How do you clean a MacBook screen?

MacBook screen
Clean screen: put the shine back on your Mac

If you’ve been using a MacBook Air of MacBook Pro for any length of time, your screen will probably be covered in lots of unsightly little marks. The MacBook screens are stunning, but even the slightest speck of dirt is immediately obvious. However, you need to take real care when cleaning the screen or you’ll risk damaging the display or the laptop itself. Here’s how to clean a MacBook screen safely and effectively.

WARNING: Do not, repeat do not, use any chemicals to clean your MacBook screen, especially any cleaners containing acetone. Likewise, avoid those screen cleaner wipes. These can damage the coating on the display and leave horrible, unsightly marks or worse.

Time needed: 10 minutes

How to clean a MacBook screen

  1. Gather your equipment

    To clean your MacBook screen, you ideally want two microfibre (or lint-free) cloths – one for wet cleaning, one dry – and some water. That’s it. No expensive cleaning kits, no chemicals.

  2. Turn off your MacBook

    Make sure the MacBook is fully shut down and unplugged before you attempt to clean the screen. If you’ve been using the laptop prior to cleaning, leave it to cool for ten minutes, as attempting to clean a warm screen can leave smears behind, which rather defeats the object.

  3. Dampen your cloth

    When we say dampen, we mean dampen. Don’t soak it under the tap. Don’t make the cloth dripping wet. Just dab it gently into a cup of water, so that part of the cloth is moist.

  4. Wipe the screen with the damp cloth

    Gently wipe the screen with the damp cloth, using small circular motions to remove the more stubborn stains. Do not apply any great pressure to the screen, as it’s easily damaged and you don’t want to squeeze water out of the cloth, causing it to drip on to the laptop below. Indeed, you may want to lay the laptop on your lap, with the screen resting against your thighs while you clean, to avoid the risk of drips hitting the keyboard area.

  5. Use the second cloth to dry the screen

    Use the second cloth to remove any damp marks from the screen before they dry naturally, to avoid any smears being left behind. Trust me, they can ruin your day.

  6. Check for drips

    Before you turn the laptop back on, give the laptop a thorough visual check to make sure there are no drips on the keyboard, for instance. Obviously, quickly mop up any you find, as you don’t want water seeping beneath the keyboard. There lies pain.

Regularly cleaning your MacBook screen will help to keep it looking like new and maintain the quality of the display. The longer you leave little stains, the harder they become to remove. And the sheer embarrassment of whipping out your MacBook in public with little specks of dirt all over the screen is too much to bear…

How long should a MacBook Pro last?

About the author

Barry Collins

Barry has scribbled about tech for almost 20 years for The Sunday Times, PC Pro, WebUser, Which? and many others. He was once Deputy Editor of Mail Online and remains in therapy to this day. Email Barry at

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