I somehow managed yesterday to spill some soda over part of my 2010 MacBook Pro's keyboard - it stayed mostly in the keyboard area, touching the F8-F12 and 8 through equals keys. I shut down the Mac, cleaned it up, made reasonably sure nothing had drained into the keyboard itself, then rebooted. The computer itself seems to be working fine.

The issue is that the right half of the keyboard, including the couple rows below the spill, is now significantly diminished in terms of backlight. I've tried grabbing Lab Tick, and the brightness does seem to adjust when I alter the setting, just not up to the same amount that it had pre-spill. Before I go resetting my SMC, I'd like to know - are there other alternatives for cleaning the keyboard or restoring the brightness? The keys aren't sticky at all, just dimmed, and the laptop is still covered under AppleCare.

2 Answers 2


Unfortunately, there's not a lot that you can do. Liquid damage is tough to repair without replacing components. The only way to get to the underside of the top case is to remove every component in the machine, which I'm guessing you're not set up or trained to do. Even if you could get to it, it's unlikely that you'd be able to restore the backlight. The best thing to do is to take your machine to the Apple Store and tell them exactly what happened. Since liquid damage is not covered by AppleCare, you will have to pay for this. Sometimes they are able to help you out with the repair cost, but not always. The worst case scenario would be sending the machine to an Apple repair center for a complete repair of all components affected. This costs a flat rate of around $1250.

I know this isn't the news you were hoping for, but I hope it helps!

  • 1
    Thanks for the info, even if it's not the best news - I appreciate it!
    – Tim
    Commented Jan 12, 2012 at 16:03

Have you tried opening the keyboard, and cleaning it with distilled water and/or IPA (isopropyl alcohol)?

I cannot guarantee if it will work so late after the accident, but distilled water will clean off any deposits from liquids if applied quickly enough.

Leave it dry naturally, possibly in an airing cupboard at 20 deg C. Do not apply heat directly as you'll damage it.

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