Who does not eat a sandwich or sip a coffee at their desk? Even if a company offers a cafeteria or if you work remotely, it is not uncommon to see someone unpack their brown bag lunch at their workstation.

Despite a person’s best interest, sometimes small scraps of food might fall onto a person’s MacBook Pro. Eventually, those might get into the keyboard and it might start to feel…different. The MacBook’s spacebar is stuck down, even if the user is not pushing it and it appears to be stuck in place. This is commonly known as sticky keys. It usually happens over time, as food crumbs, dust, and other substances get into a keyboard, causing it to get stuck.

However, this does not mean that the MacBook’s keyboard is permanently broken. Cleaning a sticky MacBook keyboard is quite easy and can be done in the comfort of your own home.

Q: So, I eat at my desk a lot and I think some crumbs and coffee are stuck in my MacBook keyboard. How do I clean it to prevent the keys from sticking?

A: Having isopropyl alcohol, q-tips, toothpicks, and, potentially, a plastic spudger and a cup of hot, soapy water. If you do not own any of these items, any local drug store, hardware, or electronics store should carry one or all these items.

Once you have your items to clean your sticky MacBook keyboard, make sure you turn it off. This is to prevent any potential hardware problems that the cleaning process might cause. Rest assured this will not damage your MacBook but it is still good to take extra precaution.

  1. Place an end of the q-tip in the isopropyl alcohol, but make sure it is damp, no soaking wet.
  2. Next, gently rub the ends around the edges of the sticky keys on the MacBook keyboard. If there is more than one sticky key, you may want to use a different q-tip.
  3. As the isopropyl begins to dry, use a toothpick to pick out any excess crumbs that might still be lingering in the keyboard.
  4. After this, check to see if the keys are still sticking. If it is not, congratulations, the sticky keys are no longer sticky. If not, proceed to the next step.
  5. This is where the spudger comes in. Place it underneath the still-sticky key and slowly pry it up. As the key is pried up, use your index and thumb to pick it off.
  6. You will notice there are small, white pieces of plastic that hold the keys on the keyboard.
  7. Place the key into the cup of soap and water, and have it soak for about 10 minutes.
  8. Grab another q-tip and damp it with isopropyl alcohol to wipe down the empty key spot.
  9. Take the keys out of the cup of water and make sure to dry them thoroughly. A paper towel or a lint-free microfiber cloth will work.
  10. Finally, place the keys back on. Make sure to do one final test to see if it is still sticking.

By following these steps you will be able to keep your MacBook keyboard clean. If you want to take another step to clean your computer, it is good to keep in mind how to properly disinfect your MacBook.