I've messed up and used a generic LCD cleaning product on a glass iMac screen. According to the label it consists of distilled water and surfactants (or surface-active components, don't know how to translate it correctly). As a result there are smudges on the screen. Any way to remove them?

4 Answers 4


I have done this safely before with windex. Just spray a little on a microfiber or even a soft towel and wipe down the screen. As long as you do not drown it you will be fine.

I have taken the glass off the iMac before to work inside it and they do a good job sealing the insides from the out.

In general, when cleaning a computer, distilled water is fine as it is non-conductive.


Some Macs come with a microfiber cloth that works pretty well cleaning the screen. If yours didn't (or you lost it) you can pick one up at places like Amazon.com or Walmart.

The type of microfiber cloth that I'm referring to can be seen here at Amazon. A search returns lots of simulated terry-cloth microfiber towels (e.g.), which might work, but I recommend something like the first link.

  • I've got the cloth but it doesn't remove smudges it just kinda redistributes the stuff.
    – synapse
    Mar 20, 2014 at 18:24
  • Let the screen and the cloth dry out if they aren't and try again. Make sure the cloth is clean. If it is still just moving the smudges around you might need to try to get a squeegee like effect in your cleaning.
    – dwightk
    Mar 20, 2014 at 18:58

You definitely want to be careful so as not to damage the anti-glare coating that Apple puts on your screen at the factory. Though this method does stray from the official cleaning instructions from Apple, I've had very good results using the following method to get a pristine, streak-free screen which honors the clarity of the Retina displays on my iMac 27" and MacBook Pro.

Cleaning Method:

  1. Use either (a) warm water, or (b) a cleaning solution specifically made for Apple screens. (I found one called iKlear at Fry's here in San Diego, which is specifically made for displays on Apple products). Apply the solution (or water) to a clean microfiber cloth, then wipe the screen down with it. As others have mentioned, try to use the one that came with your iMac. Otherwise, just purchase a replacement (get one that is specifically made for cleaning computer displays).
  2. Get a nice shower squeegee. I always make sure to clean the squeegee blade off first. Use the squeegee to carefully pull the remaining cleaning solution to the edge of the screen (while the display is still wet). Catch the dripping solution with your microfiber cloth as you get close to the edge of the screen. Don't try to use a dirty or old squeegee. I'd recommend one like this.
  • I've been cleaning iMacs, MBPs, MBAs, iPhones and iPads for years with 70% alcohol and normal facial tissue. Not just damp tissue, I soak them in alcohol. Screen, keyboard, touchpad and alu casing all get a good scrub every couple of days. Never had any issues with it. On the contrary, after years of doing this, my devices look brand new. Without pretending I know better, I never heard of anti-glaring coating or the absence of it after cleaning. I however encourage anybody to do it with proper materials if you have access to them.
    – EDP
    Mar 5, 2016 at 16:52
  • Please see these forum entries, there is an anti-reflective coating discussion mentions genius bar referring to the anti-glair coating and not using alcohol and also another mention of anti-glair coating on macrumors.com
    – Bee-Dub
    Apr 30, 2016 at 16:32

Let me share with you how I came to this. My screen was heavily smudged. I tried water, dish water, glass cleaner, vinegar, and it only got worse. So I figured I did not have much to lose and I tried spray Lemon Pledge furniture polish. I sprayed it on, rubbed and cleaned with a soft cloth, then polished with a very clean cloth. My screen is now almost perfect 98 out of 100 + the surface is not as sticky as it used to be. It seems more finger print resistant and the dust blows right off.

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