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3 ways to clean a MacBook screen

MacBooks are beautiful devices, and since you are shelling out a pretty penny for them, you will want to keep them clean. This is especially true of the display. Apple’s retina displays are beautiful, and the mini-LED displays on the new MacBook Pros are a sight to behold.

That’s why it’s extra important to clean them regularly. But how should you go about it? Here are three ways to clean a MacBook screen without damaging it.

What you shouldn’t do

Before we dive into how to properly clean a MacBook screen, let’s first go over what you shouldn’t do. Firstly, you will want to avoid anything overly abrasive. That includes scouring pads, but it also means anything with paper fibers, so no paper towels or toilet tissue. Any of those have the potential to scratch your screen and cause permanent damage.

You also want to avoid using excessive cleaning fluid, and don’t spray anything directly onto the screen. Lastly, make sure not to get anything into the ports.

With that out of the way, here are three ways to clean your MacBook screen.

The old fashioned way

This is the simple and cheap way to clean your screen, and it’s the most common way to clean any laptop screen. It’s cheap and gets the job done. Before you get going, though, make sure to power off the MacBook.

Next, take a microfiber or lint-free cloth and polish the screen by moving your hand in circular motions to pick up dirt and dust. Wiping can damage the outer coating on the display and create scratches.

Once all the dirt is free, you can dampen a cloth in distilled or de-ionized water and gently buff out tougher spots. Again, use circular motions, and make sure the cloth isn’t overly wet.

Once you have wiped down the screen, take another smooth cloth and dry the screen.

In these three steps, you should have a far cleaner screen free of any dirt or buildup.

The fancy way

A photo of Flawless screen cleaner next to a red cloth and a smartphone.
Image used with permission by copyright holder

If you want to clean your MacBook screen in one step, you can always get a special spray designed for LCD screens.

Just spritz a microfiber or lint-free cloth with the spray and polish the screen. It may take several passes to get everything if your screen is dirty, but there is no need to swap out wet or dry cloths — it’ll dry just fine on its own without streaks. It’s pretty simple.

Again, just make sure that you never spray the screen directly and avoid over saturating the cloth.

The really fancy way

A product image of the Apple polishing cloth against a white background
Image used with permission by copyright holder

If you want to go the officially-sanctioned route, Apple has its own ungodly expensive “polishing cloth.” It’s a microfiber cloth that costs you $20. It’s also insanely popular, because when you’ve already spent thousands on a MacBook, why not have a branded cleaning cloth to go with it?

Apple recommends just using a non-abrasive and soft cloth to clean their screens, and that’s exactly what this is. If you’re an Apple fan, this is obviously the only way to clean your screen.

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Caleb Clark
Former Digital Trends Contributor
Caleb Clark is a full-time writer that primarily covers consumer tech and gaming. He also writes frequently on Medium about…
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