How to Clean a MacBook Screen

A microfiber cloth can clean your MacBook screen in seconds

This article explains how to clean a MacBook screen safely using suitable materials and methods.

How to Clean a MacBook Screen

Cleaning your MacBook's screen is an often overlooked way to preserve its value and function. A clean screen keeps potentially abrasive or corrosive substances off the screen, reducing the risk of long-term wear or damage.

A microfiber cloth is the best tool for cleaning a MacBook screen. You can find microfiber clothes online or at most hardware stores.

  1. Remove a clean, fresh microfiber cloth from its package.

    Using a new microfiber cloth for each cleaning is the safest method, but it can feel wasteful. It's usually safe to reuse a microfiber cloth after it's washed and dried. Carefully inspect the fabric for small particles that can get trapped.

  2. Tilt the MacBook screen to a comfortable angle. Find an angle that allows light to reflect off the display since this makes dirt and grime easy to see.

    A MacBook Pro on a desk with the display open but turned off.
  3. Gently wipe the cloth across the top of the MacBook's screen from left to right (or vice versa).

    A MacBook Pro screen cleaned with a microfiber cloth.
  4. Turn the cloth over or fold it so an unused side is available. Wipe it across the screen area just below the first section cleaned.

    Always turn to an unused side of the cloth after each swipe. A side previously used could have abrasive dirt and grime trapped in it, which might scratch the screen.

    A MacBook Pro screen being cleaned with a microfiber cloth.
  5. Repeat these steps until the entire screen is clean.

    A MacBook Pro with a clean screen open on a desk.

How to Clean a MacBook Screen with Water

A dry microfiber cloth can remove most dirt, grime, and oil from a MacBook screen, but you may run into persistent blemishes that won't wipe off with a dry cloth. Water will solve the problem, though you'll need to use a careful touch.

  1. Shut down your MacBook and disconnect it from power.

  2. Pour a small amount of water (no more than a tablespoon) into a small bowl.

    A tablespoon full of water about to be poured into a cup.
  3. Dab a clean microfiber cloth into the bowl. Try to wet a spot no larger than your thumb.

    A microfiber cloth placed into a cup of water.
  4. Squeeze the cloth firmly to remove any excess water.

  5. Lightly apply the wet portion of the cloth to the troublesome stain. Rub the wet portion of the cloth lightly against the stain.

    A microfiber cloth used to clean a MacBook Pro display.
  6. Repeat the steps above several times if needed.

  7. Carefully examine your MacBook before you turn it back. Look for any wet spots that may have snuck off the cloth and dry as needed.

    Pay special attention to the keyboard and the fan vent, which on most MacBooks is on the display hinge. These areas can allow water to drip into the internals, which could cause severe damage.

Can I Clean a MacBook Screen With Wet Wipes?

If water does not remove the stain, you can upgrade to using a cleaning solution instead of water.

Apple's official support page about cleaning its products endorses the use of 70 percent isopropyl alcohol wipes, 75 percent ethyl alcohol wipes, or Clorox brand disinfecting wipes.

In short, you can use wet wipes to clean your MacBook screen, though only if they use the cleaning products described above.

What You Shouldn't Use to Clean a MacBook Screen

You should avoid more pungent cleaning solutions like bleach, hydrogen peroxide, and alcohol solutions more concentrated than those previously described. Apple officially warns against their use; they've been known to cause screen damage in the past.

Avoid abrasives, including sponges, towels, paper towels, and cleaning brushes.

Do not use a spray. A spray makes it hard to control where moisture lands on your MacBook, making it more likely some will creep into the internals.

  • Can I use eyeglasses cleaner on my MacBook screen?

    Yes. Cleaners made for eyeglasses and cameras are safe to use on MacBook screens. Apply a small amount to a microfiber cloth and gently wipe the display.

  • How do I clean my MacBook keyboard?

    Use compressed air to clean your MacBook keyboard. For a deeper clean, use rubbing alcohol or cleaning gel.

  • How do I wipe my MacBook's hard drive?

    To wipe your MacBook's hard drive, go to System Preferences and select Erase All Content. In macOS Big Sur or earlier, you must go through Recovery Mode. You can also wipe your Mac remotely from another device.

  • How do I clean up my MacBook to make it faster?

    To improve your Mac's performance, remove login items you don't need, free up disc space, disable widgets, and use Activity Monitor to track memory your usage. For advanced users, speed up your Mac with Terminal.

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