How to physically clean my iMac?

Discussion in 'iMac' started by sultanoflondon, May 7, 2015.

  1. sultanoflondon macrumors 6502

    Dec 3, 2013
    Hi all,

    I have an iMac 27", Late 2012 version, which I haven't cleaned properly since I bought it.

    As a result, it has become very dusty, externally, on the stand, near USB ports, the lock mount and especially where the air inlet grille is, behind the screen.

    On old tower PCs in the past, I have opened it up and cleaned out the dust which has accumulated in the fans, near the motherboard, etc.

    I won't open up my iMac because it is a much more complicated procedure and not with simple screwdrivers, nuts and bolts.

    Also, my iMac has started to show signs of ageing in terms of lag and responsiveness, so I think that cleaning it physically would help to reduce this effect.

    How do I clean my computer effectively?

    Thank you!
  2. Samuelsan2001 macrumors 604

    Oct 24, 2013
    With a slightly damp soft cloth

    If your system has slowed slightly, do a repair disk and repair disk permisions in disk utility.

    If that doesn't help then try a clean install of OSX and only migrate back the stuff you actually need to keep from your backup.
  3. sultanoflondon thread starter macrumors 6502

    Dec 3, 2013

    Will do the repair disk, thanks!

    I have no junk on my computer: I actively try to keep the disk free from unnecessary files, so a clean install of OS X may not make much of a difference. Also, I have upgraded it from the original OS X Lion to OS X Yosemite, would this make a difference? Would a clean install revert the system back to Lion? And, what about all the Yosemite-optimised files?
  4. Samuelsan2001 macrumors 604

    Oct 24, 2013
    You can

    ...reinstall yosemite, you can even do it and keep all the files and everything the same with an internet reinstall

    You can also try a SMC and PRAM reset if you think it relevant, see here...
  5. sultanoflondon thread starter macrumors 6502

    Dec 3, 2013
    Thanks for your reply.

    I don't think I need a SMC or PRAM reset, the system isn't "misbehaving" per se, but rather it is occasionally lagging after waking up from sleep.

    I did the Apple Diagnostics check (by holding 'D' during start up) and it found no errors.

    I was going to do a 'Repair Disk', but after a bit of research, i don't think that doing that is entirely necessary.
  6. Samuelsan2001 macrumors 604

    Oct 24, 2013
    Just do them anyway

    They won't do any harm and they may well fix your issues especially repairing the disk and disk permissions.

    If you have upgraded to Yosemite then the hang from sleep is a bug that seems to be only fixed by a reinstall. (although it can also becaused by remounting external HDD's)
  7. shaunp macrumors 68000

    Nov 5, 2010
    A bucket of hot soapy water and a sponge should do it. Hang it out on the washing line when you are done. ;)

    Joking aside a small hand-held hoover works for getting dust out of the vents - make sure the iMac is turned off first. Baby wet-wipes work well on keyboards and casings and there are a ton of screen cleaning products.

    As for the system responsiveness a complete reformat every few years works too, although I find now I'm using SSD I don't need to rebuild that often. I have an early 2013 rMBP and it's not showing any signs of needing a rebuild. It's been upgraded from Mountain Lion, to Mavericks and Yosemite without doing a clean reinstall.

    If you are doing a rebuild it might be a good time to maybe put your system disk onto an external thunderbolt SSD if you can (not sure if the 2012 iMac has thunderbolt) as this will help with system responsiveness. Also how much RAM do you have? You've had the machine a while, are you now hitting the RAM limits.
  8. supercooled macrumors 6502a

    Sep 6, 2007
    I've been using half and half solution of rubbing alcohol and water for many years on my LCD screens so I'm using that on my iMac but the silver bezel on the bottom has some unsightly stains from, umm... sauces.

    I am in the bad habit of eating at my computer and sometimes spaghetti sauce flies off errantly. I think the acidity in the sauce has done irreparable damage to it because nothing I use seem to work so thus far.

    Any suggestions?

    Attached Files:

  9. Buerkletucson, Nov 21, 2015
    Last edited: Nov 21, 2015

    Buerkletucson macrumors 6502


    Sep 12, 2015
    Maybe stop eating at your computer? :cool:
    Definitely not good for the keyboard either.....

    I use about 10% isopropyl alcohol with 90% distilled water solution to clean all my screens.....iMac, iPhones, iPads, etc.
  10. stevefo macrumors regular


    Mar 16, 2013
    I use an all cotton cloth dampened with hot water and buff with a dry cotton cloth. Always does a great job. Never had any issues.
  11. tillsbury macrumors 65816

    Dec 24, 2007
    Lol I'm just thinking of all the OCD freaks on this forum having fits reading about someone eating spaghetti in front of their iMac... :)
  12. neutrino23 macrumors 68000

    Feb 14, 2003
    SF Bay area
    Get iKlear. They have been making cleaners for Mac screens for years. Great stuff.
  13. Laai macrumors regular

    Apr 23, 2012
    You can get 99% alcohol based cleaning solution. It will clean every stain you have, as well as disinfect the mac. The alcohol will not harm the machine, since it is made of glas and aluminum. You can also use any alcohol based windows cleaning solution, also works great.
  14. maflynn Moderator


    Staff Member

    May 3, 2009
    Given the chemicals/impurities in tap water. I'd recommend something else. Its possible choline or other additives may be a harsher on the display then maybe you want it to be.
  15. stevefo, Nov 22, 2015
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 22, 2015

    stevefo macrumors regular


    Mar 16, 2013
    These are specific Apple instructions. Doesn't say what kind of water.

    Attached Files:

  16. TheIntruder macrumors 6502a


    Jul 2, 2008
    I learned my lesson the hard way back in the CRT days -- no chemicals of any kind, even "screen cleaners" meant for computer screens, and presumably "safe."

    I had some Kensington (not some fly by night brand) cleaner take the AR coating off the monitor surface. Both Sony and Samsung monitors; again, not some cheap no-names.

    The iMacs' screens may or may not be coated, but I wouldn't take any chances.

    Anything that has even the slightest possibility of having optical coatings (screens, eyeglasses) requires caution.

    If you're in an area with hard water, just get some distilled water from the market. It's cheap.
  17. maflynn Moderator


    Staff Member

    May 3, 2009
    True but then there can be all sorts of harsh chemicals in public water systems. If you want to use water, be my guest but I'd want to avoid such things - just my $.02 :)
  18. Laai macrumors regular

    Apr 23, 2012
    Honestly, if you can drink the water, you can use it to clean your computers display. Unless the water where you live is not being controlled and is not for drinking. I live in Germany - the water is perfectly fine to drink and if I can sustain my life with it, I think a computer monitor should be more than fine :)
  19. AppleNewton macrumors 68000


    Apr 3, 2007
    1 Finite Place
    Apple uses a product called Whoosh, never tried it. but after seeing various Thunderbolt displays and iMacs used with iKlear and other cleaning products even water the static or build up with the glass and lcd causes staining. best bet is to spot clean and just use a dry microfibre cloth or a terry clothe and you should be fine.
  20. AlexisV macrumors 68000


    Mar 12, 2007
    Manchester, UK
    I use ordinary supermarket glass cleaner.

    The cloth is just as important - I use the black Apple cleaning cloth.
  21. ledzep1 macrumors member

    Jan 24, 2016

    I have a late 2013 iMac, Im wondering if there is a easy and safe way to clean the screen.

    Currently I use the black cloth that came with the iMac, just wiping the screen over. But I find the dust seems to stick to these screens and wiping over does not really do much but just smears the dust into the screen more.

    Any tips?

  22. Weaselboy Moderator


    Staff Member

    Jan 23, 2005

    Just dampen that cloth you have with water.
  23. FreemanW macrumors 6502

    Sep 10, 2012
    The Real Northern California
    I use distilled water to dampen a 100% cotton terry towel to clean and then dry, and then buff with photographic lens quality micro-fibre cloth.
    It is easiest when the unit is off and the screen is dark.
  24. Moonjumper macrumors 68000


    Jun 20, 2009
    Lincoln, UK
    Spectacle cleaning spray and a microfibre cloth.
  25. Garrod Suspended


    Nov 13, 2008
    I just use very slightly moist kitchen towel (dampened with tap water) then use a microfibre cloth to dry and clean the the screen. This leaves it smudge etc. free. Quick tip: do it whilst the iMac is cold (ie. been turned off for an hour or two) - this helps to stop the water evaporating from the internal heat generated (thus leaving smudges galore!) before you have chance to dry and clean it.

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