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How to Clean Your MacBook Safely and Effectively

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Read Time: 5 min

My MacBook is probably the thing I use most in a day, and that might just be the case for you too. Through the excessive use of our MacBooks, the need to clean them regularly becomes more and more evident. In this article, we're going to take a look at some techniques for cleaning your MacBook both safely and properly.

As you've probably guessed, we'll be dealing with both liquids and electronics today, so naturally we need to note that not I, nor MacTuts+, is liable for any damage you may do to your device during the cleaning process.

Step 1. Setup

Before you do any sort of work on your MacBook, you're going to need to shut it down, detach the power supply and anything else you've got connected and, should your MacBook have the ability to do so, remove the battery.

I'd also recommend laying down your MacBook on some soft surface like a towel, since we'll be moving it around a fair bit in order to clean the casing.

Shut it down, take it out.

Ingredients List

Aside from the MacBook you that you want to clean, you're going to need a few things on hand to support your efforts. The most basic toolkit, and the Apple-recommended one, should include a clean, soft, lint-free cloth and a source of water in which to lightly dampen it. If you don't own one, they're fairly inexpensive and available online and from office and even auto supply stores. (For what it's worth, I've seen many people recommend a 3M product, such as the micro-fibre lens cleaning cloth.)

There's also a range of additional solutions and cleaning supplies you can buy, most of which at your local Apple Store. While they aren't required to clean your MacBook, they are an option, especially for cleaning your case. We'll take a look at some of the products available later in the article.

Things to Avoid

As Apple recommends, do not use aerosol sprays, solvents, or abrasives. While you can certainly use cleaning products (obviously, only ones that are designed for use on your product; don't just use generic cleaning supplies) that come as a spray, don't use them to spray directly onto the product. Be sure to spray them on a cloth and use that to apply it to the product.

Step 2. Cleaning The Screen

To clean your MacBook screen, first ensure the steps we took in the first section have been met. Then, go ahead and pull out your clean, soft, lint-free cloth and dampen it slightly with water. Make sure you aren't soaking it or, upon application, there's a likelihood the excess water can run into parts of your machine that you don't want it to.

Then, simply go ahead and wipe down your screen with the cloth.

Step 3. Cleaning The Keyboard

The keyboard is perhaps the most likely place on your MacBook to get dirty, considering it's the part that you'll likely touch the most. Research has shown that a keyboard can host more germs than your toilet, so it's an area you'll likely want to take action to keep clean.

A keyboard can host more germs than your toilet.

Just as important as keeping your keyboard clean is cleaning it safely. The design of a MacBook's island-style keyboard means there's many opportunities for liquids to get into the internals of your machine and cause problems, so it's important not to douse it in water.

My recommended course of action for cleaning your keyboard is to use a dedicated product, such as the Techlink Keyboard Cleaning System, which is specifically designed to clean your keys and the casing around them.

Otherwise, you can take a damp cloth like we've used in the other steps and wipe down each key, and it's surrounding casing. Do so individually, and not in just one wipe of the entire keyboard.

However you choose to clean the keyboard area, it is vital you do not allow for residual liquids to be left to leak into your MacBook's internals.

Step 4. Cleaning The Case

Cleaning your MacBook's case is a very similar process to the one we used for the display. You'll need to pull out that clean, lint-free cloth, lightly dampen it with a source of water and then wipe down the case of your MacBook, making sure to not apply too much water in order to avoid it leaking into the inside.

To keep your MacBook safe, be sure not to spray liquid directly onto the case and take special care when cleaning near ports and other openings on your MacBook to avoid potential damage.

The Products

While your most basic equipment need only include a cloth and some water, there's a range of third-party cleaning products available that can be used to effectively clean your MacBook, including things like the specialist keyboard cleaning system we mentioned earlier in the article.


TechLink has a range of cleaning products designed for use on MacBooks available exclusively in Apple Stores (although, not in the US it seems). I own some of the products and can definitely recommend them.

One such product is the aforementioned keyboard cleaning system that features a precision-made sponge designed specifically for a MacBook's keyboard, for effective cleaning. Another is the Anti-Bacterial Notebook Spray and Cloth, a kit that provides both a cloth and fluid for cleaning your screen and casing.



The iKlear and Klear Screen range includes a number of products fit for cleaning your MacBook. The various cleaning kits include both fluids and cloths, in addition to sets of pre-moist, disposable cloths that can be used to clean your MacBook easily on the go, or just speedily (they're also available separately).

Other quality brand are, of course, available. Such as: Belkin and 3M cleaning products.

Learn more about iKlear.

How Do You Clean Your MacBook?

Based on both Apple's recommended course of action and personal experience, we've taken a look at the best way to clean your MacBook. If you've got any sort of tips for cleaning, recommended products or comments, be sure to share them below!

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