MacBook Screen Stain: Discovered How to Deal with Them

MacBook screen stain

Image source from

Intro to MacBook Screen Stain

Two types of stains can affect a MacBook screen. The first type, called “staingate,” occurs when the display’s anti-reflective coating degrades over time, leading to visible blotches or spots on the screen. The second type of stain arises from water damage when users accidentally pour water onto the screen and it seeps into the gap between the screen layers. Let’s discuss both kinds of MacBook screen stain.


MacBook Screen Staingate

Image source from

In 2015, the issue of MacBook Staingate gained attention as numerous owners reported it on various online platforms. The stains were observed on different MacBook models, including MacBook Pro and MacBook Air, released between 2012 and 2017.

Initially, the exact cause of the Staingate problem was unclear but there were speculations about the quality of the anti-reflective coating used during production.

Users noticed the stains appearing spontaneously, without any external damage or misuse of the device. Over time, the issue worsened with regular use, obstructing the view and causing frustration, especially for those using MacBooks for creative work.

In response to the mounting complaints and negative publicity, Apple acknowledged the issue and implemented a recall and free replacement program, known as Apple Service Programmes. The program covered affected MacBook models, including the MacBook 12-inch (2015-2017) and MacBook Pro 13-inch and 15-inch (early 2013 to 2017).

The Apple Service Programmes for the staingate issue started in October 2015 and provided free display repairs for eligible Mac notebooks up to four years after the original purchase date. However, as of August 2023, the program has ended.

Pro Tip 1

For more information on Apple Service Programmes and ongoing recall and free replacement programs, you can find further details here.

To check your eligibility for any recall or free replacement program, you need to key in your product serial number. For instructions on how to find your product serial number, click here.

DIY Cleaning for Staingate MacBook Screen Stain

Disclaimer: These methods we came across online are for sharing purposes only thus we cannot advise you to do this and we do not take any responsibility for the outcome or effects of the methods we are about to share.

Method 1: Using Mouthwash

Listerine use to clean Staingate

Image source from

Please note that this mouthwash company did not pay us for advertising.

Pouring Listerine to a microfibre cloth  to clean MacBook Screen Stain

First, get a microfiber cloth suitable for glass cleaning, which can be found at hardware shops or stores for around RM2.00 and of course, you’ll need Listerine mouthwash. Dampen a separate microfiber cloth with Listerine and use a circular motion to wipe the screen. Repeat the process until everything is clean.

Wiping in circular motion to clean MacBook Screen Stain

Images source from

Warning: Avoid using too much mouthwash, as the liquid might seep into the screen through the edges and cause screen damage.

Some people have mentioned that toothpaste works as well. While we cannot confirm its effectiveness, you may try it at your own discretion. However, please remember to read our disclaimer above if you decide to try it.

Method 2: Using Alcohol Wipe / Pads

Alcohol Pad

Image source from CDNStore

Please note that this alchool pad company did not pay us for advertising.

According to rumours, isopropyl alcohol wipes with a 70 to 75% level of alcohol work well too. We have tried this method before and it sometimes works, but other times it doesn’t, so we are a bit sceptical as well. Again, please read our disclaimer above before trying anything.

We learned that some Mac specialist repair shops use this method to clean the staingate issue for their clients and charge RM1000 for the service. We were puzzled because the alcohol pads only cost between RM10 to RM20.

Pro Tip 2

Isopropyl alcohol is generally safe for cleaning electronics but it’s crucial to use it correctly since any liquid spilled can potentially cause damage. Moreover, it can dissolve or remove certain types of glue stains, such as those left behind by road tax stickers on the car mirror.

Road Tax sticker stain

Image source from

Water Damage: MacBook Screen Stain

MacBook Screen Water Stain

Image source from

Water stains on a MacBook screen typically occur when liquid accidentally comes into contact with the display. If water or any other liquid gets onto the screen, it can seep into the gap between the layers of the display, resulting in visible stains or spots.

The most common accidental spills often happen when a water bottle is placed together with the MacBook inside a backpack and the water accidentally spills. Another one is when the MacBook is exposed to rain and water drips onto the screen. The liquid may contain minerals or impurities that leave residues once it evaporates, leading to the appearance of stains on the screen.

DIY Drying for Water MacBook Screen Stain

Disclaimer: These methods we came across online are for sharing purposes only thus we cannot advise you to do this and we do not take any responsibility for the outcome or effects of the methods we are about to share.

Fan blowing at MacBook Screen

We consider using a fan aimed at the screen to be the safest method, as other approaches, like using a hair dryer, can be risky due to the potential for hot air to damage the screen.

Over our 15 years of experience in repairing Macs, we have witnessed some cases where the spots eventually disappear from the screen, while others worsen, resulting in the appearance of black spots.

In conclusion, our advice is to keep any kind of water far away from your MacBook since accidents can happen anytime and anywhere. If there is significant water damage to your MacBook, we highly recommend taking it to a specialized MacBook repair centre for immediate evaluation. For more information, click here.

Pro Tip 3

If you purchase your MacBook in Malaysia and it’s still new, covered by its standard one-year warranty or AppleCare and it accidentally comes into contact with water, going to an Apple Authorized Service Centre for a fix will immediately void your MacBook’s warranty. After an assessment, they will issue an invoice for you to pay for the parts replacement. In Malaysia, Apple’s standard warranty and AppleCare do not cover user-inflicted physical damage, including water damage.

Pro Tip 4

Apple has introduced Liquid Submersion Indicators, which we refer to as liquid markers, inside your MacBook to detect water contact. These markers are white in colour, but once they come into contact with water, they will turn red, indicating water damage. Therefore, if your MacBook has had any contact with water and you tried to blame it on other things, you can be certain that Apple will be aware of it without any doubt.

Liquid Submersion Indicators

Image source from

Contact us

As dedicated Mac users for over 15 years, we understand the frustration and helplessness that arise when your beloved Mac computer unexpectedly breaks down. But fear not! At YP Mac, we wholeheartedly focus on addressing and resolving precisely those distressing situations!

We offer hassle-free Mac repairs, as highlighted by our tagline: “Simplify Mac repairs with us.” Our commitment lies in providing convenient solutions for all your Mac-related needs.

Our skilled technicians streamline the repair process, ensuring quick and efficient service. Trust us for a seamless experience and join our satisfied customers today.

Contact us now for any inquiries you might have or visit us at

Contact us YP Mac Technology

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *