I have a pretty recent macbook pro 15in, aluminum unibody, probably not yet one year old.

It mainly gets used in clamshell mode connected to an external monitor. I've noticed frequently now when I take it out for use as a proper laptop, the left side Option and Command keys have an oily substance seeping out of them, with a corresponding spot on the screen where it touches those keys when closed.

Any ideas on what's causing this?

  • 2
    What finger do you put on those keys? Do you often put that finger in your ear?
    – user588
    Feb 1, 2011 at 4:23
  • @Mankoff that'd be a lot of oil, lol :) Feb 1, 2011 at 10:02
  • did you ever find out what was causing this? I've got the same problem, or a similar one.
    – user45589
    Mar 20, 2013 at 1:49
  • If someone accidentally spilled something on their keyboard, would they perhaps wipe it up and think they didn't need to tell you (unaware that the keys can hold significant volume of liquid under them sue to the small spaces present and the hollow plastic pieces? You'd know if your fingers were greasy, but this sure sounds like a spill in all likelihood.
    – bmike
    Mar 20, 2013 at 1:54
  • @dave: Nope, never found out the cause... still happens a bit but I've given up on it.
    – jemminger
    Mar 21, 2013 at 19:41

2 Answers 2


Sounds like oil from your hands to be honest

  • This is happening after he's been using it closed. There's a corresponding oily spot on the screen. Sounds like something from the laptop to me. Feb 1, 2011 at 14:50
  • I'd ditto this answer. The plastics of the keyboard will not do that, though I have seen certain rubberizes/silicone things do it. If there's not some low-quality keyboard cover involved, then it's something from outside the computer. Feb 2, 2011 at 5:49
  • It could very well be oil from my hands, but it's just strange that it's ONLY those two keys. My hands aren't particularly oily, nor do I spend most of my time resting on those two keys either :-/
    – jemminger
    Feb 2, 2011 at 14:37
  • Can you take a photo? Feb 2, 2011 at 14:52

As far as I know, the only places on a MacBook Pro that have any liquid in them are the LCD and the battery. In either case, it's not pleasant stuff, and definitely shouldn't be leaving it's respective container.

If it's only a year old, take it to the Apple store for service. But first, wash your hands.

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