unibody is painted

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by bad joke, Mar 30, 2011.

  1. bad joke macrumors newbie

    Mar 30, 2011
    I love the unibody. I've watched the video of how apple machines the unibody from a solid block of aluminum. WOW. I have two, one from Nov 2010 and one just bought. I admire these laptops almost as if they were works of art.

    So, when I got ready to sell one of them, and cleaned some dirt off with a moist cloth and a bit of soap, I was not looking forward to discovering that there's is a dirtly little secret I didn't know about:

    Unibodys have some sort of coating, and that coating came off with a bit of moisture and soap. It changed the finish and created opaque, matte, whitish stains on parts of my unibody - just like when you rub paint off a plastic product.

    If it ever happened to you, you will know what I'm talking about.

    I'm taking it to the apple store tomorrow, see what they have to say.
  2. Apple 26.2, Mar 30, 2011
    Last edited: Mar 30, 2011

    Apple 26.2 macrumors 6502a

    Apple 26.2

    Jan 1, 2011
    What up, 212?!
    Not sure soap & water are approved for cleaning.


    What are you expecting at the store?
  3. mac jones macrumors 68040

    Apr 6, 2006
    I don't think this is correct. The surface is brushed aluminum, as far as I can tell, and can scuff and mark if your not careful.

    Perhaps you used an abrasive, or applied too much pressure?

    Sorry about your problem.
  4. paulrbeers macrumors 68040

    Dec 17, 2009
    BS. The unibody is not painted. However, there is an anti-corrosion layer to the aluminum and if you removed that coating, you may have caused oxidation of the underlying aluminum which all metals are susceptible to (hence the coating).

    Seriously, do a LITTLE research first....

    Edit: I wish you could report "idiot theads" to moderators....
  5. deadwulfe macrumors 6502a


    Feb 18, 2010
    You should have waited two days before posting this. That and recognize that the bottom of a coke can or a sheet of aluminum foil does not feel as silky smooth as a MBP, before rubbing away the anodized layer.
  6. snaky69 macrumors 603

    Mar 14, 2008
    The MBP are hard anodized, I strongly doubt you managed to rub that finish off with a little soap and water.

    You most likely left soap residue on the surface. Use rubbing alcohol and a micro-fiber cloth on the body and watch it gain it's original look in instants.
  7. bad joke thread starter macrumors newbie

    Mar 30, 2011
    macbook pro unibody oxidation blemishes

    You definitely shouldn't EVER use water it you're not skilled with manual tasks and plan on letting moisture seep into the keyboard or the trackpad or the screen. That's a big NO.

    I used some steel wool, sanding paper and Drano liquid clog remover to clean it my macbook pro unibody, so I don't think that's abrasive...

    JK. Dude, I used water and a low concentration of gentle soap. With only 3 seconds exposure to moisture, its nearly impossible for most metals to enter into a chemical reaction with the oxigen bound in the water molecules. Especially not aluminum, which is one of he least corrosive metals.

    Audi builds their cars of aluminum and they do not ever rust, even with snow and salt from harsh winters, for many many years. Airplanes are build from Aluminum because they're highly resistant to corrosion. MacBook Pro, 3 seconds of moisture = problem?

    I just found this info:

    You bought aluminum furniture or equipment because you thought it wouldn't rust. It doesn't rust. But it does get those crusty, dull white or grey oxidation blemishes and layers. Aluminum oxidation removal for lawn and garden furniture can be both necessary and difficult. But if you know your options, it becomes much easier. This article will teach you options for aluminum oxidation removal for garden furniture and a step by step method for evaluating and carrying out your options.


    * 1

    Evaluate your aluminum oxidation removal problem. There are three levels of aluminum oxidation: light, medium and heavy. Light aluminum oxidation means you have only a few spots of oxidation. The finish appears only slightly dull with no hard or crusty places or pits in the metal. Medium aluminum oxidation means the finish is very dull and there is a white layer of oxidation over most or all of the metal with some pitting. Heavy aluminum oxidation means the finish is so bad that it is "crusty" in some places with pits and working parts may be hard to move.
    * 2

    If you have a light aluminum oxidation removal problem, you can use an acid-free consumer aluminum oxidation removal product. These come in sprays and pastes. They work like any buffing compound. You rub or spray them onto the aluminum and buff with a cloth, following the directions on the container. This method can require a good amount of "elbow grease." A power buffer is not necessary, but it can make the job go faster and easier. If you use a power buffer, be sure to use a new buffing pad of soft cloth.
    * 3

    If you have a medium aluminum oxidation removal problem, you might still be able to succeed with an acid-free consumer aluminum oxidation removal product and simple elbow grease -- but prepare for a lot of work. Use the product at the highest strength recommended on the container. You will certainly want to use a power buffer if one is available to you. If the consumer aluminum oxidation removal product does not work on your medium aluminum oxidation removal problem, you'll need to take things to the next level, in Step 4.
    * 4

    If you have a medium aluminum oxidation removal problem which is not solved by the procedure recommended in step 3, or if you have a heavy aluminum oxidation removal problem, you may need to take stronger measures. Start with a consumer or professional grade aluminum oxidation removal product which contains Phosphoric acid. Carefully read and follow every safety precaution on the container. You may need to pay special attention to the pitted places. Be prepared to see the finish become uneven -- some metal will be lightly eroded away by the acid and extreme buffing. You may even need to use some sandpaper: medium grit, then fine grit, then a buffing compound to renew the shine.

    Read more: Aluminum Oxidation Removal | eHow.com http://www.ehow.com/how_4548139_aluminum-oxidation-removal.html#ixzz1I8E19MNK

    Something else is going on here. I'll let you know what Apple - or what the random guy at the Genius Bar happens to think.
  8. P Mentior macrumors regular

    Sep 20, 2008
    I'm going togo with snaky69 and say that what you are seeing is most likely some soap residue. The unibody does have an anodized finish and this in intentional and really, really, should not be removed.
  9. miles01110 macrumors Core


    Jul 24, 2006
    The Ivory Tower (I'm not coming down)
    The unibody is not hard anodized. It is powder coated, which is a kind of a halfway between anodizing and painting.
  10. bad joke thread starter macrumors newbie

    Mar 30, 2011
    Mr Clean Magic Earser

    If that were the case, there's still hope for me. Do you guys know how to remove the soap residue? Water obviously is not doing the trick here.

    It seems some people use Mr Clean Magic Eraser. Do you concur? Has anybody successfully dealt with this issue? Thanks for the feedback.
  11. bad joke thread starter macrumors newbie

    Mar 30, 2011
    Thanks for the suggestion. I just tried it, but unfortunately the "blemishes" are still there.
  12. tey112 macrumors member

    Mar 30, 2011
    Macbook Pro 2006 Same Way

    My old 2006 macbook pro was the same. I dropped something beneath the keyboard and tried to get it out with a paper clip. The paper clip took off the standard metal look and revealed the shiny metal below it. When I was at the genius bar sometime later the genius commented "whoa? it does that?"

    in other words, be gentle with it.
  13. Jiten macrumors 6502a


    Jul 16, 2008
    Official Apple instructions for cleaning


    I'm pretty sure soap is not on the list.

    Magic cleaner is an abrasive, like very fine sandpaper, it will scrape your aluminum Mac's finish so I don't recommend it. MC is only good for matte textured plastic parts such as some sections of the white Macbook.
  14. bad joke thread starter macrumors newbie

    Mar 30, 2011
    mmmmh... here's what it says:

    "Portable computers

    Important: Do not use isopropyl alcohol or a similar product on the bare LCD panel. Use only a damp, soft, lint-free cloth or LCD cleaning product.

    Aluminum portables

    Use a damp, soft, lint-free cloth. It is also safe to use isopropyl alcohol 70% on the enclosure parts. Remove any surface dirt gently with your bare hand before proceeding with a cleaner and cloth. After cleaning, dry the aluminum with a soft, lint-free cloth.

    * Do not use window sprays or cleaning products containing ammonia, chlorine, or abrasive ingredients."

    Mild, non abrasive soap should have been ok then. I tried alcohol and it didn't work.

    I went out and bought the CVS generic of Mr Clean Magic Eraser and I tried it, sort of gently and wiping it dry immediately with a dish towel and the cleaning cloth that comes with the macbook.

    It looks like it worked. I can't be sure until I see it tomorrow in full daylight.

    Alcohol 70% I tried, it didn't do a thing.
  15. Miss Terri macrumors 6502

    Nov 11, 2010
    US East Coast
    As snaky69 mentioned, the unibody Macbook Pros are anodized. This is an electrolytic passivation (electro-chemical) process that is used so that the aluminum oxidizes and creates its own harder outside finish. It's not a paint or a coating.

    It's very possible to scratch, abrade (chafe), or otherwise damage the anodizing, but I don't think normal soap and water, used gently, would harm it (even though this may not be the recommended cleaning method). If you used an abrasive pad though, that could cause a problem.

    Miss Terri

    (Not a metallurgist, but I work with anodized aluminum boat parts.)
  16. snorkeller1 macrumors newbie

    Apr 24, 2003

    Has the term 'unibody' ever literally meant 'hewn from a solid billet of aluminum' ?

    AFAIK the bottom of my 'unibody' MBP5,1 is plastic (polycarbonate?), as is the swing-coverlet over the ExpressCard34 port.
  17. Jethryn Freyman macrumors 68020

    Jethryn Freyman

    Aug 9, 2007
    You're probably flaking off a layer of aluminium.
  18. miles01110 macrumors Core


    Jul 24, 2006
    The Ivory Tower (I'm not coming down)
    Then why does it chip off? Hard anodization does not chip off. Macbook Pros have never been true hard anodized. The powder coating has been chipping off on the palm rests of the "classic" style PBs/MBPs since aluminum was introduced into the product line.
  19. Ccrew macrumors 68020

    Feb 28, 2011
    Correct on the hard anodized. Thing is anything caustic can and will lift the anodization layer.

    Best way to get anodizing off is actually old fashioned lye oven cleaner.
  20. AlphaDogg macrumors 68040


    May 20, 2010
    Boulder, CO

    Nope. It's anodized aluminum.
  21. bad joke thread starter macrumors newbie

    Mar 30, 2011
    THE best cleaning solution for MacBooks - stains are gone


    This is what my almost new MBP looked like in bright daylight. See those whitish areas? They didn't come off with water, soap or alcohol. I thought I had ruined it.

    Last night I tried the Mr Clean Magic Eraser (actually, I got the cheaper CVS generic) and....

    The stains are gone and the computer looks like brand spanking new again!!!!!

    I don't know what's inside that magic sponge, and probably I don't want to know, but it really worked like a miracle.

    Huge sigh of relief here.
  22. MacHamster68 macrumors 68040


    Sep 17, 2009
    if it would be anodized soap would not harm it , i ride motorcycles with lots of anodized alloy parts and i can really use as much soap as i want , even use petrol without harming these anodized parts putting as much pressure on them as i can manage (you MacBook would get dents and even bend from the pressure i use to get that mixture of tarmac/break dust /oil and such off the alloy rims
  23. AlphaDogg macrumors 68040


    May 20, 2010
    Boulder, CO
    But that's because it's so thin compared to motorcycle parts.
  24. b-rad g macrumors 6502a

    b-rad g

    Jun 29, 2010
  25. Blu101 macrumors 6502a


    Sep 10, 2010
    Aluminum can and will corrode, if the protective oxide film is removed, i.e. through a continuously abrasive process, for example. This layer is very, very thin.

    Auto manufacturers and others use aluminum for its good anti-corrosion properties among other reasons (it's also one of the most abundant metals on the planet, low-density and good tensile strength), but even here the overall corrosion resistance results from not only the base material - aluminum - but also the coatings used to protect the aluminum and its oxide film layer, i.e. paints, chromate coatings, anodizing processes, etc.

    This is why you don't clean a MBP with the wrong stuff. Next time, start with something like iKlear and skip the soap and water.

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