How to Clean MacBook Keyboard

The keyboard is probably the dirtiest part of your MacBook. No matter how clean you are or how often you wash your hands, the germs and sweat from your fingers and the dust in your room will find their way to your keys.

A dirty keyboard can lead to unresponsive keys and even make you sick! To prevent that, you need to do some surface cleaning and maybe even a deep scrub if your keyboard has been collecting grime for a while.

Luckily, it’s not difficult to do. To clean your MacBook keyboard, simply dust and wipe the surface, wipe up any cleaning solution, and dry the keyboard. Use a can of compressed air if you want to be thorough and leave your keyboard extra shiny.

In this piece, we’re going to teach you all the tricks to clean your keyboard effectively and without damaging or scratching any keys. So, let’s jump in!

Grab Your Cleaning Gear

How to Clean MacBook Keyboard

To give your MacBook keyboard a proper cleaning, you’re going to need some tools. While some of them are technically optional, we strongly recommend using them. Trust us, they’re going to make your life easier.

Cleaning and Desinfecting the Surface of Your Keyboard

Let’s start with how to clean the work surface of your MacBook Keyboard. Turn off your MacBook and unplug it from the power source. Don’t skip this step because you will be pressing a lot of keys as you clean the keyboard, and you can mess up something on your desktop if it’s on. Unplugging your laptop will also ensure you don’t hurt yourself.

Imagine accidentally changing important settings or deleting crucial files! We certainly don’t want that. So, turn off your MacBook, and think of it as a well-deserved spa-day for this hard-working device.

Now, follow these steps to clean and disinfect the surface of your keyboard.

Shake your MacBook over a trashcan

Open your laptop, turn it upside down and shake it gently over a trashcan to remove any dirt, dust or food crumbs that have fallen beneath the keyboard. Make sure to use one hand to grab the base of the MacBook and the other to hold the display in place as you shake the laptop. This way you will avoid damaging the hinges.

You might not notice any debris fall out of the keyboard, but that’s no reason to worry—it simply means you’re a very clean person! Shaking your laptop will still help breal up unwanted gunk even if it doesn’t fall out just yet.

Dust the surface

Clean MacBook Keyboard

Use a lint-free cloth such as a soft microfiber cloth to wipe away any dust from the surface of your keyboard. You don’t need to apply any pressure on the keyboard as you’re dusting, a light hand will be enough.

Abrasive cloths or paper towels aren’t suitable for this step because they might scratch your keys.

Wipe the surface

Use disinfecting wipes to rid the surface of your keyboard of any spills and stains. They will allow you to clean those hard-to-reach, dirty crevices, and get rid of unseen germs and bacteria as well.

If you’ve had your MacBook for a while, it’s possible that some grime might have accumulated on the surface of your keyboard. You just have to take your time and scrub a bit harder on those dirtier sections. Remember to be careful and gentle to avoid damaging your keyboard.

Apple suggests using Clorox Disinfecting Wipes, but any other kind will do as long as they don’t contain any bleach or hydrogen peroxide.

Another option is to use an electronics cleaner and a microfiber cloth to wipe the surface of your MacBook.

Whatever your choice is, it’s crucial that you avoid spraying liquid directly onto the keyboard and don’t let it pool around it either. Apply the liquid to a microfiber cloth and have another dry cloth nearby to mop up any spills.

Clean up

Use a slightly damp microfiber cloth to wipe up any extra cleaning solution and give your keyboard a final scrubbing.

Remember that liquids are electronics’ worst enemy so make sure you aren’t adding any water to the keyboard with your cloth.

Dry your keyboard

Grab a dry, lint-free, microfiber cloth—yes, another one, but believe it when we say it’s necessary—and thoroughly dry your keyboard before closing up your MacBook. Take extra care to dry between the keys and around the ports.

Finally, turn on your laptop and test all the keys to make sure everything is working as it should.

Getting Rid of Dust and Debris from Your Keyboard

MacBook Keyboard

If your keyboard is extra-dirty, or if the keys are unresponsive, then you might need to do some deeper cleaning.

Using a can of compressed air is an effective method for blowing out any dust and debris from underneath the keys. However, it can’t be used on some older laptops such as a MacBook Pro that’s older than the 2016 model because the air can actually force dust deeper into the laptop.

Now, if you’re sure your MacBook model can take the compressed air, turn it off and do the following:

Spray a can of compressed air into the keyboard

Hold your MacBook at a 75-degree angle to help dirt and debris fall out. You might want to ask a friend to hold your laptop for you so that you can work more comfortably.

Keeping the end of the straw about a half-inch away from the keyboard, spray the compressed air into the keyboard. If you spray any closer to the keys, you risk damaging them, so keep an eye on that.

Hold the can upright, don’t tilt it or invert it, and move it from left to right, moving down the length of the keyboard and then back up to ensure you’ve reached every nook and cranny.

Rotate the laptop

Turn your laptop to the right and keeping it at a 75-degree angle once more, spray the compressed air into the keyboard from left to right, moving up and down the keys. Rotating your MacBook will ensure that dust continues to fall out of your keyboard.

Rotate the laptop once more

Rotate the laptop one last time, hold it at a 75-degree angle, and spray the compressed air to complete your cleaning process.

Guide the nozzle from left to right, tracking up and down the keyboard in a zig-zag manner to allow the compressed air to reach beneath all of the keys at different angles for a thorough cleaning.

Cleaning a MacBook Keyboard the Fun Way!

Have you ever heard of cleaning slime or cleaning gel? No? Then you’re missing out on an incredibly fun way to keep your keyboard nice an clean!

It may seem kind of silly, but this slime is actually quite useful. Simply grab some slime and lay it down on top of your keyboard for a minute or two before removing it. Don’t press down on it because it can get underneath the keys and then things can get a bit messy.

You’ll be surprised at how much dirt, dust and debris the slime picks up!


It’s a fact that keyboards get dirty, no matter how hard you try to avoid it. The good news is that you can keep everything working properly by cleaning your MacBook keyboard regularly.

It’s rather easy to do, and you don’t even need any fancy tools or equipment. Simply keep a few disinfecting wipes around in the office or at home, wipe down the keys after using the keyboard and you’re all set!

Liam Weissman

A lover of MacBook Air and the Dell XPS line of laptops, Liam has been researching and writing as a guest blogger for numerous websites for over 10 years. Now, he blogs about tech trends, PCs, laptops, gadgets, and other emerging gadgets on

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