How to Clean Your MacBook Pro Screen

If you’ve had your MacBook Pro for more than a few days, your screen is probably dirty. No judgment; it happens to us too! No matter how careful you are, dust, fingerprints, and other grime find a way to stick to your beautiful display.

If you’re anything like me, though, you might be wary about cleaning your Mac’s display. You paid top dollar, and it would be tragic if you damaged it in an effort to restore its luster.

Thankfully, you can easily clean your Macbook Pro screen with a microfiber cloth, water, and isopropyl alcohol. 

As a former certified Apple hardware technician and everyday Mac user, I’ll show you the best way to wipe down your display using items you probably already have in your house.

Keep reading for all of the details.

What You’ll Need

So your MacBook Pro screen is dirty, but how can you clean it without scratching or otherwise ruining the display? First, you’ll need the following materials.

  • A microfiber or other soft, lint-free cloth

Your MacBook Pro probably came with a black microfiber cloth. If not, you can use one of those that comes with eyeglasses. Lacking either of these, you can order one for a few dollars from your favorite e-retailer.

  • Water

Used distilled water if possible, but tap water works too.

  • 70% isopropyl alcohol solution

This item is optional. Try the steps below first if you don’t have any on hand.

Step by Step MacBook Pro Screen Cleaning Procedure 

The cleaning process of MacBook Pro’s screen isn’t rocket science, but you need to follow certain steps to prevent damage to the screen.

1. Shut down the MacBook Pro and disconnect anything plugged into the computer.

This step is precautionary. If you follow these instructions, your Mac would probably be fine if it were left running. Still, there is a small chance water could enter the system– a potentially catastrophic scenario for a running MacBook Pro.

One other reason to shut down the computer: you can better see smudges and fingerprints when the screen is black.

2. Use a dry, microfiber cloth to wipe off dust and smudges.

I always start with a dry cloth first. Most of the time, I can remove all debris and fingerprints without using any liquid at all.

Use gentle pressure to wipe away dust and focus on fingerprints and other soiled areas.

3. Dampen your cloth with water if necessary.

Continue to wipe the smudged spots with a small amount of water applied to your cloth.

4. Use 70% Isopropyl Alcohol (IPA).

If water doesn’t suffice, apply a small amount of IPA (no, not the beer) to your cloth and wipe away the smudges. IPA will also disinfect the display, but we don’t recommend using alcohol unless necessary.

What Not to Do

  • Don’t use cleaning solutions with ammonia, acetone, or hydrogen peroxide. Avoid glass cleaners like Windex. 
  • Don’t use excessive force on the screen; the display might scratch or crack.
  • Don’t spray anything directly on the screen. Doing so could introduce liquid to the internal components.
  • Don’t use paper towels or tissues because they contain abrasive particles and can scratch your screen.
  • Don’t oversaturate the cloth. Doing so could lead to excess liquid entering areas that might cause damage to your MacBook Pro.

FAQs

Here are some other questions you might have about cleaning your MacBook Pro’s screen.

Will my screen become stained?

Certain MacBook displays from 2013 to 2017 had a tendency to lose their anti-reflective coating–a defect that came to be known as “Staingate” because the screen looks as if it has been stained.

This can occur whether or not you clean your MacBook Pro screen, even simply by contact with the keyboard when closing the lid. If your MacBook is “stained” get in touch with Apple. The company implemented a free repair program back in 2015 that appears to still be in effect.

Can I use glass cleaner on my MacBook Pro screen?

No. Glass cleaners contain ammonia which will ruin your display.

How do I clean the MacBook Pro screen hinge?

Try using the corner of your microfiber cloth. If that doesn’t work, a cotton swab should do the trick. You can use a small amount of 70% IPA.

Conclusion

For all the abuse MacBooks can take, their screens are pretty delicate.

Take care when cleaning, and you can have a like-new screen without doing any damage.

How do you clean your MacBook Pro screen? Do you have any other tips?

About Andrew Gilmore
Based in Norman, Oklahoma, Andrew is an ex-certified Apple technician with over fifteen years of experience in the IT world specializing in macOS and iOS. When he's not writing, he enjoys video games, reading, and really bad movies.

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