What is the best way to clean a Macbook screen?

Keeping your Macbook screen clean is important for maintaining optimal visual clarity and preventing damage. A dirty screen can diminish display quality, while particles and oils can actually scratch the screen over time if not removed properly. Fortunately, cleaning a Macbook screen is quick and easy with the right techniques and tools.

What you’ll need

To clean your Macbook screen safely and effectively, you’ll need the following supplies:

  • Microfiber cloth: A soft, lint-free microfiber cloth is ideal for wiping down screens. Unlike paper towels or other fabrics, microfiber cloths won’t scratch the screen.
  • Screen cleaning solution (optional): Using a small amount of screen cleaning solution designed specifically for monitors and devices can help cut through oils, dust and grime. Make sure to select a cleaner that’s safe for laptop screens.
  • Water: If you don’t have a screen cleaning solution available, you can also use distilled water. Avoid tap water, which could contain minerals that leave behind deposits.

Step 1: Power down and unplug

Start by shutting down your Macbook and unplugging it from power, which will allow for safely cleaning the entire screen surface. Make sure to give the screen a minute or two to cool down before wiping it.

Step 2: Use a microfiber cloth

Lightly dampen your microfiber cloth with water or a small amount of screen cleaner. The cloth should be damp but not dripping wet. Carefully wipe down the Macbook screen, using gentle, circular motions. Avoid applying pressure or scrubbing aggressively.

If using screen cleaner, check the label for specific directions. Most cleaners recommend gently spreading the solution across the screen, then buffing with a dry area of the cloth.

Step 3: Buff the screen dry

Once you’ve wiped down the entire display with the dampened cloth, take a separate dry microfiber cloth and gently buff the screen to remove any moisture. Make sure no liquid pools around the edges or bezels.

Step 4: Clean the edges and keyboard

Use a dry microfiber cloth to wipe down the monitor’s plastic edges and the keyboard. This will remove any residual cleaner that may have dripped down, as well as everyday dust and oils that accumulate around the keys.

Extra tips

Follow these additional tips for keeping your Macbook screen sparkling clean:

  • Avoid using paper products like tissues or paper towels, which can be abrasive
  • Never use aerosol sprays or harsh household cleaners on the screen
  • Use a very light touch when wiping to avoid scratching. Don’t bear down and scrub vigorously.
  • Clean the screen at least once a week for upkeep, or more frequently if it’s frequently handled or touched
  • Always unplug and shut down before cleaning the screen
  • Make sure to get any cleaner completely off the screen before powering your Macbook back on

What to avoid

There are a few common mistakes to avoid when cleaning your Macbook screen:

  • No abrasive cloths or paper towels: Materials like paper towels can scratch the screen and should never be used.
  • No household cleaners: Window cleaner, disinfecting wipes and other harsh household cleaners can damage the anti-glare coating.
  • No getting moisture in openings: Make sure no moisture seeps into speaker openings or ports during cleaning.
  • No spraying cleaners directly: Don’t directly spray any liquid onto the screen. Apply to your cloth instead.
  • No excessive pressure: Pressing too hard during wiping can damage pixels or the LCD beneath. Use light pressure.

Why a microfiber cloth is best

Microfiber cloths are the top recommendation of Apple and other tech companies for cleaning screens. Here’s why they work so well:

  • Extremely soft and non-abrasive. Microfibers won’t scratch or damage the screen like paper products and some cloths.
  • Strong cleaning power that outperforms most fabrics. Microfiber cloth’s woven fibers grab on to dust easily.
  • Lint-free construction won’t leave behind fuzzy debris or particles which could scratch the screen.
  • Safe for even delicate surfaces like LCD screens.
  • Dries cleanly without streaks or moisture buildup.

With the right microfiber cloth, you can easily remove everyday fingerprints, smudges and dust buildup from your Macbook screen safely and effectively.

How often should you clean your Macbook screen?

Most experts recommend cleaning your Macbook screen about once a week. However, the ideal cleaning frequency depends on how much you use the device:

  • For light users: Clean every 1-2 weeks
  • For average everyday use: Clean weekly
  • For heavy users: Clean 2-3 times per week
  • If visually dirty: Clean as soon as possible, don’t let grime build up

Make sure to inspect the screen closely each week and clean whenever you notice dust, fingerprints or clouding. Keeping to a regular cleaning routine helps prevent oil and dirt buildup that becomes more stubborn over time.

Can you use alcohol to clean a Macbook screen?

You can use a very small amount of isopropyl alcohol to disinfect a Macbook screen, but this isn’t recommended for routine cleaning. Here’s what to know:

  • Use only a 70% isopropyl alcohol solution diluted with water.
  • Dampen your cloth lightly and wipe gently. Don’t saturate the screen.
  • Buff immediately with a dry microfiber cloth after to remove excess moisture.
  • Never use heavy duty rubbing alcohol, which can damage the anti-glare coating.

For day-to-day cleaning, distilled water or a mild screen cleaning solution are better options. Only use isopropyl alcohol for the occasional disinfecting.

How to clean a Macbook screen safely

Cleaning your Macbook screen improperly can scratch the surface or cause water damage. Follow these safe cleaning practices:

  • Always shut down and unplug before wiping the screen.
  • Dampen your cloth lightly. Don’t wet heavily.
  • Apply mild pressure. Never scrub aggressively on the screen.
  • Use short, gentle strokes. Don’t pull or drag the cloth across in long swipes.
  • Buff with a dry microfiber cloth when finished.
  • Never let moisture drip into openings like webcam or vents.
  • Allow screen to fully dry before turning your Macbook on again.

How to remove stubborn dirt or grime

Smudges, eyelash oil residue or other stubborn dirt can adhere to your screen. Try these tips for removing challenging grime:

  • Let warm water soak into the sticky spot briefly to loosen up the grime, then wipe gently with your cloth.
  • For oil-based smudges, use a small amount of dish soap on your damp cloth to help cut through grease.
  • Fold your microfiber cloth into a precise point for scrubbing small spots.
  • Change cloths frequently so you’re always wiping with a clean surface.

Avoid excessive force even on stuck-on dirt. With persistence and the right cloth dampness, you can remove any specks without risking scratching.

Signs you need to clean your Macbook screen

Here are some signs it’s time to clean your Macbook display:

  • Visible dust, fingerprints, smudges or debris on the screen.
  • Cloudy or greasy-looking areas on the surface.
  • Dimmed screen visuals and reduced clarity.
  • Eyestrain or headaches during use.
  • Blurry or distorted images, videos or text.
  • Bright light reflections on the screen surface.
  • Sticky or slick feeling when touching the screen.

Don’t wait until dirt builds up heavily. Wipe down the screen at the first signs of grime to keep your display looking its best.

How to prevent damaging your Macbook screen

Practicing careful screen care and cleaning habits prevents damage down the road. Here are some tips for avoiding harm to your Macbook display:

  • Don’t press hard when wiping the screen. Gentle pressure is all that’s needed.
  • Ensure your microfiber cloth has no loose threads or fabrics that could cause scratches.
  • Never use abrasive cleaning tools like wipes with unsoftened fibers.
  • Don’t spray cleaners directly on the screen. Moisten your cloth instead.
  • Always shut down and unplug your Macbook before cleaning the screen.
  • Make sure no liquids drip down into the interior workings.
  • Keep your Macbook in a case when not in use to prevent scratches.
  • Use screen protectors to shield the display from everyday wear.

With routine care and cleaning, you can easily keep your Macbook screen looking like new.

Does Apple recommend any screen cleaners?

Apple provides these guidelines on screen care products for Macbooks and other devices:

  • Use a clean, soft, lint-free cloth like microfiber.
  • Avoid abrasive materials like paper towels or rough fabrics.
  • Do not use aerosol sprays, solvents, alcohol or abrasives.
  • Consider a mild screen cleaning solution designed specifically for LCD monitors.
  • Always dampen the cloth, not the screen directly.
  • Avoid excessive wiping and rubbing.
  • Gently wipe in one direction rather than circular motions.

As long as you follow those recommendations, both water and specialized screen cleaners are generally safe for Macbooks when used properly on a microfiber cloth.

Can I use water to clean my Macbook screen?

Using pure water is an effective and affordable option for cleaning a Macbook screen safely. Here are some tips for using water to clean your display:

  • Always use distilled or purified water. Tap water may leave mineral deposits.
  • Lightly dampen your microfiber cloth, don’t soak or saturate it.
  • Avoid letting any droplets run into crevices or openings.
  • Buff gently to dry the screen thoroughly after wiping down.
  • Do not spray water directly on the screen.

As long as you use pure water and avoid excess moisture, water and a microfiber cloth can clean everyday dust and fingerprints from a Macbook display.

How to clean a Macbook screen without streaks

Follow these tips to wipe down your Macbook screen without leaving behind streaks or moisture:

  • Use only a lightly dampened cloth so excess water doesn’t pool.
  • Rinse microfiber cloths frequently to avoid dirt buildup.
  • Change direction lightly when wiping – up and down, then left and right.
  • Let the screen dry fully before closing or powering on again.
  • Buff with a dry microfiber cloth after cleaning until surface is perfectly dry.
  • Avoid circular or zig-zag wiping patterns which can leave streaks.
  • Use high-quality screen cleaner instead of water for a residue-free clean.

With the proper technique, you can easily wipe away grime without leaving cloudy streaks or moisture behind on your Macbook’s screen.

What’s the best screen cleaning solution for Macbooks?

Here are some top-rated screen cleaning solutions safe for Macbook displays:

  • Whoosh! Screen Cleaner – Fast-drying foam formula. Antistatic.
  • Monster ScreenClean Kit – Low alcohol formula. Includes microfiber cloth.
  • iKlear Apple Polish – Designed specifically for iMacs and Macbooks.
  • Screen Mom Screen Cleaner – Plant-based. Contains no alcohol, ammonia or residue.
  • Care Touch Lens Cleaning Wipes – Individually wrapped, disposable wipes.

Look for cleaners specially formulated for LCD screens and electronics. Avoid abrasive options or those with harsh chemicals like ammonia.


Keeping your Macbook screen clean helps maintain optimal clarity and prevents scratching or other physical damage over time. Simply shut down your Macbook, dampen a soft microfiber cloth with water or cleaner, then wipe the screen gently using light strokes. Buff dry with a separate cloth. Avoid excessive pressure. Clean weekly, or whenever dust and smudges are noticeable. With proper care and the right technique, you can easily keep your Macbook’s screen looking like new.

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