How to Clean a Mac Screen (2022)

Get rid of pesky smudges by learning how to safely clean & polish your Mac screen.

Our laptops are among some of the most valuable possessions we carry around with us on a day-to-day basis. We lug them to work, parade them to hip coffee shops, and haul them through airports. So inevitably, our Mac screens will smudge and collect debris. Below, we'll cover how to clean your Mac screen so it looks brand-new. 

Related: This Simple Gesture Is the Fastest Way to Share Photos between iPhone, iPad & Mac

Materials Needed

So, wondering how to clean a MacBook screen? Cleaning a Mac screen can be tricky, and you don’t want to make any expensive mistakes. Unlike LCD screens which are made of plastic, Mac screens are made from glass, so a cleaning spray recommended for LCD screens can cause damage to a Mac screen. For this reason, it is imperative to use cleaning materials recommended specifically for Mac screens. 

What to Use to Clean a Mac Screen

  • Microfiber wipes
  • Clorox Disinfecting Wipes
  • Lint-free cloth
  • 70-percent isopropyl alcohol (IPA) solution

What NOT to Use to Clean a Mac Screen

  • Cleaning products that contain acetone, solvents, ammonia, and hydrogen peroxide (yes, this includes Windex)
  • Abrasive materials (such as paper towels)
  • Window cleaners, household cleaners, and aerosol sprays

Note: If you have a nano-texture glass on your Mac for reducing glare, you will only need to use a polishing cloth. For those extra-stubborn smudges, Apple recommends slightly moistening the cloth with a 70-percent isopropyl alcohol (IPA) solution.

How to Clean Mac Screen

For more tips on how to care for your Apple devices, sign up for our free Tip of the Day Newsletter. The steps below can be applied to any type of Mac screen, including MacBook Pro, MacBook Air, iMac, Mac Pro, and Mac Mini screens. Here's how to clean your MacBook screen: 

  1. Unplug any charging or power cords and turn off your Mac.
  2. Slightly dampen a clean, lint-free cloth with water, then wipe the screen.
  3. If you're using a spray bottle, make sure to spray your cleaning cloth and avoid directly spraying the screen, as this can cause water damage. 
  4. Place one hand on the back of the screen for stability.
  5. Gently wipe the screen using small circular motions while applying light pressure.
  6. For extra-stubborn smudges, dampen the cloth with 70-percent isopropyl alcohol and continue gently buffing. Alternatively, you could use a damp Clorox wipe, which is just as effective for smudges.
  7. For a slick, polished effect grab a dry polishing cloth (this could be Apple's polishing cloth or any microfiber cloth). Continue this same circular buffing technique until your screen is flawless. 

Now you can enjoy your freshly-cleaned and smudge-free Mac screen!

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Author Details

Gressa Cedergren's picture

Author Details

Gressa Cedergren

Gressa is a North Carolinian living “down under” and writing at iPhonelife.com. She is a travel, permaculture, and creative writing enthusiast and has lived and traveled through South East Asia, South and Central America, Europe, and now Australia. You can find anything from riveting travel stories to how-to gardening articles at seegressagrow.com