Mac 101: the best way to clean your MacBook’s screen [Video]


Although I love using the 16-inch MacBook Pro as my primary workhorse, one of the most frustrating things about using an Apple laptop is how easily the display gets dirty. For years I used to struggle with cleaning my MacBook Pro display, but over the past few years I like to think I’ve finally perfected the screen-cleaning technique.

If you’re looking for the best way to clean your MacBook display, then look no further than this tutorial. In the end, I think you’ll agree, there’s simply no reason to tolerate using a MacBook with a dirty screen.

In this hands-on video walkthrough, I’ll show you my go-to method for keeping my MacBook Pro screen clean, and the products involved to make it happen.

Items you need

Before you get started, you’ll need a few tools. Of course, you can modify this tutorial to suite your needs, but these are the products that have treated me well.

Video: The best way to clean your MacBook’s screen

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The reasons behind each item

I’ve been cleaning my MacBook displays for years, and it took me a long while to come up with the perfect setup. There are reasons behind each item that I use.

Whoosh Screen Shine

I started using Whoosh after I visited an Apple store and saw that the Apple Store employees used it to clean the display model screens in store. After trying it, I can see why.

For starters, the formula is non-toxic and virtually odorless. Most importantly, you don’t want to spray something on the MacBook’s sensitive display that could potentially cause damage. Whoosh advertises that it’s safe for all kinds of displays, and after using it for several years, I agree with that sentiment. Of course, there may be other sprays that work just as well, but Whoosh is what I have the most experience with.

Kirkland Signature Premium Microfiber Towel

The same basic principle applies to my cleaning towel of choice, the Kirkland Signature Premium Microfiber Towels that Costco sells. I originally started buying these for car detailing, but one day decided to try them out to clean my screens.

After trying these microfiber towels on my various Macs, I was sold. In my opinion these towels are superior to the types of cleaning cloths often included with tech products, and even with the Whoosh cleaner itself.

The problem with the thin gray or black cleaning cloths that are often bundled with tech products is that they lack the thicknesses needed to soak up liquid. So when you wipe the display, you’re basically just smearing the liquid on the display. That smeared liquid quickly dries, and you’re left with nasty blotches and streaks on your display.

With a thick microfiber towel like the one suggested above, the liquid is absorbed by the towel while you wipe and doesn’t get a chance to dry on the screen and cause those ugly streaks. It’s something that took a while for me to get, but once I did, it was like a lightbulb went on in my head.

Giottos Rocket Air Blaster

In my opinion, owning a Giottos Rocket Air Blaster is a must for any tech enthusiast. Not only is this air blaster great for cleaning lenses and camera sensors, but it’s handy for anything else that can benefit from a quick blast of air.

The wonderful thing about the Giottos Rocket Air Blaster is that it’s completely self-powered. There is no freezing compressed aerosol air that can cause damage to your electronics, and there are no batteries or power to fool with; it’s always ready to work. Just give it a strong squeeze, and it moves a surprising amount of air.

Before you start wiping down a display, you need to make sure that there’s no loose debris on the screen that can cause damage. I use the Rocket Air Blaster as a pre-cleaning step for cleaning my MacBook’s screen.

Bath towel or other soft surface

Finally, I use a bath towel or other soft surface to protect my MacBook during the cleaning process. Because I recommend resting the MacBook on its screen to get the best even cleaning angle, it’s imperative that you place something underneath the device to protect it from scratches.

How to clean your MacBook’s screen detailed step-by-step tutorial

Step 1

Power off your MacBook and unplug all accessories. If you’ve just recently used your Mac, give the screen time to cool off if it is warm.

A filthy display

Step 2

Place a plush towel down or other soft item down on a stable surface to protect your MacBook from scratches and other damage.

Step 3

Open your MacBook’s lid and place it at a 90-degree angle so that you can rest it down with the screen facing up, parallel to the surface. This allows you to maintain an even, stable angle on the display as you clean it, and will also prevent the Whoosh Screen Shine from running down the display.

You’ll want to decrease the brightness to the minimum value or turn off the MacBook so that you can see the true state of the display.

Step 4

Use the Giottos Rocket Air Blaster to blow air on the surface of the display to move or dislodge any debris. Do this several times to ensure that all debris is removed.

Step 5

Take a new microfiber towel, fold it in half and then fold it again, and gently, with no pressure, slide it over the surface of the display to remove any lingering debris.

Step 6

Spray a liberal amount of Whoosh Screen Shine on the surface of the display. Don’t go overboard, but you want to spray enough so that the entire display comes into contact with the liquid when wiped. Watch the video if you’re unsure.

Step 7

Fold the microfiber towel two more times to create a small cleaning tool. With your quad-folded microfiber towel, gently wipe the screen from the left side to the right side. Start at the bottom of the display near the base of the machine, and work your way up toward the webcam.

Step 8

Wipe the display from top to bottom starting on the left side of the display and working your way to the right side of the display.

As you wipe, you should notice that the spots and smudges disappear. You should also notice that the microfiber towel is soaking up the liquid.

Step 9

Invert the microfiber towel with the dry side facing out, and wipe the display again using the same pattern in the previous two steps. You should notice that the display gets slicker as the clean screen has the liquid completely removed from it.

Step 10

Use the Giottos Rocket Air Blaster to remove any lingering dust particles that may appear on the display.

9to5Mac’s Take

In my experience, one of the most frustrating things about using a MacBook Pro is how quickly the display gets dirty. As much as I avoid touching it, or sneezing in front of it, or coughing on the display, or eating or drinking around my laptop, it inevitably still gets dirty.

Thanks to these tried-and-true steps, it’s no longer a bother. In just a couple of minutes I can go from a dirty display to a display that looks like I just took it out of the box. I also find this cleaning regimen to be super-handy when preparing my MacBooks to sell.

What do you think? Do you have a hard time keeping your MacBook display clean, or do you have a working cleaning method in place? Share your thoughts down below in the comments.

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