How to clean and disinfect your laptop

MacBook Pro with Microfiber Clean
MacBook Pro with Microfiber Clean (Image credit: iMore)

The best MacBook, like all laptops, gets dirty through regular use and the environment. Cleaning your computer on a daily or weekly basis isn't just crucial for the device. By removing dangerous germs from your MacBook Air (M1, 2020) or another device, you're also protecting yourself. Here are essential ways to clean and disinfect your laptop.

Products used in this guide

  • Two-in-one: Flawless Screen Cleaner Spray with Microfiber Cleaning Cloth
  • For a deeper clean: Scrub Daddy
  • Use just a little: Deer Park Brand Distilled Water
  • Quick solution: Disinfecting Wipes Value Pack

How to clean and disinfect your laptop

Cleaning and disinfecting your laptop aren't the same thing, at least in the context of germs. Regular cleaning involves removing smudges and stubborn spots, and stains. Disinfecting, by contrast, removes unseen bacteria that could make you sick. For the latter, you need to use items that won't harm your laptop.

For everyday cleaning:

  1. Gently rub the cloth across the full width of the screen of your laptop, back and forth. When doing so, keep your computer steady, so it doesn't move while being cleaned.
  2. Use the cloth to clean other flat surfaces on the computer, including the device's top and bottom.

Note: Don't use items like paper towels or non-microfiber cleaning cloths. These can damage your laptop or leave lint behind.

For weekly cleaning, use a screen cleaner to both clean and disinfect:

  1. Spray your laptop screen and flat surfaces with a suitable cleaning spray.
  2. Use your microfiber cleaning cloth to remove the spray residue.

Note: The spray you use on your display needs to come from risk-free materials that won't hurt the computer. Gentle cleaners are best, typically ones that use isopropyl alcohol. The best rule of thumb: buy a spray designed to clean and disinfect electronics.

When your keyboard is dirty:

  1. Wet a clean sponge using purified or distilled water.
  2. Squeeze the clean sponge so that it's almost dry.
  3. Gently wipe the keyboard with the sponge, removing the grime.

Note: To remove stubborn stains, you can add a tiny drop of gentle dish soap to the water before cleaning.

On at least a weekly basis, disinfect your laptop:

  1. Use a one-use wipe across your entire notebook to remove germs.

Note: When selecting wipes, buy those aimed at killing bacteria that are also safe to use on electronics. These come from many companies and are available at various retailers.

Take just a few seconds out of your week to clean and disinfect your laptop. The most crucial part of any solution is making sure to have the correct items at home. Using things that aren't safe for an electronic device, you risk causing damage to your computer.

Our top equipment picks

Keeping a clean laptop is essential for the long-term health of your investment. These tools will get the job done.

Use the pack to clean screens and smooth surfaces. It's effective against fingerprints, smudges, body oil, grime, bacteria, and much more. Use it on your mobile devices too!

Additional Equipment

We also suggest having a sponge to remove grime and spots on your keyboard, although with distilled water. Don't use the same sponge you use in the kitchen, however. Clean and disinfect your laptop with a separate one.

clean and disinfect your laptop

Scrub Daddy Amazon Cropped

Scrub Daddy Amazon Cropped (Image credit: Scrub Daddy)

Scrub Daddy (3-count) ($12 at Amazon)

Scrub Daddy's FlexTexture foam is firm in cold water for tough scrubbing and soft in warm water for light cleaning. The easy and affordable go-to for your cleaning needs.

Deer Park Brand Distilled Water

Deer Park Brand Distilled Water (Image credit: Deer Park)

Deer Park Brand Distilled Water 1 Case (6 Bottles) ($25 at Amazon)

Any distilled water will do. This one gives you plenty for a reasonable price. Find the one that fits your budget.

Disinfecting Wipes Value Park

Disinfecting Wipes Value Park (Image credit: Clorox)

Disinfecting Wipes Value Pack (Pack of 3) ($19 at Amazon)

Use the wipes to disinfect surfaces efficiently and effectively. Versatile and multifunctional for all household needs..

Bryan M Wolfe
Staff Writer

Bryan M. Wolfe has written about technology for over a decade on various websites, including TechRadar, AppAdvice, and many more. Before this, he worked in the technology field across different industries, including healthcare and education. He’s currently iMore’s lead on all things Mac and macOS, although he also loves covering iPhone, iPad, and Apple Watch. Bryan enjoys watching his favorite sports teams, traveling, and driving around his teenage daughter to her latest stage show, audition, or school event in his spare time. He also keeps busy walking his black and white cocker spaniel, Izzy, and trying new coffees and liquid grapes.