Spilled Coffee Only One Line of Keys Does Not Work

I spilled coffee on the upper left part of my keyboard, turned it over and then off, dried it, and waited. I turned it back on and the computer seems to be working fine except for the third row of keys in the middle.

The keys from "w" to "o" don't work (i.e.: w e r t y u i o). Coffee was not even spilled on the right half of the keys. I removed several of the keys and cleaned them with alcohol but they still don't work. Many of them are not even sticky.

There is no backlighting on part of the left side of the keyboard which seems to roughly correspond to where I spilled the coffee. But, on the "t"-"o" keys the backlighting works fine, the keys just don't work.

Would there be some short in the "wire" that connects these keys to the logic board? Any other ideas? Would it make sense to open the computer up and try to clean from the inside?

Quotes from our local mac shop are pretty expensive just to look at the thing.

Any insight is much appreciated!

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there are many plastic layers with conductive traces inside the keyboard so I think the keyboard should be opened and the plastic layers cleaned before the traces are dissolved by the coffee. Doing so could also restore the keyboard backlight if you clean this specific layer (first one under the keyboard).

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Just to clarify, I need to remove the upper case guide per the link above and then there are layers under the keyboard that I can pull apart and clean. I would just pull these apart and brush with alcohol and then put everything back together.


hi jeff, yes - but be very careful! i would use something that matches the space between the traces, bon't use to much alcohol on the keyboard - it could probably dissolve the traces too!) - there is also the possibility that some of the traces are gone - but there are ways to fix that too. just open it and look inside. if something looks "odd" - you can always take pictures and upload it here (image tab on the bottom left and then drag and drop it in the "add your answer field" (doesn't work in the comments)


Thanks so much. I will step slowly and may do as you say on the pictures. Stay tuned...


I went through the process of cleaning up the keyboard and put it back together. The same keys did not work. However, now the trackpad does not work.

So, I took the computer in to our local mac repair, and they said that there is a problem somewhere in the connection to or on the circuit board that is preventing the trackpad from working. The keyboard and all else with the computer is working fine.

Is there a way to check the ribbon connection to the keyboard?

Thanks for any additional help!


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I think you can try to fix it - but as always with fluid damages - it's possible that the damage is not fixable.

disassemble it following the upper case guide.

the keyboard isn't covered in the 13" teardown - but maybe you have to disassemble it like shown on the 15" model: CLICK

look out for "odd" looking stains, fluid damages leave white/greenish stuff between the parts (or connectors) - clean that with ipa (>90%) and a soft paintbrush, let it dry. reassemble it and power it on. good luck

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Thanks for the help/comment! See below on further clarification.


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Jeff Bernicke will be eternally grateful.
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