How to Disinfect an Apple Keyboard, Trackpad, and Mouse

Wednesday March 4, 2020 11:06 AM PST by Tim Hardwick

Computer keyboards and input devices can be hotbeds of bacteria, especially if they're used by several people – in a school or office environment, for example.


Regularly disinfecting your Apple keyboard, trackpad, and/or mouse is the best way to sterilize these devices and remove any nasties, and it only takes five minutes to do. Keep reading to learn how.

To follow the steps below, you'll need some bleach-free disinfectant wipes – Apple specifically recommends Lysol Wipes for the job.

  1. Before you do anything else, shut down your Mac and unplug the power adapter.
  2. Take one of the wipes and squeeze it to remove any excess dampness, then gently clean your Mac's trackpad, keyboard, and/or mouse. Keep your pressure light to prevent any excess liquid from escaping onto the surfaces.
  3. Next, use a water-dampened microfiber or lint-free cloth and wipe the areas again.
  4. Take a dry microfiber or lint-free cloth and wipe over the keyboard and trackpad one last time.

Apple has a support document that includes some important "don'ts" when it comes to disinfecting keyboards, trackpads, and mice, so it's worth reiterating them here:

  • Do not use disinfectant wipes containing bleach or disinfectant sprays in general.
  • Do not use an extremely damp disinfectant wipe to clean the area. If you encounter a very damp wipe it may need to be squeezed to remove some of the excess liquid before use.
  • Do not allow the liquid from the disinfectant wipe to sit or pool on the area being disinfected for a long amount of time.
  • Do not use rough towels or cloths to dry the area.
  • Do not use excess force when disinfecting the area around the keyboard; this could damage the keys.

If you're a regular traveler, it's worth picking up something like iKlear iPod Cleaning Kit For All Apple Products. The compact kit costs $19.92 and includes a 1-2 ounce spray bottle and several travel-size antimicrobial polishing cloths.

Top Rated Comments

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Avatar
4 weeks ago


Wearing gloves doesn't stop the transmission of pathogens... It only makes the wearer think it does and therefore causes them to be less aware of what they're touching and reduce the number of times they actually wash their hands. This is especially true in food service. People think because they wear gloves they can do a weak job of washing their hands and then proceed to touch money, tables, handles, trash cans, cutting boards, food items, etc. in the kitchen without ever rewashing. My favorite move is when the glove wearer touches all over the outside of the gloves while he's putting them on, and assumes because he's wearing gloves he's ok. ?‍

Clean hands are preferable to dirty gloves.

McDonald's uses this process.
Score: 5 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
4 weeks ago
Bacteria and viruses are two entirely different things.

Your best course of action is keeping your own hands clean. Soap and water, 20 seconds.

... and there needs to be an automatic trip-line installed in bathroom doorways for everyone that doesn't wash after using the facilities. Humans are disgusting!
Score: 3 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
4 weeks ago


How about when you’re in there washing your hands and you hear someone in a stall pooping their guts out and then they flush and walk past you and out the door? I don’t expect those people to ever start washing their hands for any reason.

I like to hope that when I yell "THANKS FOR WASHING YOUR HANDS, <name if you know it>!" at them, especially if it's in public, that maybe they will next time.
Score: 3 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
4 weeks ago


The article on lysol wipes is 'no longer updated by apple' https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT201294

And the one on cleaning says to avoid using 'household cleaners' on almost everything - https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT204172

So short of an expensive UV sanitizer, we're stuck with carrying petri dishes in our pockets.

I've used paper towels with 91% alcohol on my iOS devices for years. Never noticed any damage, though maybe it does something to the "oleophobic coating". I've never seen a definitive answer or noticed any difference though. I've also never seen it damage plastics on other devices (such as key surfaces or the magic trackpad 2), but it leaves (non permanent) streaks on aluminum.
Score: 2 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
4 weeks ago


This should just be basic everyday normalcy when using public systems.

I cringe every time I notice someone walk right past me and the sinks in a restroom after they’ve wiggled the willy. Right to the door handle and beyond....

How about when you’re in there washing your hands and you hear someone in a stall pooping their guts out and then they flush and walk past you and out the door? I don’t expect those people to ever start washing their hands for any reason.
Score: 2 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
4 weeks ago


Side note, I went to an Apple Store yesterday and all the employees were wearing gloves. This should be required at all businesses.

Wearing gloves doesn't stop the transmission of pathogens... It only makes the wearer think it does and therefore causes them to be less aware of what they're touching and reduce the number of times they actually wash their hands. This is especially true in food service. People think because they wear gloves they can do a weak job of washing their hands and then proceed to touch money, tables, handles, trash cans, cutting boards, food items, etc. in the kitchen without ever rewashing. My favorite move is when the glove wearer touches all over the outside of the gloves while he's putting them on, and assumes because he's wearing gloves he's ok. ?‍
Score: 2 Votes (Like | Disagree)

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