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Mac users are supposed to be vain and perhaps this question vindicates that assumption – I'm talking about physically cleaning the machine.

The screen and the silvery surface tends to gather a lot of dust on my Mac; it could also be a function of how "dusty" your environment is – in my case it is quite dusty.

The question is, how should you go about cleaning your Mac? Dry tissue? Wet tissue? Soap? Erasers? (Yes somebody did suggest using an eraser) Why or why not?

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9 Answers

up vote 3 down vote accepted

I use a dry cloth to clean mine and don't use any chemicals, they just scare me with my MacBook Pro.

This is a guide to cleaning laptop monitors that I found:

How to Clean Laptop Computer Screen

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I think I would follow this advice from Apple: How to clean Apple products

The materials used to make Apple products vary; in some cases each product may have specific cleaning requirements, which may vary by the part you are cleaning. Here are some tips that apply to all products to get you started:

  • Use only a soft, lint-free cloth. Abrasive cloths, towels, paper towels, and similar items may cause damage to the item.
  • Disconnect your Apple product from any external power sources.
  • Disconnect any external devices and other cabling from the product.
  • Keep liquids away from the product.
  • Don’t get moisture into any openings, and don't use aerosol sprays, solvents, or abrasives.
  • Do not spray cleaners directly onto the item.

For the MacBook Pro, they say:

When cleaning the outside of your MacBook, MacBook Pro, or MacBook Air, first shut down your computer and unplug the power adapter. Then use a damp, soft, lint-free cloth to clean the computer’s exterior. Avoid getting moisture in any openings. Do not spray liquid directly on the computer. Do not use aerosol sprays, solvents, or abrasives that might damage the finish.

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I use baby wipes to clean the non-screen surfaces, including the keyboard. I use a lint-free cloth for the screen, and do not use any cleaner products. This isn't limited to my Macbook though, I do the same for cleaning the outside surfaces of all my computers.

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be sure to stay away from those baby-wipes with moisturizer!Could get greasy... ;) –  pavsaund Jul 27 '09 at 10:55
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I use a vacuum cleaner (set to low power!) once in a while to remove dust and all the stuff that gets stuck under the keys. After that you can use a slightly (!!!) wet(-tish!) cloth to clean everything but the screen.

For the screen i use a microfiber cloth or these wet one-shot glasses cleaning cloths. If your MacBook is only dusty you can use the microfiber cloth for the whole machine.

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A just damp handkerchief. Even for the monitor. You know, those ones you tie around your head as a bandana -- they come in all sorts of colors and patterns.

100% cotton, just damp, with 100% H2O. Air should be able to dry any moisture in about 2 seconds. If not, too much moisture. Great if there is any sticky spots.

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Rubbing alcohol and cotton balls. A very small amount does the trick, and use a few dry cotton balls to "buff" the streaks away once it's clean. Works on the screen and the case, and seems to be entirely safe in both cases. It has not affected the finish or look on any of my machines in the past 8 years.

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Rubbing alcohol and q-tips seem to work on the logic board if you're desperate.

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By the way, for hand grime buildup on MacBook [Pro|Air] palm-rests, the Mr. Clean Magic Eraser (technically melamine resin foam, and also sold under names like BASF Basotect, "3M Scotch Brite Easy Erasing Pad", and others) works wonders. If someone mentioned an eraser, hopefully this is what they were talking about, as opposed to a pencil eraser.

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I'm surprised no one has yet mentioned the one cleaning product that apple actually sells in their store, iKlear. A friend had some and I got to try it, it actually works great, better than any of the things mentioned so far, and I've tried them all (water, cotton balls, rubbing alcohol, cotton cloth, etc.). It sounds like a waste of money, but don't knock it until you've tried it. Just like the Apple site says

iKlear is the only cleaner recommended by Apple Tech Support and used by Apple Care for cleaning a wide range of Apple products.

And it really works well. After trying some from my friend, I bought it the next time I had the chance. Although it is a bit expensive at $29.95 if you pay full retail price from apple for their kit, it lasts forever (I've had my bottle for over 2 years, and I'm not yet halfway through it). The kit also comes with several cloths and a bunch of travel singles.

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