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How to clean your MacBook keyboard: Get rid of grime, one key at a time

Keep your Apple's shine from core to keyboard.

Published onJune 5, 2023

We spend countless hours tapping away at our keyboards, but how often do we give them a good clean? Cleaning your keyboard not only maintains its aesthetic appearance but also prevents the accumulation of dust and dirt that can affect its performance over time. This guide will walk you through effectively cleaning your MacBook keyboard, what to avoid when doing so, and how to respond in the event of a spillage.


To clean your MacBook keyboard, use a can of compressed air and a microfiber cloth. In case of a spill, turn off your MacBook, drain the liquid, let it dry, and take it to a professional.


What to avoid when cleaning your MacBook keyboard

While it’s important to clean your keyboard regularly, there are certain practices you should avoid to prevent damage. Here’s what not to do:

  • Avoid liquids: Liquids and electronics are a bad combination. Never pour or spray liquids directly onto the keyboard. Even if you’re trying to clean a stubborn stain, avoid using water or liquid-based cleaning solutions.
  • Avoid abrasive materials: Abrasive materials can scratch and damage the keys. Always use a soft, lint-free cloth or a microfiber cloth for cleaning.
  • Avoid disassembling the keyboard: Unless you’re a trained professional, never try to remove the keys on your MacBook to clean under them. Doing so can damage the delicate mechanisms and could void your warranty.

How to clean your MacBook keyboard

Now that you know what not to do, let’s move on to how you should clean your MacBook keyboard:

  1. Turn off your MacBook and unplug any connected devices to prevent accidental key presses.
  2. Tilt your MacBook at an angle: This will allow any loose debris to fall out naturally when you start cleaning.
  3. Use compressed air: Use a can of compressed air to dislodge any dirt or dust trapped between the keys. Spray the air in a left-to-right motion and do the same in an up-and-down motion. Remember to keep the can upright to prevent any liquid propellant from being released.
  4. Wipe the keys: Take a microfiber cloth and gently wipe the keys and the keyboard surface.

What to do when you spilled a drink on your MacBook keyboard

Despite our best intentions, accidents happen. If you’ve spilled a drink on your MacBook keyboard, here are immediate steps you should take:

  • Turn off your MacBook and unplug it immediately: The sooner you can cut off the power, the less chance of causing severe damage to the electrical components.
  • Try to remove as much liquid as possible: Turn your MacBook upside down to drain any liquid. Do not try to dry it with a hair dryer, which could push the fluid further inside.
  • Let it dry: Leave your MacBook upside down in an open, well-ventilated area for at least 48 hours to allow any remaining liquid to dry. Do not attempt to speed up the process with any heat source.
  • Take it to a service center: If you’ve done all you can to no avail, it’s time to take your MacBook to a professional. Even if your MacBook seems to be working fine after drying out, there could still be residue inside that could cause problems later, so it’s best to get it checked just in case.

Cleaning your MacBook keyboard regularly and appropriately is essential for its performance and longevity. While we hope you never have to deal with a spillage, if it does happen, these steps will help you minimize the potential damage. Happy typing!


You can use a soft, lint-free or microfiber cloth and a can of compressed air.

Turn off your MacBook and unplug any devices. Tilt your MacBook at an angle and use compressed air to dislodge dirt or dust. Wipe the keys with a microfiber cloth.

We do not recommend removing keys to clean under them as it may damage the keyboard. Instead, use compressed air to dislodge and remove any dirt or dust under the keys.

While it’s technically possible to remove the keys, it’s not recommended unless you’re a trained professional. Removing keys can easily damage the delicate mechanisms under them and may void your warranty.

You can use a soft, lint-free or microfiber cloth to clean the keys and keyboard surface.

While the “rice trick” is often recommended for drying out small electronics like smartphones, it’s not recommended for a MacBook or other laptops. Rice can create dust that might infiltrate and harm the internal components of your MacBook. Additionally, rice may is not effective at absorbing moisture in large devices. Instead, if you’ve spilled a drink on your MacBook, turn it off and unplug it immediately, drain any excess liquid by turning it upside down, and let it dry naturally in a well-ventilated area. If needed, take it to a professional for inspection and cleaning.

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