I try to clean my mid-2015 Macbook Pro with Retina display by wiping the screen with a damp cloth and then immediately drying.

However, there seems to be left some residue/streak marks, which look very oily. Sometimes these disappear after a few minutes, but they are still very unsightly, and a bit worrying (is there something wrong with my screen?)

I'm wondering if there are other cleaning techniques which avoid this issue, or whether this is completely normal behaviour.

Thank you!

1 Answer 1


Two microfibre cloths, available from any supermarket.
Don't get the 'smooth' ones specially for glass, they can be a bit hard on a plastic screen, get the 'fluffy' ones that make your fingers itch, like picking up tiny velcro.

One cloth completely wetted in lukewarm water [nothing else], then squeezed as dry as you possibly can [trick - fold in 4, then roll & wring. You really want it as dry as possible].
The other cloth totally dry.
If the screen is warm, you may need the first cloth very slightly wetter - but never anywhere near wet enough to dribble if squeezed - you really don't want any water that could run down the screen. The cloths work better when almost dry anyway.
If the screen is cold & also dark, i.e. computer off, you'll also find it much easier to see when it's clean.

Wipe the damp one gently over the screen, multiple times, turning the cloth, pay attention to the edges & corners. The trick is gentle repetition, rather than 'force'. Then, whilst the screen is still very slightly damp, wipe over again with the dry one, completely drying the surface.

Smears gone forever… well, until next time ;-)

Please don't be tempted to use any type of domestic cleaner or alcohol. You never know what type of screen coating any given screen has & some cleaners can irreparably damage the coating layer of some screens.

  • 1
    Thanks! This seems like a very detailed and thorough answer, so I've upvoted, but I won't be able to test (and so, accept) it for a while. Mar 7, 2016 at 10:27
  • I don't have any microfibre cloths, but I ended up using the same cloths which I use to clean my glasses, and this method has proved very effective! Mar 8, 2016 at 10:13
  • Glasses cloths are usually microfibre ;-) They're actually similar to the 'smooth' ones I mention at the top of my answer, but are considerably softer than the ones you get in supermarkets for cleaning mirrors etc. I would have mentioned them - but considered them a bit small [& expensive] for screen cleaning. The 'fluffy' ones you can get for a quid/buck/shekel in packs of 3 or more. TBH, once you start using them to clean things, they become something of the same kind of revelation sliced bread must have been early last century ;)
    – Tetsujin
    Mar 8, 2016 at 10:17
  • I had a similar/identical problem (apple.stackexchange.com/questions/316798/…). I ran a microfibre cloth and a glass cloth in the washing machine, and used the microfibre on the MacBook screen straight out of the washing machine: wet, but drained. I need to check the screen up against bright sunlight, but as far as I can see, the screen looks completely restored (no film of chemicals). Didn't even use the glass cloth. Imprints of the keyboard are still there, but that's permanent damage probably.
    – forthrin
    Mar 2, 2018 at 19:13

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