I've always used a mixture of isopropyl alcohol and distilled water to clean my computer screens (50% water and 50% * 70% isopropyl). From what I understand, these are exactly the same ingredients used in most commercial screen cleaners, perhaps even more diluted.

I recently used this solution to wipe off my 2010 MacBook Pro screen, and there don't seem to be any problems, but this support page explicitly says not to use isopropyl. Now I'm worried that I might have inadvertently damaged something. I'm also concerned because I once managed to dissolve the surface rubber lining of one of my mice with the isopropyl solution, and the MacBook Pro display has a thin rubber bezel keeping the glass in place.

Why would Apple single out isopropyl on their support page? Should I be concerned?

  • I have always used distilled water and a microfiber cloth to clean lcd's, Walkmart and other retailers sell microfiber cloths for a reasonable price
    – Moab
    Dec 4, 2010 at 21:51
  • @Archagon I have used a product called Muc-Off, and have had no problems, cleaning my computer screens with the products muc-off.com/en/electronics/…
    – Simon
    Dec 28, 2012 at 14:41
  • I'm not sure for macs but a lot of monitors have protective coatings on them that are removed when rubbing alcohol is used. I have slightly messed up an LCD monitor this way. For future, don't use alcohol. Just use distilled water. It wont evaporate as fast but its pretty much just as clean. Also, wait until the monitor/screen isn't hot b/c the cold solution can crack or warp when contacting the hot screen. Granted that is a rare possibility.
    – jmathew
    Sep 22, 2013 at 20:42

5 Answers 5


Like the OP, I've always used a 50/50 mixture of isopropyl alcohol and distilled water. Just now, I seem to have damaged the screen of my (Late 2013) MacBook Pro Retina by cleaning it with this mixture and a microfibre cloth.

There is a coating on the screen that has rubbed off in a patch about a quarter inch wide and two inches long. It's very noticeable, but luckily it's on the bezel rather than the screen proper. I'll probably live with it, as a repair would probably involve replacing the whole screen. ($$$$)

This was possibly the third or fourth time that I've used this mixture to clean this screen in the few months that I've owned this machine. It's really annoying to find that the most expensive laptop I've ever bought has a screen that can be so easily damaged, using a cleaner that I've seen recommended lots of times on the web and which has worked well for me in the past.

Bottom line: Do NOT use isopropyl alcohol (or anything other than water) to clean a screen unless the manufacturer says it is okay.

To be fair, Apple does say something to that effect here: http://support.apple.com/kb/HT3226#portables

(Yes, I know this is an old question - just adding this reply for the benefit of those who, like me, find this page in future by Googling.)


Many reputable places recommend a 50/50 mix like you are doing. Apple's screens are manufactured in the same plant that other large brands' LCDs are, so I would assume it's relatively safe - though it may void your warranty if they can prove you used isopropyl against their wishes.

Most likely they just want you to buy their microfiber screen cleaning cloth. The cloths are good, but I don't know how much they retail for. I work at a University that has a few Mac labs and we have about 100 of them laying around so I've never had to find out. :)

  • 2
    The screen may be manufactured in the same plant, but the materials used to house it in the laptop bezel may be sensitive to alcohol.
    – Moab
    Dec 4, 2010 at 21:49
  • 2
    Get a microfiber cloth anyways. They are really great at cleaning!
    – CyberSkull
    Aug 5, 2013 at 13:13
  • I've found that a tiny bit of tap water on a microfiber cloth is as good as alcohol. I live in an area with varying particles in the tap water, so if you live in a place with especially hard water it might be less effective/desirable. Sep 5, 2013 at 0:00

I have a mid-2012 model MacBook Pro, and it came with a cloth which I use to clean the screen occasionally. This cloth works pretty well for removing dust, dirt, fingerprints etc. from my screen. I have never used any kind of cleaning solution (not even water) to clean my MacBook's screen.

If they say not to use isopropyl, I would advise against it, because there is probably a reason for it. Although, if you have been doing this for a long time and haven't noticed any damage, it should be okay. Water should be fine, as long as there are no cracks on your screen, or damage to the rubber bezel.


You are safe to use Isopropyl alcohol(diluted) to clean up LCD/LED screen, but using concentrated Isopropyl will damage plastic and rubber materials(not all, but certain category and I am unaware of the categories), as there will be happening a chemical reaction. Though you are using it as diluted, it will not harm much.But a long term term/frequent use may harm the plastic and rubber parts .It is recommended to use the microfibre cloth and use Isopropyl only if needed.


Apple says:

Using a 70 percent isopropyl alcohol wipe or Clorox Disinfecting Wipes, you may gently wipe the hard, nonporous surfaces of your Apple product, such as the display, keyboard, or other exterior surfaces. Don't use bleach. Avoid getting moisture in any opening, and don't submerge your Apple product in any cleaning agents. Don't use on fabric or leather surfaces.

Source: https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT204172

Screenshot for posterity:

Screenshot of Apple.com Guidelines

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