Is my old Apple USB keyboard really (soggy) toast?

(Simon) #1

So the other day I wiped down my trusted old Apple USB KB. I thought it was just a damp cloth (with just a tad of Windex), but apparently it was more wet than damp. Immediately afterwards several keys in the area between F11/12 and <>/ stopped working. The space key stopped working too. After a couple hours lying in the sun next to my desk, several keys (like space) worked again, but a few (like volume up/down, that is F11/12) still don’t work even several days later. Is there any hope or is it a goner?

Unfortunately, Apple stopped selling wired USB KBs a while back. At work on a desk with what seems like miles of all kinds of cables, the last thing I’m going to do is get a wireless KB with all that entails. But I was lucky enough to find a factory-sealed Apple USB KB on Amazon (for a pricy $114 shipped) so I’m back in business. But I figured before I toss my trusty old KB I’d check with the experts if there’s any hope. It served me well for about 10 years on 3 different continents so apologies for being a bit sentimental. :slight_smile:


There’s a chance it might not be DOA. It can take a few days for a keyboard to dry out. When this happened at a few places I worked, the IT people would take the top of the keyboard off, turn both parts over and give them gentle shakes, as water can accumulate underneath the parts. The next step would be to use a blow dryer they kept for incidents such as this. Then they’d let it sit for at least a day or two.

It might be worth a try.

(Simon) #3

Thanks! That sounds like very good advice.

I’m just not sure about how to pry open Apple’s case for the KB. Can’t recognize anything obvious. Maybe I’ll find something on the web about that.

(Neil Laubenthal) #4

Sit it out in the sun for a couple of days…or on top of a radiator or something that will heat it up to around 90-100F to help dry it out…although the chemicals in the Windex might cause some long term damage to the innards.

(Simon) #5

I was worried about that. Even though tap water is nowhere close to demineralized water, it still should evaporate without leaving too much gunk behind. But the Windex I guess could contain stuff that might be corrosive or leave the wrong residue in the wrong locations.

I’ve received the new KB so I can set the old one up right in the sun and keep it hot and dry for a while. Maybe I’ll be lucky. If not, at least I learned a good lesson. :wink:

(Randy B. Singer) #6

I’ve had some limited success with electronics cleaner. Just make sure that you get one that is completely safe for plastics, and even better one that displaces water.

(Simon) #7

Thanks for the advice, Randy. Looks surprisingly inexpensive.

(B. Jefferson Le Blanc) #8

A good way to clean a keyboard is with screen cleaner, using a microfiber cloth. Spray a modest amount of the cleaner on the cloth and scrub the keyboard (while the computer is turned off, of course). It will remove most dirt and gunk from the keys and the spaces between the keys. Best of all, it will evaporate in the air so if you get a little to much on the keyboard it will dissipate much more quickly than water or windex.