What is the best way to clean a Macbook screen?

Keeping your Macbook screen clean is important for both the appearance and functionality of your device. A dirty screen can negatively impact the display quality, and also lead to reduced touch response and accidental inputs. Fortunately, cleaning a Macbook screen is quick and easy to do with the right techniques and cleaning solutions.

What supplies do I need to clean my Macbook screen?

You don’t need any fancy or expensive supplies to safely clean your Macbook screen. Here are the basics you’ll need:

  • Microfiber cloth: A soft, lint-free microfiber cloth is ideal for wiping down screens without scratching them. You can find microfiber cloths designed specifically for cleaning tech devices.
  • Distilled water: Use a spray bottle filled with distilled water to lightly dampen the microfiber cloth as needed.
  • Isopropyl alcohol: A 50/50 mixture of isopropyl alcohol and distilled water can help dissolve oils and remove stubborn smudges. Be sure to use a very light amount on the cloth.
  • Compressed air: Canned compressed air can be used to safely blow away any loose dust or particles on the screen.

Avoid using paper towels, window cleaners, or abrasive materials to clean your Macbook screen, as they can lead to damage.

How should I prepare to clean my screen?

Follow these tips before getting started cleaning your Macbook screen:

  • Power down your Macbook and disconnect any cables/chargers.
  • Let the screen cool down if the device has been in use.
  • Dry the screen thoroughly with a microfiber cloth to remove any condensation or moisture.
  • Have your microfiber cloth and cleaning solutions ready to use.
  • Work in an area with adequate lighting so you can inspect for cleanliness.
  • Avoid wearing anything abrasive on your hands like rings or watches.

What’s the best process for cleaning a Macbook screen?

Follow these step-by-step instructions to safely clean your Macbook screen:

  1. Use compressed air to remove any loose dust or particles. Hold the can upright 6-8 inches away and spray across the screen.
  2. Wet a microfiber cloth with distilled water and ring it out thoroughly so it’s damp but not dripping.
  3. Gently wipe down the entire screen surface using horizontal strokes. Avoid applying pressure.
  4. Flip the microfiber cloth to a clean side and dry the screen using light vertical strokes.
  5. Inspect closely for any remaining dust, fingerprints, or streaks.
  6. For tough spots, sparingly apply isopropyl alcohol to the cloth and gently wipe the area clean.
  7. Dry the screen thoroughly with a clean microfiber cloth area.

How can I avoid scratching the screen when cleaning?

Here are some tips to keep your Macbook screen scratch-free while cleaning:

  • Use a very soft microfiber cloth that won’t feel abrasive against the screen.
  • Never spray cleaning solutions directly onto the screen, always dampen your cloth first.
  • Apply only light pressure when wiping and avoid rubbing aggressively.
  • Don’t use paper towels or tissues which can be abrasive.
  • Avoid getting crumbs, dirt, or sand on the cloth that could cause scratches.
  • Use compressed air to dislodge particles before wiping.
  • Clean the screen regularly to avoid buildup of grime that’s harder to remove.

How do I clean tough oil stains or fingerprints?

Oil stains and fingerprint smudges can be tricky to remove from a Macbook screen. Here are some tips:

  • Try adding a little more isopropyl alcohol to your damp microfiber cloth.
  • Gently rub the stain in a circular motion to help break it up.
  • Never use excessive force or pressure which could damage the screen.
  • For tough oil marks, let the alcohol sit on the screen for 30-60 seconds before rubbing.
  • Use a dry microfiber cloth to buff the cleaned area after to remove any cleaning solution residue.
  • Avoid getting moisture in openings like the camera and microphone.
  • If stains persist, repeat the steps or try a new microfiber cloth.

What’s the best way to dry the screen after cleaning?

Properly drying your Macbook screen after cleaning is important to prevent streaks and residue buildup. Follow these tips:

  • Use a fresh, dry microfiber cloth to buff the screen after the damp wipe down.
  • Gently wipe with vertical strokes followed by light horizontal strokes.
  • Inspect closely in good lighting for any moisture.
  • Be extra thorough drying around edges, camera, speakers, etc.
  • Consider using a blow dryer on a low warm setting to help speed up drying time.
  • Never reattach power or use device until screen is 100% dry.
  • Leave your Macbook powered off and open for 30+ minutes to allow any moisture to evaporate.

How often should I clean my Macbook screen?

A good rule of thumb is to clean your Macbook screen about once a week. However, the frequency depends on several factors:

  • How much you use your device each day.
  • If you regularly eat or drink around your Macbook.
  • Amount of dust, pollen, grease in your environment.
  • Whether you have oily skin that contacts the screen.
  • Presence of children or pets who can leave fingerprints.
  • If you notice visible dirt, grime or smudging.

Inspect your screen under lighting from time to time and clean whenever you see dirt or smudges accumulating. More frequent cleanings (2-3 times per week) may be needed if you use your Macbook extensively.

Can I use Windex or other window cleaners?

It’s best to avoid using household glass cleaners like Windex to clean your Macbook screen. Here’s why:

  • Many contain ammonia, alcohol, fragrances, and other harsh ingredients that can damage an electronic display.
  • They often leave behind a hazy residue even once dried.
  • Spraying directly on the screen increases risk of moisture damage.
  • They are designed for glass rather than the thin, anti-glare coatings on a Macbook screen.

For occasional use, an diluted vinegar and water solution is a safer option than Windex. But for routine cleaning, stick to distilled water and isopropyl alcohol applied to a microfiber cloth.

Will cleaning solutions damage my screen coating?

When used correctly, distilled water, diluted isopropyl alcohol, and diluted vinegar water should not damage or degrade the protective coatings on a Macbook screen such as the oleophobic (oil-repellent) coating. Here are some tips for safe cleaning:

  • Use only a small amount of isopropyl alcohol diluted with water rather than full strength.
  • Avoid rubbing aggressively when cleaning.
  • Rinse vinegar solutions off thoroughly with water after cleaning.
  • Read the label and never use solvents or chemicals not designed for screen cleaning.
  • Stick to soft microfiber cloths that won’t feel abrasive.
  • Clean the screen regularly to avoid any permanent etching of grime.

Apple also recommends keeping cleaning solution-dampened cloths away from the openings in your Macbook to prevent liquid damage.

Can I use rubbing alcohol or hydrogen peroxide?

Here’s what you need to know about using rubbing alcohol or hydrogen peroxide to clean a Macbook screen:

Rubbing alcohol

  • Okay for occasional use diluted with distilled water at a 1:1 ratio.
  • Should never be used full strength as it can damage screen coatings.
  • Apply sparingly to microfiber cloth and wipe gently.
  • Ensure no pooling around edges or damage can occur.
  • Safer options like isopropyl alcohol are recommended for routine cleaning.

Hydrogen peroxide

  • Can be used diluted at a 1:10 ratio with water.
  • Should only be used for dried, stubborn stains.
  • Rinse thoroughly with water after use.
  • Can damage or discolor screen coating with repeated use.
  • Never use full strength hydrogen peroxide.

For day-to-day cleaning, distilled water and diluted isopropyl alcohol are gentler and safer choices. But rubbing alcohol and hydrogen peroxide in small amounts can occasionally tackle dried spills and gunk if needed.

What precautions should I take when cleaning the screen?

Keep these precautions in mind to safely clean your Macbook screen without causing any damage:

  • Always spray cleaning solutions onto your cloth first, not directly on the screen.
  • Use only small amounts of water and cleaning products.
  • Wring microfiber cloths out well before wiping screen.
  • Avoid getting moisture in any openings like the camera and speakers.
  • Don’t use too much force or pressure when wiping.
  • Make sure no abrasive particles are trapped beneath the cloth.
  • Let the screen dry fully before using your Macbook again.
  • Check for damage to screen coating like rainbow effects or spots.
  • Stop using any product that seems to be damaging the coating.

How can I avoid getting the screen dirty again quickly?

Once you’ve thoroughly cleaned your Macbook screen, keep these tips in mind to avoid new smudges and smears:

  • Don’t touch the screen unless necessary.
  • Close the lid when transporting your laptop if you won’t be using it.
  • Store your device in a case or sleeve when not in use.
  • Use screen wipes on your glasses, phone, etc. that contact the screen.
  • Keep drinks and food away from your workstation.
  • Shut down completely before cleaning to allow dirt to settle.
  • Use tape roller on keyboard to remove crumbs and dust.
  • Consider an anti-glare screen protector to resist smudges.
  • Angle display to minimize glare and fingerprints from light sources.

Developing careful usage habits will help protect your screen from new dirt and oils between cleanings.


Cleaning your Macbook screen regularly and safely is simple with the right materials like soft microfiber cloths, distilled water, and diluted isopropyl alcohol. Allow your screen to fully dry after wiping it down before powering on your device again. With routine weekly care and caution not to use harsh chemicals, you can keep your Macbook’s screen looking like new.

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