Apple's $19 cleaning cloth.

Apple’s new $19 Polishing Cloth has gone viral and is backordered until 2022. But, if you’re shopping for a cleaning cloth for your devices, you can do better than Apple’s for a lot less money.

What Is Apple’s Polishing Cloth?

Apple’s $19 Polishing Cloth first debuted with the Pro Display XDR in 2019. For the $5,999 price, Apple included the cloth as an extra. The cloth is made of “soft, nonabrasive material” according to Apple, which makes it ideal for cleaning nano-texture glass like on the Pro Display XDR.

As a separate product, Apple touts it as the best way to clean your devices, citing “compatibility” with as many as 88 different Apple products. Of course, if your device has a glossy panel of any kind, the cloth with be compatible.

What Makes It So Special?

There’s no exotic materials or impressive level of engineering happening here, so it remains unclear exactly why Apple charges $19 for this cleaning cloth. And, while it’s designed for nano-texture glass whereas a lot of cleaning cloths aren’t, that doesn’t necessarily make it worth its rather high asking price.

Why Is It So Popular?

This cloth seems to be popular for one simple reason: it’s a piece of cloth with an Apple logo on it. The second it went on sale, people started ordering it and purchasing it at Apple stores, immediately succeeded by many photos of the cloth being taken and uploaded to social media. It became a viral sensation in a very short amount of time, and delivery dates quickly began slipping. At the time of writing this article, current estimates have the Polishing Cloth shipping 10-12 weeks after initially placing an order.

Of course, you don’t have to buy this $19 piece of fabric to clear your device of any smudges or fingerprints. Virtually any third-party solution will do the job, and we’ve done the research to find five of the best, for less.

MagicFiber Microfiber Cleaning Cloths

MagicFiber is one of the biggest companies in the microfiber cleaning cloth space, and it’s been making rock-solid cloths to clean all of your devices for years. Its standard pack of six cloths is priced at just $8.95 and promises no leftover streaks, lint, dirt, or smudges after cleaning. It’s a no-brainer and a terrific way to save over 50 percent compared to Apple’s offering.

MagicFiber Microfiber Cleaning Cloths (6-Pack)

MagicFiber's six-pack of microfiber cleaning cloths is a terrific buy at $8.95.

Progo Ultra Absorbent Microfiber Cleaning Cloths

Progo’s Ultra Absorbent Microfiber Cleaning Cloths are another alternative to Apple’s Polishing Cloth. Shipping in another six-pack, these cloths are more substantial and much more absorbent. Not only will you really be able to rub off deeper smudges and other imperfections from your gadgets, but you can also spray cleaning solution on them and use them around the house. They’re also affordable at $9.60.

Progo Ultra Absorbent Microfiber Cleaning Cloths (6-Pack)

These cloths are much more substantial and can take on not just cleaning your electronics, but other things around your home.

Kuzy Microfiber Keyboard Cover Cloth

A lot of people have been buying Apple’s Polishing Cloth to clean their MacBooks, too, and there are some solid third-party solutions that can do more than just wipe your laptop down. Kuzy’s Microfiber Keyboard Cover Cloth is exactly as its title suggests; it’s large enough to cover your keyboard to protect both it and your display when you close your laptop. According to Kuzy, it’s large enough for virtually every modern MacBook as well as other laptops.

It’s also thin enough to not get in the way, and it’s plenty affordable at $6.99. Of course, you can use it to clean all of your devices as well.

Kuzy Microfiber Keyboard Cover Cloth

If you're looking for a cleaning cloth that can maximize the protection of your laptop's screen and keyboard, this is the one to get.

Camkix Cleaning Cloth with Open Bottom Pouch and Carabiner

If you’re looking for a microfiber cloth that’s more functional than Apple’s, check out what Camkix has to offer. Its cleaning cloth, available in a pack of four, comes in a carrying case with a carabiner so you can securely attach it to a backpack or camera case. It’s affordably priced at $13.99 and makes for a great addition to any traveler’s everyday carry.

Camkix Cleaning Cloth with Open Bottom Pouch and Carabiner (4-Pack)

This microfiber cloth is both functional and convenient with its carrying case and carabiner, making for a great addition to any traveler's everyday carry.

EVEO Electronic Wipes

You might be able to clean a lot of filth from your device with Apple’s Polishing Cloth, but for the deepest and most thorough clean you can get, check out EVEO’s Electronic Wipes. Available in a two-pack with 40 wipes in each, these wipes are specially designed to clean any gunk or goop off your gadgets’ screens no matter how crusty or stubborn it is. The wipes come with a hefty microfiber cloth for polishing so you can achieve that new-screen look.

The wipes are also relatively affordable at $17.99. That’s still $2 less than what Apple charges, and you’ll get a much better clean.

EVEO Electronic Wipes (2-Pack x 40)

For those who need the best clean possible, EVEO's Electronic Wipes are perfect for even the filthiest of gadget screens.

Profile Photo for Max Buondonno Max Buondonno
Max Buondonno is a technology enthusiast and writer who’s been covering the future of computing since 2015. His blog, Matridox, serves as a creative outlet for him where he can share thoughts on the latest technology news, gadgets he reviews, and more.
Read Full Bio »