Home

 › 

Articles

 › 

How-to

 › 

How to Clean Your Computer Screen the Right Way (No Scratches)

How to Clean Your Computer Screen the Right Way

How to Clean Your Computer Screen the Right Way (No Scratches)

Key Points

  • Computer screens can get dirty from droplets from our mouth and nose, dead skin cells, dirt, oil from our skin, and dust and debris from the air.
  • To avoid damaging your computer screen, never spray water or cleaning solution directly onto it, avoid scrubbing, and do not use bleach, hydrogen peroxide, acetone, or ammonia.
  • Cleaning your computer screen involves determining the screen type, turning off and unplugging the monitor, gently removing dust, using an approved cleaning solution, allowing the screen to air dry, and removing any remaining streaks with a soft dry cloth.

Right in the middle of a videoconference or your favorite game, your computer screen catches the light in a certain way, and WOW — how can you see through that mess? It becomes obvious you need to clean the monitor as soon as possible, but how do you clean your PC or laptop screen the right way to avoid scratches?

Grabbing a nearby paper towel, bath cloth, or the hem of your shirt are all serious mistakes that can damage your computer screen. Why not follow our basic tips for cleaning monitor screens the right way instead? They don’t take much time, and they can prevent damage that forces you to buy a new monitor.

History-Computer shows you how to clean your computer screen in six easy steps, plus we enlighten you about how your screen got so filthy in the first place. We’ll also share some quick tips to avoid damaging your monitor. Ready? Let’s go!

How Does My Computer Screen Get So Filthy? 

Why are we so surprised when our computer screen gets dirty? We use it practically every day — and sometimes our personal habits are less than admirable, to say the least. Sitting close to the screen allows tiny droplets from our mouth and nose to fly onto the screen when we talk, laugh, cough, or sneeze. Constant typing on a keyboard situated close to the screen allows dead skin cells and dirt to fly into the air and stick to it.

Touchscreen computers are the epitome of convenience, but they stay coated with oil from your skin and everything else you’ve touched while eating, working, using the restroom, and other daily habits.

Add to this the electrostatic energy that naturally attracts dust and debris from the air and causes it to stick to the screen surface. All that gobbledygook settles into the moisture and oil already smeared on our screen and makes a nasty mess.

Cleaning Your Computer Screen the Right Way 

No doubt you’ve seen PC or laptop screens with scratches or splotches where the color is off. This is due to improper cleaning techniques. Cleaning your computer screen the right way to prevent scratches involves these six steps:

  1. Determining your screen type.
  2. Unplugging your monitor.
  3. Gently removing dust first.
  4. Using a safe cleaning solution to remove oil and smudges.
  5. Allowing your computer screen to air dry.
  6. Removing any remaining streaks with a soft, dry cloth.

Let’s take a quick look at each step.

Step #1: Determine Your Screen Type

Determine your screen type.
Determine whether your screen is glass or LED/LCD.

Computer screens have different specifications, but for cleaning purposes, they all fall into one of two categories: glass screens or LED/LCD screens. Most desktop PCs have LCD screens with LED backlighting. This is also true of touchscreen computers. LCD screens are more easily damaged by cleaning solvents. Modern MacBooks feature non-LCD screens with a glass coating.

Newer Apple products like the iMac all have nano-texture glass. Apple recommends only cleaning these screens with the polishing cloth they supply with your product. In a pinch, they do allow you to use a mild alcohol solution on a microfiber cloth.

Step #2: Turn Off and Unplug Your Monitor

Turn off and unplug your computer monitor.
Turn off and unplug your computer monitor from the wall socket.

Turn off your monitor or laptop before cleaning the screen. Allow it to cool completely. This shouldn’t take long. Cleaning your computer screen while it is on could cause an electrical shock. If your laptop is a touchscreen, you could delete critical files or cause another data catastrophe if you try to clean it while it’s still on. A black screen is much easier to see dust and smudges.

Step #3: Gently Remove Dust

Gently remove dust.
When your screen has cooled down, use a dry microfiber cloth to remove any dust.

Use a dry microfiber cloth to remove dust. Start at the top and move toward the bottom of the screen. Another reason to turn off your computer screen and unplug it before cleaning is to reduce the electrostatic energy that makes dust stick to the screen. Removing the dust first allows you to see smudges and other debris better.

Step #4: Use a Cleaning Solution to Remove Oil and Smudges

Use a cleaning solution to remove oil and smudges.
Cleaning wipes premoistened with a solution of isopropyl alcohol easily remove oil and smudges.

Always use a cleaning solution that your device manufacturer approves. Harsh or abrasive chemicals can damage the computer screen and void your warranty. Also never use tap water to moisten a cloth for screen cleaning; some areas have hard water that can damage your screen. Moisten a microfiber cloth with distilled water or an approved cleaning solution for your screen type. Rub the monitor screen gently up and down and side to side to remove stubborn oily smudges or splatter.

For glass-coated screens, moisten a microfiber cloth with 70% isopropyl alcohol or use a premoistened alcohol wipe.

For LCD or LED screens, an LCD cleaning spray is recommended, but a solution of 1:1 parts of white vinegar and distilled water may also be used.

Another great option for cleaning computer screens is using premoistened screen or glasses cleaning wipes. These generally have tiny amounts of isopropyl alcohol that cuts through grease or splattered liquids easily.

Step #5: Allow Your Computer Screen to Air Dry

Allow your computer screen to air dry.
Allow your computer screen to air dry completely before plugging it back in.

Allow at least 30 minutes for your computer screen to air dry before plugging it in and resuming your work. Air drying allows the screen to completely dry and prevents new smudges from a drying cloth. Also, the less rubbing you do to your computer screen the better.

Step #6: Remove Any Remaining Streaks with a Soft Dry Cloth

Remove any remaining streaks with a soft dry cloth.
When your screen is dry, remove any remaining streaks with a soft dry cloth.

Once your monitor screen is completely dry, look at it from different angles to detect streaks. Use a completely dry microfiber cloth to gently rub away streaks. Using a new cloth prevents adding new streaks from moisture or dust and debris from previous cleanings.

Avoid Damaging Your Computer Screen with These Tips

1. Always allow your computer screen to completely dry before powering it up again.
2.  Avoid scrubbing your computer screen, as this can damage the internal components and could leave scratches or discolored spots. Too much pressure can damage pixels and permanently mar your screen’s performance.
3. Do not use bleach, hydrogen peroxide, acetone, or ammonia to clean your computer screen, as these will discolor and damage delicate screens.
4. Avoid using soap and water to clean your computer screen. Soap chemicals can damage screens, and the mixture will not evaporate cleanly, leaving a residue.
5. Never use shirts, towels, and paper towels to clean your computer screen. These can leave visible scratches that mar the finish and hinder viewing.
6. Clean your computer screen at least weekly to prevent pesky buildup that becomes hard to remove.
7. Keep liquids and other potentially damaging substances away from your computer screen.
8. Know your screen type and use the appropriate cleaning solution.
9. Do not use a razor blade to remove sticky residue or materials from your computer screen.
10. Always allow your computer screen to complete dry before powering it up again.

Summary Table

StepInstructions
Step #1: Determine Your Screen TypeIdentify if your computer screen is a glass screen or an LED/LCD screen. Different screen types require different cleaning methods.
Step #2: Turn Off and Unplug Your MonitorTurn off your monitor or laptop before cleaning the screen. Allow it to cool completely. This prevents electrical shock and makes it easier to see dust and smudges.
Step #3: Gently Remove DustUse a dry microfiber cloth to remove dust. Start at the top and move toward the bottom of the screen. Removing the dust first allows you to see smudges and other debris better.
Step #4: Use a Cleaning Solution to Remove Oil and SmudgesUse a cleaning solution that your device manufacturer approves. Moisten a microfiber cloth with distilled water or an approved cleaning solution for your screen type. Rub the monitor screen gently up and down and side to side to remove stubborn oily smudges or splatter.
Step #5: Allow Your Computer Screen to Air DryAllow at least 30 minutes for your computer screen to air dry before plugging it in and resuming your work. Air drying allows the screen to completely dry and prevents new smudges from a drying cloth.
Step #6: Remove Any Remaining Streaks with a Soft Dry ClothOnce your monitor screen is completely dry, look at it from different angles to detect streaks. Use a completely dry microfiber cloth to gently rub away streaks. Using a new cloth prevents adding new streaks from moisture or dust and debris from previous cleanings.

Frequently Asked Questions

How often should I clean my computer screen?

Regular users should clean their PC or laptop screen at least weekly to prevent stubborn buildup and aid viewing. 

Does a clean computer screen improve performance?

Yes. A clean screen improves clarity, which is easier on your eyes.

Is it safe to scrub stubborn materials from my computer screen?

No. Hard scrubbing can damage the screen’s internal components and leave scratches, spots of discoloration, or dead pixels that won’t go away.

What should I use to clean my computer monitor?

Clean your monitor with a clean microfiber cloth, distilled water, and an appropriate solution that the manufacturer approves. Alcohol wipes or glasses cleaning wipes are also safe to use. 

Are computer screens hard to clean?

No. Use our six steps to gently clean your computer screen and prevent scratches or other damage.

To top