How to clean your computer screen safely, whether it’s glass-coated or an LED/LCD
Though it may seem like a straight-forward task, there are a few important things you should know before you clean your computer screen. Day by Day Photography, Elizabeth Casey/Getty Images
It’s important to clean off your computer screen periodically, but many people don’t know how to properly clean their screens.
If you don’t clean your screen properly, you could damage it permanently and possibly harm your computer.
The way you clean your computer screen largely depends on what it’s made of – you have to be more careful with LED/LCD screens than glass-coated ones.
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We’ve all had that moment – you’re sitting at your desk on a normal workday, then the sun starts shining directly on your screen, and you realize you don’t know when you last cleaned it. In fact, it may have been so long that you’ve forgotten how you’re supposed to clean it.
If this sounds like you, don’t feel too bad – most experts recommend that you should only clean your computer screen every three to six months. So if you’ve waited half a year since the last time you cleaned, it makes sense that you might not remember all the do’s and don’ts of the process.
Here’s a helpful guide to help you remember exactly how to clean your specific computer screen, whether it’s a
Mac or PC, including which products you should and shouldn’t use for your specific type of display. What to know before cleaning a computer screen
Before you start cleaning your screen, make sure you know what kind of screen you have, and have the proper supplies.
Supplies you need
Make sure you have the proper supplies for your screen before you get started.
For any screen:
Two microfiber cloths – one that can get wet and one to remain dry.
A cleaning solution that will work on your specific screen.
It’s important to use a microfiber cloth and the proper cleaning solution for the kind of screen you have. d3sign/Getty Images
For an LCD/LED screen:
You may want to look on your manufacturer’s website and check what kinds of solutions are safe for the screen type you have – factors like whether your screen is matte or a touchscreen may affect this.
If you don’t want to order a specific cleaning solution, you can make one out of one part white vinegar and one part water.
For a glass-coated screen:
If you have a glass-coated screen on your computer, you have a few more options as to what cleaners you can use, but you should still be careful. You can use one of the solutions listed above, but you can also use:
70% isopropyl alcohol
A light duster (optional)
Before you begin, there are a few more important things to mention that you should and should not do when cleaning your computer screen.
Turn off your computer before cleaning – this is just safe practice where any amount of liquid is involved, but more specifically, any static on the screen could create a shock and damage the internal components.
Remove any dust on the screen with the dry microfiber cloth or a soft duster.
Use filtered or distilled water if you need to use it, especially in areas with hard water – minerals like calcium and magnesium in the water you use could also damage your screen.
Wipe in tight, Z-shaped motions, or directly up and down or side to side. Wiping in circles can create uneven pressure and ultimately lead to screen damage. It’s also more likely to create streaking.
Use any fabric that feels rough to the touch – even a fabric as soft as a cotton shirt has snags and uneven parts that can damage a computer screen. Microfiber cloths are ideal because the fibers are so tiny that they can cover every inch of the screen with even pressure at the same time, eliminating any opportunity for scratches.
Use anything containing bleach to clean your screen.
Spray any cleaning solution directly onto the screen. To avoid any risk of damage from excess moisture, spray the solution directly onto the microfiber cloth instead.
Apply pressure when you clean the screen. This will likely damage the internal components of the screen and could leave scratches or spots of discoloration or dead pixels that won’t go away.
Even if you’re working on a particularly stubborn spot, don’t scrub – rather, leave the damp cloth sitting on the screen for several minutes, then try to gently wipe it away again.
How to clean a computer screen
Once you’ve turned off your computer and dusted off the screen, mist a dust-free side of your microfiber cloth with a cleaning solution that is safe for the type of screen you have.
Always spray the cleaning solution onto your cloth, never directly onto the screen. twomeows/Getty Images Wipe the screen in a consistent, non-circular motion without applying too much pressure. Make sure no moisture accumulates, especially at the corners – if it does, use a dry corner of microfiber cloth to gently wipe it away.
Allow the screen to air dry.
If any streaks remain once the screen dries, gently buff them away with the dry cloth.
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