Cleaning a dirty computer screen

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Sometimes my computer screen gets dirty and dusty, and this grime doesn't come off by just wiping it. (Besides the fact that wiping it by hand will just make more problems)

What can I use to clean a computer screen, without resorting to (relatively expensive) specialized cleaning products?

Shokhet

Posted 2014-12-09T23:56:05.557

Reputation: 3 088

Answers

34

It depends on the type of monitor.

If it has a matte layer (antiglare), get a microfiber cloth. Moisten the cloth and wipe down the screen. Dry it with another (dry) cloth.

If it's a touch screen, just wipe it down. Liquids can cause "false touches" and cause issues. If it's really bad, use a tiny bit of water on a microfiber cloth, or turn the device off (really off, not locked) before following the directions below for clear glass.

If it's just regular clear glass, use baby wipes or Windex with a microfiber cloth.

Never ever EVER use paper products! Due to their extremely rough surface, they cause scratches in the screen. They might not be too obvious, but they build up fast.

Kaz Wolfe

Posted 2014-12-09T23:56:05.557

Reputation: 1 886

4fyi, Paper towels scratch because they are mostly made of wood fiber, which is rather abrasive. The same goes for paper napkins, tissues, etc. Cotton fiber is better on the screen. – J. Musser – 2014-12-24T17:23:00.150

Listed as a too less hacky answer.

– kenorb – 2015-01-23T19:20:59.347

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I find that old glasses cleaning cloths work well. If you wear glasses, you probably have a few of those (if you don't you should save them; they're useful). This is probably very similar to a microfiber cloth. I figured that since they're designed to clean glasses without scratching them, they can clean computer screens without scratching them.

These are the steps I follow:

  1. Make sure the computer is off 1
  2. Check for dust on the screen. If there is, blow as much off as you can 2.
  3. Wipe the screen gently, avoiding circular motions 3. At particularly dirty spots, breathe on the screen to get it slightly foggy 2, then wipe over that.

1: Might not be necessary, but on a touchscreen, this avoids the random screen-presses. Also, it might possibly reduce the risk of electrocution (which I presume is a pretty small risk, however)
2: I do this with my glasses all the time, so I basically copy the process with my computer screen
3: I've encountered a couple places which recommend avoiding circular motions. You shouldn't be buffing your screen, but gently wiping it. How-To Geek

Justin

Posted 2014-12-09T23:56:05.557

Reputation: 1 061

3Glasses cleaning cloths sound like they would be great at cleaning computer screens; good call :) – Shokhet – 2014-12-14T01:06:36.523

I see no reason for the computer to be off - as you said. The circular motions are only needed for glasses due to the size of them. – Tim – 2014-12-25T20:51:55.067

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Baby wipes are one good option.

I usually use a paper towel or soft cloth (microfiber is good) sprayed lightly with Windex or another glass cleaner. (If it's a touchscreen, be sure to dry it with another paper towel or the other side of the cloth)

Mooseman

Posted 2014-12-09T23:56:05.557

Reputation: 8 697

3

Never use anything wet, ever, on a flatscreen (LCD type, any kind of current or new computer screen). What you really need to ask yourself is: What is this grime and how did it get on here? Food and drink really need to be FAR AWAY from your computer and screen (said the IT manager). Meanwhile let's deal with your dirty screen.

IMHO, the secret to cleaning your screen properly, without making it streaky and dirtier, is the wide-base brush and a can of air. Adding moisture just adds problems, much like chasing streaks around your windows at home with a bottle of Windex and your wipe of choice. Avoid that by not getting started. Use the brush regularly with a can of compressed air to get the dust and keep on top of splatter from your soda. Take care to eat away from your screen to minimize other lovelies visiting your view. (ignore the solution spray below, focus on the BRUSH and note the length -- broad base means good pressure, not a paint brush but an effective scraping/brushing tool for chunky bits of whatever that is on there) Belkin LCD cleaning kit
( click for larger image )

Shel West

Posted 2014-12-09T23:56:05.557

Reputation: 31

2

Depending on how dirty it is, I use an old sock.

I find that the static created by the sock is very good at picking up the dust from the screens. I keep one on my desk all the time.

Tim

Posted 2014-12-09T23:56:05.557

Reputation: 1 843

I use socks sometimes. But if it really produces static electricity maybe there is a risk of damaging some pixels. I wasn't thinking about that before and never had a problem. – vladiz – 2014-12-24T17:30:41.537

1Regular LCD pixels can't be damaged by static like this - it won't even penetrate the glass. – felixphew – 2014-12-25T20:46:37.080

Capacitative touch screens (smartphone, tablet etc.) are another matter, however. – felixphew – 2014-12-25T20:47:07.857

I used old sock once, and after that the monitor had the sock "ghost" trace forever. (I have no idea why this happened, but it was very crappy monitor, for sure) – Sarge Borsch – 2015-01-04T14:09:27.370

Did you try degaussing it? – Tim – 2015-01-04T14:38:19.273

2

Most cleaning products are way too harsh for monitors. Many cleaning agents contain chemicals such as vinegar (which is a mild acid) and alcohol. These should be avoided completely because they will damage modern screens and they can actually remove the anti-glare coating.

The best way to clean a monitor is to use eyeglass cleaning wipes. They will remove the dust as well as the sticky residue left over which is caused by spilled coffee, soda, etc. These wipes are a lot like baby wipes, but they don't have any perfumes in them which would make your monitor smell like a baby's bottom. They also will not leave a residue on the screen when they dry. They are designed for eyeglasses, so they won't leave scratches or remove the anti-glare coating. They are pretty inexpensive and have the added benefit of not promoting the accumulation of dust. I use them on my monitors, and they are almost always dust free.

If you don't have access to cleaning wipes, you can use a dampened cotton cloth. Be sure it is 100% cotton because synthetic fibers can scratch the screen. Gently wipe the screen with the cloth until it is clean, and use another clean/dry cloth to dry it so it doesn't leave water spots. You can try using distilled water instead of tap water. It does not have dissolved minerals like tap water and won't leave a film or water spots on the screen.

Jason Hutchinson

Posted 2014-12-09T23:56:05.557

Reputation: 1 212

2

No microfiber cloth, no glass cleaning cloth! And the cotton cloth only smears/disseminate it. Now what to do?

In a small effort to accodomate a question marked as duplicate, where the above restrictions apply, here is another few options for cleaning a glass surface:

  • First of all, if the restrictions doesn't apply to you, then you most likely are better of using the microfiber cloth or the glass cleaning cloth!
  • To help clean the surface using a cotton cloth (of sorts), not only smearing everything about, you could try using a small amount of dishwashing liquid, or possibly a thinned out vinegar solution
  • If cotton cloths are not feasible to do the job, you could opt for either an old newspaper or a coffee filter. Both can be used, but do be careful not to scratch glass. Neither will leave residue/stains on the glass, but can be helpful clearing the glass

Always be careful when applying any liquid to electrical components, like touchscreens or LCD screens. Also do not use excessive force when rubbing these devices.

holroy

Posted 2014-12-09T23:56:05.557

Reputation: 6 311

0

The Natural Way To Clean Screens

Witch hazel is traditionally used as a cosmetic. However, it is probably the most natural yet effective and readily available cleaning solution for grimy screens. Water doesn't work, and soap can be hard to use (requires rinsing). Chemical cleaning products are expensive and usually​ toxic as well. Witch hazel is so simple. Drop a few drops and polish it dry with a cloth.

user19499

Posted 2014-12-09T23:56:05.557

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