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What are Professionals Using for Screen Cleaning

I’ve used an ammonia-free window cleaner for years but am concerned about the newer Retina screens. What have you had success with?


I though I could go to the horses mouth, but they don’t tell you either, just what to not use: https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT204172...

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Hi @mayer

That's is a good question, initially of thinking IPA but I think it can be too strong to eat or wear away the coating.


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Well, Apple recommends a dampened soft cloth with just water and honestly for once I can't blame them for being so cautious!

Chemical industry kicked in the market in the last half century something like 60,000 chemical substances, mostly without having a clue about their effects on anything different than the purpose they were developed for, let alone the possible interactions between them.

I've tried hydrogen peroxide that Apple deprecates on partially compromised screens to completely remove the coating with mixed results, some areas got clean, others seem to be diamond hard. I'm quite convinced Apple is aware of that. When we read the thread about Apple 'StainGate' Screen problems - looking for quick, viable solution ,

We can read all sort of mixed results, including products of daily use for skin and mouth hygiene disposing of the coating in no time.

I would recommend just water too if I was Apple, considering what we normally use considering it "delicate".

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If the screen was properly prepped before the coating was applied then none of these wacky solutions would alter it!

The problem is Apple's glass supplier messed up! Any failure to have spotlessly clean glass before the coating is applied puts the coating at risk in not making the mechanical bond to the glass. In this case its at the atomic level (Ionic).

Think how some glues won't adhere to some materials as the bond can't be created. This is the similar condition at the get go. If the bond was good then there is no risk of the coating coming off just by rubbing it with a micro cloth or any simple cleaner IPA, window cleaner etc...

Now to be clear we are not talking about coated windows as the coating on the inside surface of the window glass is designed to reflect IR & UV wavelengths this coating is sensitive to Ammonia! Which is why they need non-ammonia window cleaners.

The coating used here is Fluoropolymer Silane (think Fluorite) only hot hydrochloric acid would remove it.


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IPA may be dangerous for the antireflective coating, I've used it to remove coating intentionally and although not very effective it helps.

I always use a little humidified soft cellulose sponge with a small drop dishes detergent, rinse and dry with a microfiber soft cloth for glasses.

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IPA won't hurt a good displays screen.

The issue is Apple got a bunch of screens that where not properly cleaned before the coating was applied. This gets into how the mechanical bound of the coating and the glass interplay.

The glass needs to be clean of any foreign chemicals so the ionic board can take place properly. If that doesn't happen then the coating is floating on the glass and any cleaner could pull it off.

Thats the rub! If you pull it off then you assume you did it! Nope! it was poorly cleaned glass at the factory from the start!


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We use a mix of distilled water and alcohol which is easy to make cheap and works.

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I often just use a simple eyeglass cleaner.

I also deal with all sorts of junk which needs more than a light glass cleaner.

The issues when cleaning a screen is whats on it. Dust or grit which can scratch it, water soluble junk (sticky hands), non-water soluble junk (fingernail polish & tape adhesive), acids and bases which etch the coatings (depending on what they are) or glass (harsh chemicals).

The retina screen coatings are using a Fluoropolymer Silane (3M) from what I’ve been told. If the glass is properly cleaned before it is treated the coating should have ionically bonded to the glass.

Here’s a bit more on Fluorine which is the base element used in the coating held in suspension until the liquid evaporates. The bond becomes as strong as Fluorite (4 on the Mohs hardness scale). Fluorine in its self is not solid by its self its a gas. Hydrochloric acid is about all that can damage it.

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