How to clean MacBook screens

Computer Accessories & Peripherals

If you’re working from home and are on your MacBook all day, you’ll need to clean your screen more regularly than you would for occasional recreational use.

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Cleaning a MacBook screen

Staring at a dusty, smudged MacBook screen can be annoying, but sometimes you don’t even realize how dirty your screen has gotten until you take a closer look. Learning how to clean your MacBook screen safely will leave you with a clean screen to look at without damaging your computer. 

If you want to go by the book, take Apple’s advice and never clean your screen with anything except water. However, you can buy some safe cleaning products for laptop screens.

How often should you clean a MacBook screen?

This really depends on the amount of usage your MacBook gets and how much a dirty screen bothers you. With regular use, you’ll likely need to clean your MacBook screen once every one to two weeks. The more regularly you clean it, the less dirt will build up between cleanings and the easier the task will be, so don’t leave the task too long.

How to clean a MacBook screen

Cleaning a MacBook screen is a fairly straightforward task. The main issue is avoiding using the wrong products as some could damage your screen. If in doubt, it’s best to exercise caution and only use a lint-free cloth and a little water. Read on for more details on how to clean a MacBook screen.

Power down your computer

Although there’s very little danger from cleaning your laptop screen when the power is on, it’s better to be safe than sorry. The first step to giving your MacBook a sparkling screen is to power it down from the menu and detach the power adapter if it’s plugged into an outlet. Once powered down, you can proceed with the cleaning process. 

Use a lint-free cloth

You should only ever use a soft, lint-free cloth to clean your MacBook screen. The softness of the cloth will avoid scratching your screen while the lint-free element will make sure no lint or dust is accidentally deposited on your screen, which might be more annoying than the smudges and dust you just cleaned off it.

MacBooks sometimes come with a cleaning cloth included, but you can easily purchase another suitable cloth if yours didn’t or if you’ve lost it. Cloths typically used to clean glasses are a good choice for cleaning screens, but you can also buy dedicated laptop cleaning cloths. If your screen isn’t especially dirty, you may find you only need to wipe it over with a dry cloth to clean it adequately. Start off with this first, then move on to other options if the screen is still smudged or dirty. 

Use water if needed

Apple advises that you should only use water to clean a MacBook screen, so if the dry cloth hasn’t done the trick, this is your next step. Wet the cloth lightly and wring it out so that it’s damp, not wet. Use the damp cloth to clean your screen in smooth motions from one edge to the other. Cleaning in this way, rather than in circular motions or with irregular strokes, will help avoid smudges and streaks on the screen once it dries. Don’t spray water on your screen or let moisture get in any of your MacBook’s ports or other openings as this could damage it. 

Consider using a screen cleaning product

You can find plenty of safe screen cleaning solutions on the market that people use to clean their screens every day with no ill effects despite Apple’s official advice being to only ever use water on MacBook screens. If you decide to use a screen cleaner, choose one from a reputable brand. Screen cleaning solutions are carefully designed to clean laptop screens, but general household cleaning products, soaps, solvents and antibacterial sprays are not and will likely damage your screen, so stay away from them. For more information on cleaning products for laptops, check out the guide to laptop cleaning kits at BestReviews.

What you need to clean a MacBook

MagicFiber Microfiber Cleaning Cloths

MagicFiber Microfiber Cleaning Cloths

These lint-free microfiber cloths are perfect for cleaning laptop screens. They come in a pack of six and help get rid of dust, oil, smudges and more.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon.

WHOOSH! Screen Cleaner Kit

WHOOSH! Screen Cleaner Kit

Although official Apple advice is to use nothing but water to clean your MacBook screen, occasionally you need a little more cleaning power. This laptop cleaning kit includes a spray and a cloth and does a great job of gently cleaning laptop screens.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon.

ColorCoral Cleaning Gel

ColorCoral Cleaning Gel

While cleaning your MacBook screen, you might as well tackle your keyboard at the same time. This cleaning gel molds to the spaces between keys, lifting away dirt when you remove it from the keyboard.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon.

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Lauren Corona writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

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