There is something indescribably pleasant about unwrapping a Mac computer, fresh from the box. Many Mac users wait as long as possible to peel off the protective plastic, dreading the inevitable day when their brand-new device is covered in fingerprint smudges, food crumbs and other grime.
It is possible to keep your Mac clean — inside and out. Here’s how.
You aren’t going to be able to keep your Mac in pristine condition with your old kitchen sponge. You need the right tools to keep off the dust, oils and general grime that can accumulate in and around a laptop. Here are some of our must-have cleaning products for Macs:
Microfiber cleaning cloths. There is a reason that every tech guide lists a microfiber cloth as a necessity: They can remove dust and dirt without causing any kind of damage. Paper cleaning products can cause micro-scratches, especially if you use them often to clean your screen and other sensitive parts of your Mac. What’s more, other cleaning cloths can leave lint behind, which can damage the inner workings of your device. You should use a microfiber cloth as the first step in your cleaning.
Rolling screen cleaner. Just as you would lint roll your pants for a quick clean, you can roll your Mac screen when you need to remove fingerprints without much effort. Liquid-free, this roller can last for years without wear and tear.
Lens cleaning wipes. In single-use packets, lens cleaning wipes are a convenient and useful way to fully eliminate dirt, oil, bacteria and other gunk on your Mac. Designed to clean the lenses of cameras and glasses, these wipes are ammonia-free and made of material that won’t scratch or discolor your computer.
Universal cleaning gel. Cleaning gel is excellent for getting dirt out of hard-to-reach cracks — like in between your keyboard keys. With the consistency of slime, this gel slips into cracks without leaving any residue behind. You can rinse off the gel after use, but you will probably need to fully replace it after a few uses.
Electronics cleaning brush. With soft, pointed bristles that make it easy to wipe away crumbs and dirt as well as a pointed silicone nib for reaching into the cracks, this cleaning brush is affordable and effective.
Storage cleaner. You don’t want the outside of your Mac to look beautiful while the digital spaces inside are disorganized and full of junk. You can use this free Mac cleaner from Trend Micro to clear up your disk space and improve performance.
You shouldn’t wait until your Mac looks grody before you bother to clean it. Just as you should be wiping down your bathrooms and washing your sheets on a regular schedule, you should build time into your weekly calendar to give your Mac a good scrub. Most digital cleaning tools can be automated to run when you don’t need to be using your computer, so you don’t have to worry about sifting through your files one by one. Wiping the physical dirt and grime off should only take a few minutes, so you might use a quick break from work to get it done.
You should try to keep your hands clean whenever you handle any component of your Mac. Washing your hands with soap and water will remove the dirt and oils that accumulate on your skin through the day, so less of that gunk will end up on your computer. If you can’t spare the time to go to the sink, you might at least keep some antibacterial hand gel by your computer; this won’t remove the dirt and oil, but it will kill any nasty germs stuck to your fingers.
Cyber hygiene is just as important for keeping your Mac clean as any other type of hygiene, if not more so. By maintaining strong passwords, staying away from malicious websites, links and downloads, keeping apps updated and more, your Mac will maintain factory-perfect performance — even if it does get a little dirty on the outside.