13" aluminum unibody, 2.0 or 2.4 GHz Core 2 Duo processor.

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Soaking an "Al unibody MacBook" keyboard in Isopropyl alcohol?

My wife spilled a screw driver (Vodka+OJ) into her "Al Unibody MacBook", took it apart and cleaned the best I could. Everything works good accept now after completely drying a few keys really stick and CD/DVDs don't go in and out of Superdrive very easily.

Can I take the keyboard out and soak it in a pool of isopropyl alcohol and maybe the superdrive too. Will this hurt to let either soak in the isopropyl for like a day or so to get the OJ out from between the "key scissors"?

I also noticed, mentioned in another answer, someone stated that OJ can cause damage latter if not all cleaned out as it has a chemical reaction... What is this about?

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Soaking the keyboard in liquid could dissolve the fragile traces printed on the multi layer sheets inside the keyboard. Instead I would remove the keys and scissors, put them in hot water with soap and let them soak for a while. Then I would use isopropyl alcohol and Qtips to clean the area where the scissors are fixed on the keyboard.


Concerning the superdrive I would not soak it. Just remove it from the machine, open it and check if there's signs of moisture inside. If so clean it with isopropyl alcohol / Qtips and clean the laser lens too. Keep the superdrive out of the MB. Now you also need to clean the felt located in the bottom case optical drive slot (where the disk enter in the computer). Since there was OJ on it the felt probably became stiff after drying. That's why it's difficult to slide a disk in the slot. Clean the felt (from the inside and the outside of the bottom case) with Qtips and hot water to remove the OJ from it. Let it dry and try to insert a disk in the slot. If you feel a restriction when passing the disk in the slot from the inside or from the outside that means there's still OJ in the felt. Clean it again.

Orange Juice could corrode the MB internal boards after a while. My advice would be to remove the logic board and clean it if you think there's juice on it. There's a black layer seal under the keyboard that separate the keyboard from the logic board. If the spill was minimal there's a chance the liquid didn't reach the logic board.

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When I tear it down I'll definitely have to take a closer look at the logic board... Thanks for the advise!


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This should be fairly simple, what seems to have happened is all the vodka evaporated just fine, but some juice got left behind, leaving some components sticky. This is a common enough situation and you can search these forums for others with the same issue.

The keyboard is the easiest to clean, simply pop off carefully the keycaps with a pen, and wipe both the cap and the hinge with a wet paper towel.

For the superdrive, remove it using this guide, and then you have a couple of options for cleaning. Your suggestion sounds good, from what I've heard, common rubbing alcohol (usually isopropyl, but ethanol should make no difference) does the trick when used to soak drives. Leave it in for a bit and then let it aerate for a while so all the alcohol can evaporate, then replace it using the guide I linked and you should be fine.

I've never heard of any "chemical reaction" the OJ could cause, and I have know idea how that could happen. What would seem the most dangerous would be the citric acid from the juice having fun with your ICs (which would be now good), so time is probably of the essence.

Just to be sure, you may also want to use the teardown to open your computer up and check for any remaining spillage.

MacBook Unibody Model A1278 Image


MacBook Unibody Model A1278 Teardown



MacBook Unibody Model A1278 Optical Drive Image


MacBook Unibody Model A1278 Optical Drive Replacement



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Thanks for the response... Looks like I'll be takin it apart again this weekend! I think I'll do it early in the morning with a good ol' glass of OJ!


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iyacyas will be eternally grateful.
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