Alcohol cleaning damaged the case?

MacBH928

macrumors 601
Original poster
May 17, 2008
4,408
1,616
I used ethyl alcohol on a cotton to clean a 2015 MBP, and when I looked at the cotton it had greenish-dark grey streaks, its as if the colour of the laptop has been whiped off.

The MBP still looks the same but I was wondering if I damaged it? Did I remove some sort of protective chemicals on the case?
 

chscag

macrumors 68040
Feb 17, 2008
3,834
1,345
Fort Worth, Texas
Contrary to what some folks think, alcohol is not an ideal cleaning agent. The greenish-dark grey streaks you observed were probably from a chemical reaction to the aluminum. Only use a slightly dampened cloth to wipe away whatever grime and fingerprints on your MBP. And never use alcohol to clean your screen.
 
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Schranke

macrumors 6502a
Apr 3, 2010
939
943
Copenhagen, Denmark
Small amounts/low concentrations should be fine. I would however not use any type of alcohol unless I had something which a dampened cloth and a few tries would not handle.
Also don't use cleaning agents for glasses on the screen. again just a clean damped cloth
 

duervo

macrumors 68020
Feb 5, 2011
2,331
1,097
It’s just aluminum oxide that’s being rubbed off. It’ll form again. Nothing to be alarmed about.

You can read more about aluminum oxide here:
https://www.popsci.com/scitech/article/2004-09/amazing-rusting-aluminum

If you keep doing it frequently enough, without giving the aluminum time to form another layer, then you will eventually most likely get pitting to appear on your case. It requires a lot ... a lot ... of cleaning with alcohol over a long period of time though. A couple times a year probably won’t have any affect. I remember, a few years ago, some people in these forums posting pictures of their palmrest areas having pitted spots on it. Was likely because of long term, frequent use of cleaning materials that removed the layer of aluminum oxide.
 

MacBH928

macrumors 601
Original poster
May 17, 2008
4,408
1,616
Also don't use cleaning agents for glasses on the screen. again just a clean damped cloth
not sure what you mean by cleaning agents but I have used Whoosh! with very good results

It’s just aluminum oxide that’s being rubbed off. It’ll form again. Nothing to be alarmed about.

You can read more about aluminum oxide here:
https://www.popsci.com/scitech/article/2004-09/amazing-rusting-aluminum

If you keep doing it frequently enough, without giving the aluminum time to form another layer, then you will eventually most likely get pitting to appear on your case. It requires a lot ... a lot ... of cleaning with alcohol over a long period of time though. A couple times a year probably won’t have any affect. I remember, a few years ago, some people in these forums posting pictures of their palmrest areas having pitted spots on it. Was likely because of long term, frequent use of cleaning materials that removed the layer of aluminum oxide.
thanks that was very informative
 

Fishrrman

macrumors Core
Feb 20, 2009
19,981
7,009
Don't be usin' no alcohol no mo' !!

And "clean your screen" as LITTLE AS POSSIBLE.
Every time you touch it, you're in danger of damaging the very fragile sprayed on anti-glare coating.
 

Mac-lover3

macrumors 6502a
Dec 2, 2014
552
390
Belgium
Don't be usin' no alcohol no mo' !!

And "clean your screen" as LITTLE AS POSSIBLE.
Every time you touch it, you're in danger of damaging the very fragile sprayed on anti-glare coating.
If you clean your screen just use a damp (preferably warm) microfiber cloth.
 

Fishrrman

macrumors Core
Feb 20, 2009
19,981
7,009
"If you clean your screen just use a damp (preferably warm) microfiber cloth"

Even that has the potential to damage the fragile coating on the display surface.
This coating is sprayed on, and it's VERY thin.
It tends to start flaking off all-too-easily.
Hence... "StainGate".

The best way to "care for the display" is to take pro-active steps so that it doesn't need cleaning to begin with.
If there's a little dust on it, use a soft cloth but don't apply "pressure" to the surface -- just "dust the cloth" across it.

If there's actually something ON the surface, use a dampened cloth.
Rub the surface gently, as little as possible.
Then, repeat the "dusting" as above.
 
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