computers. Unfortunately, the same cannot be said about cleaning their keyboards. Of course, you don’t need to spend hours cleaning it, but just like with everything that you use on a regular basis, it is important that you take time to clean your MacBook keyboard every once in awhile to prevent unpleasant materials from accumulating around it, not only for sanitary reasons, but because they can eventually cause your keyboard to start malfunctioning.

How to Clean Your MacBook Keyboard

Cleaning your MacBook keyboard is pretty simple and straightforward for the most part and not too different from cleaning other everyday items; however, because your MacBook has sensitive components that may become damaged if not handled properly, there are a couple of things that you need to remember when you clean your MacBook keyboard.

Shut Your Computer Down Before You Clean Your MacBook Keyboard

This is actually optional. It’s up to you whether you want to do it or not, but you might want to shut your computer down before you clean your MacBook keyboard to prevent random commands from being triggered when you accidentally pressed a key while cleaning it.
This can also be a safety precaution if you have some containers of liquid lying around your table and you accidentally knocked them down while cleaning your MacBook keyboard.

Tilt Your MacBook to Remove Dust and Dirt From the Surface

Before you work on the hard-to-reach areas of your MacBook keyboard, you might want to get off the dust and dirt that accumulated on its surface first.
To do this, grab your MacBook, hold it firmly, and tilt it at a 75-degree angle until food crumbs and other bigger pieces of dirt start sliding off the surface. If you want, you can also give your MacBook a little tap to force out the ones that refuse to fall. Just make sure not to use too much force (avoid shaking it) because, depending on your MacBook’s model, your computer may have moving parts that can become loose when moved around too much and later cause your MacBook to malfunction.

Use a Soft and Lint-free Cloth to Clean Your MacBook Keyboard

Unless you keep your MacBook in a place where dust and dirt are constantly flying around or you just haven’t cleaned your MacBook keyboard in months, cleaning your MacBook keyboard with a piece of cloth should be enough to clean most of the dirt away.
For best results, try to use a soft and lint-free cloth to clean your MacBook keyboard. Using cloths made of rough materials can end up scratching your keys while cloths that leave fluffs behind can cause static charge to build up on your computer’s surface and damage its sensitive electronic components.
If you have a microfiber cloth lying around, you might want to use it to clean your MacBook keyboard as its relatively large amounts of fibers compared to the average cloth allows it to remove more dust from surfaces at a faster rate.

Use Compressed Air to Clean Your MacBook Keyboard

If dust and dirt have gathered in places that a piece of cloth cannot reach, you can use a can of compressed air to clean your MacBook keyboard. Just spray it on your keyboard starting from the left side and slowly work your way to the right side.
For added effectivity, you might want to tilt your keyboard down a bit while you’re doing this so that dust and dirt will fall down instead of being simply blown across the surface. If you find it difficult to hold your MacBook with one hand while using the other to hold the can of compressed air, you might want to ask someone to hold either of the two for you to prevent accidents.
Just a little warning if this will be your first time using compressed air, though. Do not shake the can of compressed air before using it. Doing so can cause some of the pressurized gas to turn into liquid and you wouldn’t want that to get into your MacBook and its internal components. The same can happen if you use the can of compressed air while upside down, tilted sideways to a certain degree, or if you press on the can for too long, so try to keep the can in an upright position before you use it and only spray in short bursts at a time.

Do Not Use Chemical-based Solutions to Clean Your MacBook Keyboard

Contrary to what some people assume, you don’t really need any special type of cleaner to clean your MacBook keyboard. In fact, Apple advises against using cleaners containing chemical-based solutions because they can easily damage your MacBook’s electronic parts.
If you need to remove a stubborn dirt or stain on your MacBook keyboard that cannot be removed by simply wiping it with a piece of cloth, you can use water to remove it. Just make sure that you do not apply water directly on your keyboard. Your keyboard has crevices where liquid can easily seep through and damage sensitive internal components, so try not to get any into it.
If you want to use water to clean your MacBook keyboard, use a spray bottle and squirt just enough amount to dampen a piece of cloth, then use it to wipe across your keyboard. If you have distilled water available, it is recommended over using tap water as it is less likely to have traces of minerals that can harm your MacBook’s components.
These should normally be enough to clean your MacBook keyboard; however, if your MacBook is seriously acting up and you think something beneath the keyboard is causing the problem, you might want to ask Apple’s tech support first if it’s safe to remove your keys to check underneath because the components of MacBooks vary per model and tinkering with the more sensitive ones on your own can cause unnecessary damage.

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