How to clean the Alcantara keyboard on the Surface Laptop 4

How to clean the Alcantara keyboard on the Surface Laptop 4

Alcantara fabric has been a staple of the Surface Laptop since it debuted. At the time, it came in four colors — Burgundy, Cobalt Blue, Platinum, and Graphite Gold. Microsoft also introduced the Signature Type Cover, an Alcantara keyboard for the Surface Pro. The colors changed over the years, and now Alcantara is just an option on two colors for the Surface Laptop 4. Those colors are Platinum and Ice Blue.

Most importantly though, if you go the Alcantara route, you need to maintain it. Alcantara is a brand, and you can find out all about it on the company’s website. It’s even got its own guide for maintaining it. Microsoft has a guide on taking care of Surface products in general, but the section on taking care of Alcantara is pretty brief, while the Alcantara website goes a lot more in-depth.



Daily cleaning

First of all, there’s daily cleaning. It’s recommended that you use a soft brush, a dry cloth, or a vacuum to clean it once a day.

Weekly cleaning

Before you start your weekly cleaning, make sure you’ve dusted your Surface Laptop 4. Next, grab a slightly moistened white cotton cloth and run it over the fabric. Don’t use anything with colors or ink, as it might stain the material.

Surface Laptop 4 angled view


Note that as per Microsoft’s instructions, they recommend using a mild soap and water solution for regular cleaning.

Yearly cleaning

This is where the company recommends using a mild soap to clean your Alcantara. Specifically, it recommends cleaning your Surface Laptop 4 with products from Fenice, James, or Perrone.

    This is a recommended stain removal solution that helps clean Alcantara fabric of ink, red wine, coffee, and other stains.

If you can’t get access to its recommended cleaning solutions, it’s recommended to use a wet sponge or cloth. Wring it out properly and run it over the whole material. Let it dry, and then brush it with a soft brush.

Stain removal

OK, you’ve gone through great lengths to properly care for your Surface Laptop 4’s keyboard daily, weekly, and yearly. But you’ve just messed it up by spilling something on it. That’s where stain removal comes in.

As with any stain, it’s recommended that you act as soon as possible. Within 30 minutes is considered best practice here.

Surface Laptop 4 and Surface Pro 7 keyboards

The first thing you need to do is remove any excess product that’s spilled. Make sure to avoid rubbing the material so it doesn’t spread or get deeper. Also, make sure to never pour the cleaning solution directly onto the keyboard.

You can use a white cloth or a well-wrung sponge to get the stain out. It’s also recommended that you rinse and wring out the sponge in-between wipes.

Specific stains

It’s recommended that you use something designed for cleaning Alcantara for getting stains out of your Surface Laptop 4 keyboard. The brands listed above are what the company recommends, but there are plenty of Alcantara cleaners to choose from. Here are some specific examples and how to clean them if you don’t have an Alcantara cleaner.

  • Fruit juice, jam, jelly, syrup, ketchup: use lukewarm water, rinse by dabbing with clean water.
  • Blood, egg, excrement, urine: use cold water; avoid warm water because it makes these substances coagulate, rinse by dabbing with clean water.
  • Liquors, alcoholic beverages, wine, beer, coke, and tea: use lukewarm water; if the color mark remains, treat it with lemon juice and then rinse it well.
  • Indelible pencil, cocoa, chocolate, pastry with cream or chocolate, ice cream, mustard: use lukewarm water; rinse by dabbing with clean water.
  • Vinegar, hair gel, tomato sauce, coffee with sugar: use lemon juice and then wipe with lukewarm water; rinse by dabbing with clean water.
  • Lipstick, foundation, mascara, eye-shadow, perfume, shoe polish, oil and grease in general, grass stains and felt tips in general (including the indelible kind): rub with ethyl alcohol, then with water and rinse. For grass stains and felt tips, which are quite difficult to remove, especially on light colors, it is necessary to act as soon as possible in order to prevent them from becoming too “dry”.
  • Chewing-gum and wax: put a plastic bag full of ice on the stain; when the material becomes hard remove the pieces and then treat them with ethyl alcohol.

Finally, if you have an old stain and you don’t even know where it came from, you can try to treat it with water. If that doesn’t work, you can use ethyl alcohol.

If these tips helped you, do check out our review of the Surface Laptop 4. Its predecessor was one of the best laptops with AMD Ryzen processors and one of the best Windows Hello-enabled laptops, and this one walks along the same path.

    The Surface Laptop 4 is Microsoft's aluminum laptop that comes in four colors, with an optional Alcantara keyboard.

About author

Rich Woods
Rich Woods

Managing Editor for XDA Computing. I've been covering tech from smartphones to PCs since 2013. If you see me at a trade show, come say hi and let me ask you weird questions about why you use the tech you use.

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