How to Clean a MacBook Pro Keyboard the Easy Way with Keyboard Cleaner
Cleaning the keyboard on a MacBook, MacBook Pro, or MacBook Air is a necessary chore from time to time, but it can also be more challenging than expected as anyone who has done so can attest. The moment you start wiping down the Mac keyboard, it’s inevitable for keys to be pressed, and as a result, things are typed, applications are accessed, messages are sent, improper code is written, gobbledegook is made, amongst other potential mishaps. Of course with a desktop Mac, you can simply disconnect the keyboard, but that isn’t possible on any laptop in the MacBook line. You can’t put the Mac to sleep because then hitting a key would wake it up, and you don’t want to shut down the Mac because aside from being inconvenient, you almost certainly want to clean the power key as well.
This is where a little app that has been around for ages called Keyboard Cleaner comes in to play, it locks down the Mac keyboard and rejects all input (aside from the quit command) so that you can press as many keys as needed as you wipe down and clean the keyboard. Once you’re finished, you leave the app. Easy. So, let’s walk through how to use Keyboard Cleaner in Mac OS X to properly clean the keyboard on a MacBook, MacBook Pro, or MacBook Air.
Cleaning MacBook Keys by Locking Them Down with Keyboard Cleaner
Technically this app works on any Mac keyboard at all, but we’re focusing on the MacBook Pro and MacBook line since they can’t simply disconnect the keyboard for cleaning purposes. Instead, we’ll lock down the keys and prevent input and improper text entry with the help of a free little app.
- Download Keyboard Cleaner app from here (a similar app is here), decompress the archive, then right-click and choose “Open” to get around Gatekeeper (the app is from ’06, but still works great)
- When the screen turns to all black and says “Happy Cleaning”, you’re ready to clean the MacBook keyboard:
- Now lightly* wet a cotton cloth or rag (not the type that sheds or pills) so that it’s ever so slightly damp, and wipe down the keyboard on the MacBook Pro
- When finished cleaning the MacBook keyboard, hit Command+Q keys to quit out of the Keyboard Cleaner application and enjoy your nice clean keyboard
Works wonderfully, doesn’t it? No more shutting down the MacBook, and no more pressing a gazillion keys into who knows what application as you clean the keyboard. Just launch Keyboard Cleaner, clean up the keyboard, quit the app, and you’re good as new again.
I recommend using water only to clean the keyboard, but if you have stubborn grime, gunk, or some other mystery crud on the MacBook keyboard, you may want to use a small amount of isopropyl alcohol solution. You can also use small amounts of isopropyl alcohol with a cotton swap like a q-tip to clean the area between keys on the keyboard as well.
If you plan on doing this often, you’ll probably want to keep the Keyboard Cleaner app handy in the /Applications/ folder for future usage.
* Be absolutely certain the cloth rag is not too damp, it should be just slightly wet to the touch. If you can squeeze any water out of it whatsoever, it is too wet and you need to use a different cloth. Liquid or water getting in between the keys or other surface crevices on the Mac can cause liquid damage to the Mac and you want to avoid that.
Know of any other tips or tricks for cleaning keyboards? Let us know your key cleaning secrets in the comments.