So your new Macbook’s covered in smudgy fingerprints and you want to clean them off but you’re afraid of damaging your screen? This guide will explain what will and will not do the job safely so you not only know what to use, but why you are using it.
What Solutions are Safe to Use?
The main issue with dirty screens, be it on a tablet, tv, or laptop is fingerprints. Whenever somebody touches the screen with their fingers, some of the oils from their skin get left behind on the screen. Eventually this builds up until you have a distracting oil-slick refracting light and stealing your attention from your task.
This guide will cover three ways to clean the greasiness from your screen: Using a Chamois/microfiber cloth, isopropyl alcohol, and white vinegar.
Cleaning your Macbook’s screen with a dry chamois or microfiber cloth
This is the safest way to clean your screen – with no chemicals or moisture at all – and it can be surprisingly effective! Certain materials can absorb the oil completely and leave your screen perfectly clean without the aid of liquid solvents or cleansers. The first and most effective is a chamois, followed by the less-effective but still serviceable microfiber cleaning cloths.
A chamois is a type of leather that is made from the skin of a goat-antelope species known as a chamois. You can find these in the automotive section of your local department store near the cleaning supplies. They are tan in color and feel like suede.
Alternatively, you can use a microfiber cloth. The best type of microfiber to use is the smooth variety usually sold or included with products for the specific purpose of cleaning screens. Any microfiber will work, but the less ‘fluffy’ the better.
Here’s the steps:
- Start with a clean chamois or microfiber cloth.
- Gently rub the cloth across the smudged area on your screen. At first it will look like you are smearing grease around, but after a few seconds you will notice that it is picking up the oil.
- Repeat over the entire screen until it’s fresh and clean, changing to a clean part of your cloth as needed. This should only take you about 30 seconds.
- That’s it, pretty simple.
Whichever material you choose, make sure you wash it regularly or it will become saturated with oil and stop working. Chamois should only be hand washed in the sink.
Cleaning your Macbook’s screen using White Vinegar
If you want something faster than the above method use a weak solvent. We will provide guidance on two: White vinegar and Isopropyl alcohol. Alcohol is the most effective, but food-grade white vinegar (acetic acid) has the benefit of being usable directly out of the bottle without the risk of damage to your screen. Do not use cleaning vinegar, only the edible kind.
How to clean with white vinegar:
- Turn off your MacBook.
- Dampen part of a microfiber cloth with the vinegar. Do not use paper towels or rough fabrics – these can leave scratches.
- Wipe the screen with the cloth.
- Dry the screen with a clean, dry part of the cloth.
- Repeat as needed until the screen is clean and clear.
How to use isopropyl alcohol to clean your screen
Rubbing alcohol is the most commonly used cleaner for screens, and it is perfectly safe as long as you dilute it before using. Most isopropyl alcohol you purchase at the store ranges from 70%-99%. You want to get it between 20%-50% before applying it to your screen.
Here’s the steps for using isopropyl alcohol to clean your screen:
- Turn off your MacBook.
- Mix isopropyl alcohol with distilled water in a ratio of 1:1. Regardless of the strength of the bottle of iso that you have, this will get it to a safe strength.
- Dampen part of a microfiber cloth with the solution. Do not use paper towels or rough fabrics – these can leave scratches.
- Wipe the screen with the cloth. Isopropyl alcohol dries rapidly, leaving no residue behind.
You can also load the diluted alcohol into a small spray bottle and either spray the cloth or the screen. Just be careful not to accidentally overspray onto other parts of your laptop.