What to Know About Cleaning a MacBook Screen

How to Clean a MacBook Screen

If you carry your MacBook around with you to your local coffee shop and to work, you will probably need to clean the screen on a regular basis. A MacBook is an expensive computer and you do not want to ruin the screen by using unsuitable cleaning materials.

In fact, the screen is not difficult to clean at all and wiping it with a damp microfiber cloth is all that is necessary. Here are some tips for making sure you clean your MacBook screen correctly.

Stay Safe

Firstly, it is important to turn off your MacBook, unplug the power cable and disconnect any other external devices that are hooked up to the computer. You could get a slight shock if moisture reaches electrical components while you clean, especially if the power adaptor is plugged in. The components could also get damaged.

To shut down your Mac, go to the Apple menu at the top left corner of the screen. Then, click on the Apple logo, scroll down and click on the shut down menu item. Wait for the screen to go blank. You can then unplug the power cable and any other external devices.

Materials to Use

The cleaning materials you use on your MacBook screen must be those intended for use on it as other materials can cause damage. Most laptops have plastic screens but MacBooks have glass screens.

You will need a microfiber or soft cloth. Microfiber is synthetic and is made from very small fibers, often a blend of polyester and nylon. Other clothes can tend to push the dirt around, but the beauty of microfiber clothes is that they trap dust, dirt and even bacteria. A microfiber cloth is not abrasive like a paper towel.

A microfiber cloth and some water can even lift oils off surfaces without the need for strong chemical cleaning agents. The porous nature of a microfiber cloth also means that it is very absorbent and dries quickly. Using a damp microfiber cloth barely leaves a trace of liquid behind.

In most cases, all you will need to use is water, although there are some cleaning products you can use for tougher stains. For the best results, use distilled water instead of tap water. Tap water contains minerals that can be conductive and are more likely to cause a shortage than if you use distilled water.

There are cleaners that are specifically sold for use with LCD screens and you should not ever use all purpose cleaners. These can damage or even break screens.

Materials to Avoid

Do not use the following materials to clean the display.

  • Household cleaners
  • Window cleaners
  • Aerosol sprays
  • Cleaners containing ammonia
  • Cleaners containing acetone
  • Cleaners containing hydrogen peroxide 
  • Abrasives

Many chemical cleaners can strip off the screen coating. People often ask if they can use Windex to clean the screen, but it can also ruin the coating. Using a disinfectant wipe is fine as long as it does not contain bleach.

Cleaning Method

If the screen is still warm, wait for it to cool down. Spray your microfiber cloth with distilled water rather than soaking it. It should only be slightly damp as you do not want water to drip inside the display and cause damage.

If you squeeze the cloth and some water comes out, it is probably too wet. There is a big difference between damp and wet. Never spray cleaner directly on the screen. Liquid damage is not covered by AppleCare Protection Plans or under the Apple product warranty.

Use the damp cloth to gently wipe away any dried dirt and dust on surfaces or in crevices. Be gentle – do not rub the screen or apply too much pressure. If you scrub, you are likely to remove the protective layer. Move across the whole screen using small circles and steady, light pressure. Hold the computer by the keyboard or upper edge to avoid accidentally smudging the screen again.

When your screen is seriously dirty, you may want to use more than just water. Check for a good list online of recommended cleaning products for MacBooks.

Disinfecting Your Screen

If you want to go a step further and disinfect your display, you can use a disinfectant wipe that does not contain bleach. Then, wipe the screen with a damp cloth and use a second dry cloth to complete the process.

What you must avoid when disinfecting your screen:

  • Wipes that contain bleach.
  • Disinfecting sprays. You should never spray directly on the screen.
  • Using rough towels or cloths.

How to Keep it Clean

Here are some simple practices that can help you to keep your MacBook clean:

  • Keep your fingers off the screen.
  • Do not eat while using your Macbook
  • Keep your MacBook in a case to protect it.
  • Use a screen protector to help prevent smudging.

In Conclusion

Using the above steps, you can make sure your screen while avoiding damage. If you are in any doubt, Apple provides instructions on how to clean all of its products, including MacBooks with retina screens.

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