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How to clean your computer screen

Don't let your screen get yucky! We can help you clean your display properly.
By
June 4, 2022

Your mouse and keyboard are probably among your computer’s dirtiest components. However, the screen can also be filthy, especially if you’re working from home. It not only catches dust, but it can be a target for sneezes, spills, and who knows what else. If you haven’t lately, today we’re here to teach you how to clean your computer screen.

We’ve split our guide into a few key areas — the materials you should and shouldn’t use, as well as the actual steps you need. Our guide also works for both standalone monitors and laptop displays. Ready to bid those germs achoo?

See also: How to keep your laptop keyboard clean

QUICK ANSWER

To clean your computer screen, you must first grab the right materials, which we will guide you through in this post. When ready, turn the computer/screen off, wipe the screen carefully with a microfiber, dry it, and turn it back on.


JUMP TO KEY SECTIONS

What materials do you need to clean your computer screen?

How to clean and disinfect phone 1

While your screen probably feels pretty sturdy to the touch, we’re not talking about old-school tube TVs anymore. Your display isn’t made of thick glass, but rather it’s a thin layer that’s far weaker against scratches. Some laptops may use a more rigid pane of glass, but it’s still better to be safe than sorry.

As you gather your materials, make sure to avoid all of the following:

  • Your shirt
  • Dishrags
  • Paper towels
  • Bath towels
  • Any other material that’s slightly rough

Instead, grab a trusty microfiber cloth. They’re not only great for cleaning your glasses, but they also excel on computer screens, smartphones, and so much more. You can find them at most retailers, but Amazon might have your best selection.

Great microfiber cloths you should consider buying:

Any of the above options will work, and you may find it best to have two microfiber cloths to clean your computer screen. You’ll use the first for the cleaning while the second cloth is to dry your display. Check the link below if you need more options.

See also: The best screen cleaners around

What cleaning substances are safest?

materials to clean a computer screen
Edgar Cervantes / Android Authority

Even when you’re carefully using your microfiber cloth, you’ll want to avoid several cleaning substances. They will damage the top layer of the screen, especially if it has an anti-glare coating.

Substances to avoid:

  • Ethyl alcohol
  • Methyl alcohol
  • Acetone
  • Ammonia
  • Any other corrosive substance
  • Toluene
  • Ethyl acid
  • Methyl Chloride

See? That’s not of bad of a list to avoid. Instead, use warm distilled water if you have it. We can’t guarantee the quality of your tap water, so better safe than sorry. Also, avoid standard window and surface cleaners.

See also: How to clean and disinfect your phone to prevent the spread of germs

Try making a household cleaner if you’re finding stubborn stains that won’t wipe off. Luckily the steps are pretty simple, and you can usually use materials you already have.

Here are three home-made substances to try:

  • 50% distilled water and 50% white vinegar
  • 100% distilled water and one drop of dish detergent
  • 50% distilled water and 50% isopropyl alcohol

Should you use special wipes or sprays?

best holiday gifts whoosh cleaner
Amazon

Products with isopropyl alcohol are typically safe to clean your computer screen with. If you’re considering wipes, make sure that they’re individually wrapped and designed explicitly for screens. Amazon has plenty of options, so you should be able to find something that works. Here’s one.

You can give special sprays a try as well, and many include a microfiber cloth to make things easy. If possible, check for the ingredients in a mist before you buy it. We’re fans of the all-in-one screen cleaner kit from Whoosh! that you can get very cheap on Amazon.

Don’t forget: you can always create your cleaning mixture instead. No matter which way you go, never spray the computer screen directly. Instead, spray your microfiber cloth and use it as a wipe. This is to avoid accidentally getting extra liquid behind the frame since isopropyl alcohol is flammable.

Also: How to fix a laptop keyboard that isn’t working

The steps to clean your computer screen

surface laptop studio review9
Zarif Ali / Android Authority

Now you have your cloth, you’ve gathered your cleaning materials, and it’s time to get down to business. There aren’t too many steps involved, but we’ll walk you through the basics.

1. Turn off the display

It’s always best to work with your display powered off. This should help cut down on static, as the shock from your cleaning motions could damage the screen components. Some people will tell you to take off your socks and stand on a hard floor to discharge any built-up static, but this is probably overkill for cleaning your screen.

The layers beneath your display are also charged with electricity. While you probably won’t actually damage the pixels due to the glass layer, it’s better to be safe. Remember to treat your monitor gently, too; there’s no need to smash anything accidentally.

2. Take a duster to the computer screen

A soft duster is never a bad idea if you see the dust on your computer screen. We’re not talking about a French maid’s feather duster, but Swiffer’s options should work well. You want to make sure that your duster doesn’t cause static and that it actually gathers the dust.

There’s no special technique to dust your screen. Just make sure you get all parts of it. Swiffer made a video that suggests an “X” pattern, but it’s up to you. No matter what, you’ll want to get the edges and the main display.

Phone with disinfectant wipes 3

3. Wipe the panel with your microfiber cloth

Now comes the step that involves your cleaning mixture. Dampen your microfiber cloth with your concoction of choice, and remember not to spray the screen directly. Also, make sure that your material is not dripping liquid when you begin to clean your display.

We recommend wiping horizontally or vertically across your screen with the microfiber. You could also use circular motions, but this could leave buffer marks if you begin to scrub too vigorously. Patience is the name of the game in screen cleaning, so don’t be afraid to take your time, and make sure not to press on your display too hard.

4. Dry your computer screen

The last real step is to take your second microfiber cloth and dry your screen. You may have to dry the entire screen or just a tiny part, but don’t power your screen back on until you know it’s dry. If you still see spots of dirt, repeat step three until you’re happy with the results.

5. Power it on and get back to action

And voila, your screen is clean enough that you can turn it back on. Now that you know what to do, set yourself a regular cleaning schedule. Extra sanitation never hurts!


Next: The best affordable laptops around

FAQs

As often as you need! The answer to this question depends on your needs, and how you use your computer. If you have a touchscreen and are constantly interacting with a screen, you might want to do it every couple of days or so. If you never really touch the screen, you can get away with doing it once a month or so.

It is, if you do so carefully. Obviously, you should never drench a laptop (or any electronic) in any liquid. We would advise simply dampening a soft microfiber with a safe to use liquid, and using that to clean your screen.

No. These materials are usually rough and can easily scratch your screen.

While it may seem safe to use window cleaners to clean glass screens, any type of chemical can damage the top layer of the screen.