I have a new MacBook, and love using its keyboard. However, I fear that the area where I rest my palms will get dirty over time - a shame, considering how great the unibody aluminum looks!

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The industry standard of protection solutions seems to be the Moshi PalmGuard. What I don't like about it is that it's permanent: you stick it onto the machine. It promises to come off without a trace, but I would still prefer a solution that I can put in place, and remove whenever I want.

Are there any solutions for this? I do not use the trackpad, so it could well cover the entire front area for my purposes.


I love a clean mac and have seen all sorts of ones with all manner of paint, grease, and plain old skin oil and dirt. I would worry about the keyboard more than the palm rests. (the area with speaker perforations and the keyboard tray area)

cleaning diagram

I always start with plain water to clean, then move to either alcohol or a light detergent (very watery mix) with no colors or scents if possible. I use that all over the mac - but the aluminum area you indicated is both solid and not affected by much stronger cleaners. I have seen macs with nail polish and acrylic paints come clean in that area.

As long as your cloth is damp and not dripping, even cleaning the trackpad area won't introduce liquid to the battery bay. It's of course best to have the mac off, just in case there is a spill to avoid a short.

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  • Cool! Just cleaning it frequently didn't come to my mind at all. I think I saw some massive stains on a friend's 6-year-old MBP that looked impossible to get out, but then that one probably wasn't cleaned at all, and the aluminum on the late 2011 MBP looks really, really sturdy and should withstand pretty much everything. I'll do this, thanks! – Pekka Mar 13 '12 at 21:37
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    Certain dirt and pigments can get into the machined surface and require a solvent to lift. I'd say that's a rare occurrence and you'd get good advice from Apple on cleaning if you got into a situation where you were hesitant to try a deeper cleaning. – bmike Mar 13 '12 at 21:44
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    The unibody is pretty easy to clean, just make sure it doesn't get scratched! – JW8 Mar 13 '12 at 22:01
  • I've been using my MacBook for almost 8 months and this answer has turned out to be so, so true. The really hard part is to keep the keyboard area clean. – Pekka Oct 28 '12 at 20:33

If you don't care about the trackpad, then regular plastic wrap might be a cheap and effective solution.

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