macrumors newbie
Original poster
May 24, 2008
Hello people,

I wanted to clean my keyboard properly. At first I thought I could use alcohol to clean it, but now that I'm sitting here I'm a bit worried that the keyboard might somehow react with it and make it look worse. I don't think alcohol can react with plastic or aluminum but I don't know if this is true :<

The bottle I got here is 70% ethanol in water with a bit methanol added. The Apple website doesn't state I cannot use alcohol to clean a keyboard, while it mentions so for the other Apple products ( ). I would appreciate it if someone could shed some light on this :)

I tried to search for it, but couldn't get a definite answer. Most cleaning questions seem to be about the monitor.

Many thanks in advance :)

Feed Me

macrumors 6502a
Jan 7, 2012
Location Location
I don't know if the alcohol would damage the keyboard or not, but alcohol is generally discouraged when you're cleaning things with a shiny finish, for fear that the alcohol may dissolve the finish. In the case of the keyboard, I don't think anything will likely dissolve in the process.

I would say that using alcohol would be fine, but I'd still rather use a moist, soapy cloth, and then wash with a moist soapless cloth.


macrumors regular
Feb 14, 2011
I use it. On a cloth w/ some water. Fingers=germs on keyboard. Alcohol kills germs. Don't over wet the keyboard or over scrub.


macrumors Westmere
May 16, 2008
The Apple website doesn't state I cannot use alcohol to clean a keyboard, while it mentions so for the other Apple products ( ).
You need to read the information in the link you posted more carefully. It says:
Don’t use window cleaners, household cleaners, aerosol sprays, solvents, alcohol, ammonia, or abrasives to clean...
That goes for all Apple products.

How to clean Apple products

Apple also gives instructions on how to clean your Mac in the User Guides for the MBA, MBP and iMac:
Cleaning your Mac When cleaning the outside of your Mac and its components, first shut down your Mac, and then unplug the power adapter. Then use a damp, soft, lint-free cloth to clean the Mac exterior. Avoid getting moisture in any openings. Do not spray liquid directly on the computer. Do not use aerosol sprays, solvents, or abrasives that might damage the finish.

Cleaning the Mac screen To clean your Mac screen, first shut down your Mac and unplug the power adapter. Then use a soft, lint-free cloth dampened with just water and wipe the screen. Do not spray liquid directly on the screen.
Also, you'll find plenty of suggestions by searching through the many existing threads on this topic.


macrumors 65816
Apr 25, 2011
Fingers=germs on keyboard. Alcohol kills germs.
Oh don't be silly. There's so many germs on your fingers and everything around you already like you wouldn't believe, and nor should you try to kill them either.

A, because humans are actually adjusted to live with lots of germs on our skin and we even depend on them to stay healthy, and...

B, killing germs help make them stronger and harder to kill, because not all germs will die and those who survive will spread their superior genes to their descendants. Therefore, don't buy, or use anti-bacterial ANYTHING, unless you're a surgeon and are scrubbing in for an operation or something like that. That means no anti-bacterial soap, dishwashing liquid, cleaning spray, mouthwash, toothpaste and so on. All of that junk just toughen those little buggers up more and make the dangerous bacteria even more dangerous.

Theoretically btw, chemical products might wipe off the print on the keyboard keys. Product manuals typically discourage the use of any volatile solvents (such as alcohol, or thinner) for this reason. Some volatiles will actually attack the plastic itself, although alcohol probably isn't strong enough to do that.


macrumors newbie
Jun 28, 2006
Bah! Don't even give it a second thought. I use isopryl alcohol (90%) to clean my keyboards all the time. It makes them look like new. I've also used it to clean up grimy spots on white MacBooks with excellent results.

Basically rubbing alcohol + a ton of q-tips = squeaky clean keyboards.
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