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MacBook Air spill advice
Posted by: BernDog
Date: May 09, 2020 02:26PM
So, my daughter spilled a good amount of milk into her 2015 MacBook Air. I’ve read what people do over the years and I’m aware of “best practices.” She brought it to me right away with the keyboard upside down. I immediately powered it down. With it still in that position I tilted it around and got a fair amount to run back out and blotted/wiped what I could. I then set to disassembling as much as possible. I have it broken down completely to the top case/screen. I’m fairly confident she didn’t get any on/in the screen and I just didn’t want to get into disassembling the hinge area and display cable any more than I needed to.

I removed the bottom case, battery, logic board, I/o board, trackpad, airport card, and fan...pretty much everything you can break down shy of removing the display. I found a little bit of milk around the fan exhaust and surface of the fan outer case, under the trackpad board, and in a couple other small “surface” type of areas. My only concern on those from what I saw was that it may have gotten into the fan bearing area (not sure), and under the trackpad board. In all areas, I carefully applied some distilled water to try to dilute the milk a little. I dabbed some under the trackpad board and then blew it out a few times until what came out looked clear instead of milky. As far as I’m concerned, I’ve done all I can there. I plan on leaving it out to dry for a couple days to see what happens. Part of me wants to follow with some isopropyl, but my fear is that if I apply too much liquid, it may just carry milk residue deeper and into places not already affected.

My final concern is the keyboard. I pulled a couple key caps, and the milk seems pretty pervasive in there. I can see moisture moving when I push on a rubber done, but it’s under the membrane part where I can’t get at it.

I know with some keyboards, people will go as far as putting them in the dishwasher. I know I can’t do that with backlight and other circuitry under the keyboard. Pulling off all the key caps seems to tedious and dangerous. I don’t know how I’d manage to do it without breaking at least a few hinges. Plus, that doesn’t get me under the keyboard membrane anyway.

My thoughts are this: let it all air out for a couple days and assess. No matter what, it’ll smell sour. I figure I hope for the best, though, and that the keys won’t stick too bad and all the electronics will be fine. Again, I’m mostly concerned about the keyboard. I’m assuming the contacts in there are fairly robust, since it’s a keyboard. Hopefully much less delicate than a circuit board.

Does anyone have any further suggestions for doing anything more with the keyboard or other parts at this time?



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 05/09/2020 02:38PM by BernDog.
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Re: MacBook Air spill advice
Posted by: rjmacs
Date: May 09, 2020 02:44PM
I've not heard of people successfully cleaning laptop keyboard assemblies in the dishwasher, just old-school full-size keyboards...

Sounds yucky - good luck!



rj
AKA
Vreemac, Moth of the Future
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Re: MacBook Air spill advice
Posted by: Carm
Date: May 09, 2020 02:45PM
You pretty much have done what I would have. Alcohol is your friend. Get some in there under the keys membrane. Recently helped my son with his Corsair keyboard. He took it apart and we scrubbed it with alcohol. Put back together and it was partially dead, he reopened it and I looked it over. A small cable had come unsoldered. Fixed that and it was working again.

Edit: there is an electronics parts cleaner spray. I bought it at Walmart. I used it to fix my daughters partially wet smart watch. I would try that as a last resort.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 05/09/2020 02:47PM by Carm.
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Re: MacBook Air spill advice
Posted by: Carm
Date: May 09, 2020 02:50PM
Used keyboard on eBay runs about $25
[www.ebay.com]
Buy replacement. Save your sanity
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Re: MacBook Air spill advice
Posted by: BernDog
Date: May 09, 2020 03:09PM
Quote
Carm
Used keyboard on eBay runs about $25
[www.ebay.com]
Buy replacement. Save your sanity

That’ll be the plan, along with a trackpad if necessary. I’m 90% sure all the delicate bits were spared, so replacement parts will be the next go-to.

I can get used airs pretty cheap from the community college where I teach a couple classes. I can usually pick them up for about half of what they go for on eBay at the time. I can replace it fully if I need to. The problem is everything being shut down right now. I have 3 kids each with their own air, and they use them daily for home school. I have an old pro as a spare that she can use for school, but she won’t be able to do much else with it. I just want to make sure I’ve done what I can before completely giving up on a system.
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Re: MacBook Air spill advice
Posted by: Carm
Date: May 09, 2020 03:39PM
The milk in the key dome will be a problem. I would flush as much water first then alcohol through keyboard you can to get the milk out. Milk will leave residue that will cause problems for contact in keyboard membrane.

Edit: that’s great you can get reduced pricing on Macs and parts



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 05/09/2020 03:40PM by Carm.
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Re: MacBook Air spill advice
Posted by: space-time
Date: May 09, 2020 04:58PM
You pretty much have done what I would have.

I agree. I am not sure that I would have gone that far. sounds like pretty massive surgery. Isn't the battery glued in those things? maybe not.

Alcohol is your friend.

Yes, if I was in a similar situation, I would use distiller water and/or alcohol. Although to be honest, I am not sure what alcohol does to milk. If it was sugar in the milk. Was this pure milk or it had something else in it, especially sugar?

good luck!
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Re: MacBook Air spill advice
Posted by: JoeH
Date: May 09, 2020 05:28PM
Distilled water followed by the alcohol is what I would do. You want to get as much milk with its dissolved sugars and emulsified fats rinsed out first, the sugars especially don't dissolve as well in alcohol as water.

Also remember that many of the components were rinsed with water based solutions during and after assembly. They have moved away from many of the solvents used in the past for cleanup for environmental reasons. So just getting everything dry afterwards is what is important.
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Re: MacBook Air spill advice
Posted by: NewtonMP2100
Date: May 09, 2020 05:41PM
.....milk.....it will do a body good.....



_____________________________________

I reject your reality and substitute my own!
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Re: MacBook Air spill advice
Posted by: Carm
Date: May 09, 2020 06:30PM
S-T water to get as much of the milk out and alcohol to help get the water out.
Alcohol helps the water evaporate faster.
[www.electronicsforu.com]
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Re: MacBook Air spill advice
Posted by: BernDog
Date: May 09, 2020 07:32PM
So, can I basically just pour some alcohol in, slosh it around, and pour it out?
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Re: MacBook Air spill advice
Posted by: Carm
Date: May 09, 2020 07:50PM
Quote
BernDog
So, can I basically just pour some alcohol in, slosh it around, and pour it out?
Pretty much. In a well ventilated area.
If possible, soak and push the keys to slosh the crap out under the dome. Remove the keys to determine the extent of the milk intrusion.

Edit: completely understand about places being closed.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 05/09/2020 07:51PM by Carm.
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Re: MacBook Air spill advice
Posted by: BernDog
Date: May 09, 2020 07:54PM
Quote
Carm
Quote
BernDog
So, can I basically just pour some alcohol in, slosh it around, and pour it out?
Pretty much. In a well ventilated area.
If possible, soak and push the keys to slosh the crap out under the dome. Remove the keys to determine the extent of the milk intrusion.

Edit: completely understand about places being closed.

I’ve used alcohol to clean up circuits and other connections, but I was concerned about adhesives and soft pieces. Like I said, I’m going to leave the key caps on. To much potential for messing them up.

Thanks!
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Re: MacBook Air spill advice
Posted by: Carm
Date: May 09, 2020 08:02PM
Understand about adhesives and such, dilute the alcohol more if it’s concerning.
[cleanmyspace.com]



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 05/09/2020 08:04PM by Carm.
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Re: MacBook Air spill advice
Posted by: BernDog
Date: May 09, 2020 08:54PM
Quote
Carm
Understand about adhesives and such, dilute the alcohol more if it’s concerning.
[cleanmyspace.com]

I thought about that, but I’ve always tried to use the high-test stuff with electronics (91% in these parts). Decided to stick with it. I figured diluting it would just add more water to the equation. Plus, the faster drying time might be better for the soft parts since it doesn’t hang around as long. I just wanted to make sure someone didn’t came back with, “NO, DON’T DO THAT!”
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Re: MacBook Air spill advice
Posted by: Carm
Date: May 09, 2020 09:15PM
Quote
BernDog
Quote
Carm
Understand about adhesives and such, dilute the alcohol more if it’s concerning.
[cleanmyspace.com]

I thought about that, but I’ve always tried to use the high-test stuff with electronics (91% in these parts). Decided to stick with it. I figured diluting it would just add more water to the equation. Plus, the faster drying time might be better for the soft parts since it doesn’t hang around as long. I just wanted to make sure someone didn’t came back with, “NO, DON’T DO THAT!”

They’re asleep right now. So go ahead. ;)
Edit: The alcohol will dilute with whatever water is left. So there’s that.....



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 05/09/2020 09:26PM by Carm.
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Re: MacBook Air spill advice
Posted by: BernDog
Date: May 09, 2020 11:35PM
Quote
Carm
Quote
BernDog
Quote
Carm
Understand about adhesives and such, dilute the alcohol more if it’s concerning.
[cleanmyspace.com]

I thought about that, but I’ve always tried to use the high-test stuff with electronics (91% in these parts). Decided to stick with it. I figured diluting it would just add more water to the equation. Plus, the faster drying time might be better for the soft parts since it doesn’t hang around as long. I just wanted to make sure someone didn’t came back with, “NO, DON’T DO THAT!”

They’re asleep right now. So go ahead. ;)
Edit: The alcohol will dilute with whatever water is left. So there’s that.....

LOL!

I meant someone on here, but that just made my night!
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