Today I was trying to clean my laptop with a nail polish remover (ingredients: ethyl acetate, peg-40, hydrogenated castor oil, panthenol, parfum, d-limonene, geraniol, ci 26100, ci 60725). Not only it didn't get clean, but some white thing remained on the keys. I tried boiling water and a piece of cloth to make it warm and easier to remove without any success.
What can be done to reverse the damage?

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  • 6
    $\begingroup$ Short answer: ethyl acetate is almost as bad as acetone when it comes to plastics. Try rubbing alcohol. $\endgroup$
    – Ben Norris
    Jul 4, 2015 at 16:21
  • 9
    $\begingroup$ Quite possible the damage has been done by dissolving a layer of plastics. $\endgroup$ Jul 4, 2015 at 18:44

1 Answer 1


The solvent appears not only to have removed paint on the keys but also to have caused solvent crazing in the plastic itself. Regrettably, there is probably not much that can be done to actually remove the crazing, which may have penetrated too deeply to remove by buffing, but you might be able to hide it with a substance such as an oil that has the same index of refraction as the plastic.

If the appearance is unacceptable, you might replace the keyboard, use a plug-in keyboard, or get a keyboard cover, such as the Kuzy Russian Keyboard Cover, specific to the Mac Pro. Individual key stickers would probably not adhere well.

  • $\begingroup$ Thinkpad (TP) keyboards have some sort of anti-microbial cover, which looks like a rough porous coating under the microscope. This developed surface prevents skin oils from sticking to the keys; but it can also be easily destroyed with solvents. And there is no way to restore its feature without replacing the keyboard, which is probably the ideal solution. TPs are designed with high modularity in mind, and there are thousands affordable options on how to get a new/refurbished/second-hand keyboard. Installation is also a piece of cake (Info from a biased TP X220t user:) ). $\endgroup$
    – andselisk
    Aug 31, 2017 at 16:27

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