Keep Your Mac's Display, Keyboard, and Mouse Clean

Tips and Techniques for Cleaning Mice, Keyboards, and Displays

Keeping your Mac's mouse, keyboard, and monitor clean is a basic task all Mac users should perform. For some, a good cleaning only needs to be performed a few times a year. For others, a more frequent cleaning schedule may be in order. No matter how often you clean your Mac and its peripherals, be sure to clean them the right way.

I scoured all of the sites in the About Technology channel for computer cleaning tips. So, here they are, gathered together in one handy place.

Published: 10/8/2010

Updated: 12/5/2015

Cleaning Your Mac's Keyboard and Mouse

Magic Mouse 2
Courtesy of Apple

Cleaning your Mac’s mouse, keyboard, and trackpad is a task you should perform on a routine schedule. For most users, a monthly schedule would work well, although cleaning more or less frequently is certainly fine, depending on how often you use your Mac.

Regular cleaning should lead to a longer lifetime for your peripherals, but even if you tend to wait until an item needs cleaning, by following these instructions, you should be able to handle even the toughest built-up grime and crud.

But first, put that bottle of glass cleaner down. While it may be used in some specific places, and with great care, it's generally safer to use distilled water for routine cleaning. If you have a really tough cleaning task, try the secret cleaning solutions outlined in the last tip. 

Cleaning Your Mac's Display

Tips and Techniques for Cleaning Mice, Keyboards, and Displays
Courtesy of Apple

 Cleaning a Mac's display is a very easy process, with only a few don’ts but a lot of do’s to consider. We're going to talk specifically about Apple displays, but these cleaning instructions should work for most LCD displays.

Most monitors come in one of two formats: naked LCD displays and glass-covered LCD displays. It's both easy to determine which type you have, and very important to know the difference, as the cleaning methods are quite different.

This guide will also show you ways to clean the rear of a glass panel on a Mac’s display, should you find any dirt and smudges on the inside of the display panel.

How to Clean Older Ball Roller Mice

Apple Might Mouse
Courtesy of Feureau

It’s been many years since I used a ball roller-style mouse. This older technology used a ball that could cause two rollers, one on the x-axis and one on the y-axis, to rotate. Counting the number of rotations on each axis produced coordinates about the relative position of the mouse.

Now largely abandoned as a way to mouse around, the technology still shows up in older mice, and in the Apple Mighty Mouse, as a scroll ball that acts as a substitute for a scroll wheel.

If you have a ball roller mouse, Tim Fisher, About’s PC Support Expert, provides instructions for how to clean it.

How to Clean a Flat Screen Monitor

Tips and Techniques for Cleaning Mice, Keyboards, and Displays
Courtesy of Apple

If you’re wondering why I’m including a second guide to cleaning your monitor, it’s because Tim Fisher’s guide not only includes cleaning tips for older CRT and early generation LCD monitors, but also the recipe for his very secret and rarely shared display-cleaning solution.

I’ve been using Tim’s cleaning solution for years on various Mac laptops, iMacs, and even Dell monitors, and it has always wiped away the grime without causing any damage to the display.

I also use his cleaning solution for my Magic Mouse and Magic Trackpad touch surfaces. The only place I don’t use the secret cleaning solution is on keyboards, due to one of the ingredients being mildly acidic. If it got into the circuitry, it could cause a few problems.