Credit: Gary Sims / Android Authority
Your mouse and keyboard are probably among the dirtiest components of your computer. However, the screen can also be very dirty, especially if you work from home. Not only does it pick up dust from the air, but it can also be a target for sneezing, spills and who knows what else. If you haven’t washed your screen recently, here’s what you need to know about cleaning a computer screen.
Also see: How to keep your laptop’s keyboard clean
We’ve broken down our guide into a few key areas: the materials you should and shouldn’t use, as well as the actual steps you’ll need to take. Our guide also works for standalone monitors as well as laptop screens.
Ready to provide those germs achoo? Let’s get started.
What materials do you need to clean your computer screen?
While your screen probably feels pretty sturdy, we’re not talking about old-school tube TVs anymore. Your screen is not made of thick glass, but rather a thin layer that is much weaker against scratches. Some laptops might use a tougher window, but it’s still better safe than sorry.
When collecting your materials, make sure to avoid all of the following:
- Your shirt
- Paper towels
- Bath towels
- Any other material that is a little rough
Instead, grab a trusted microfiber cloth. Not only are they great for cleaning your glasses, but they also excel on computer screens, smartphones and a whole lot more. You can find them at most stores, but Amazon may have the best choice. Here are just a few inexpensive options to consider:
Any of the above options will work, and you may find it best to have two microfiber cloths to clean your computer screen. You use the first cloth for cleaning and the second to dry your display.
Also see: The best work and play monitors you can get
Which cleaning products are the safest?
Even if you handle your microfiber cloth carefully, you want to avoid some cleaning products. They will damage the top layer of the screen, especially if it has an anti-reflective coating.
Here’s what to avoid:
- Ethyl alcohol
- Methyl alcohol
- Literally any other corrosive substance
- Ethyl acid
- Methyl chloride
See? That’s not such a bad list to avoid. Instead, use warm distilled water if you have it. We cannot guarantee the quality of your tap water, so it is better to be safe than sorry. Also avoid standard window and surface cleaners.
Also see: How to clean and disinfect your phone to prevent the spread of germs
If you find stubborn stains that can’t be wiped off, try making a household cleaner. Fortunately, the steps are quite simple and you can usually use materials you already have. Here are three options to try:
- 50% distilled water and 50% white vinegar
- 100% distilled water and a drop of dish soap
- 50% distilled water and 50% isopropyl alcohol
Do you need to use special wipes or sprays?
Products containing isopropyl alcohol are usually safe to clean your computer screen. If you’re considering wipes, make sure they are individually packaged and designed specifically for screens. Amazon has a lot of options so you should be able to find something that works. Try these for size:
You can also try specialty sprays, and many include a microfiber cloth for your convenience. If possible, check the ingredients in a spray before purchasing it. We’re fans of Whoosh’s all-in-one screen cleaning kit! which you can now get on Amazon for under $ 20.
Don’t forget that you can always make your own cleaning mixture instead. Whichever way you go, never spray directly on the computer screen. Instead, spray your microfiber cloth and use it as a wipe. This is to prevent additional fluid from accidentally getting behind the frame, as isopropyl alcohol is flammable.
The steps to clean your computer screen
Credit: Gary Sims / Android Authority
Now you have your cloth, you have collected your cleaning supplies and it is time to get started. There aren’t too many steps, but we’ll walk you through the basics.
1. Turn off the display
It is always best to work with your display turned off. This should help reduce static as the shocks from your cleaning movements can 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 electricity, but this is probably an exaggeration to clean your screen.
The layers under your display are also charged with electricity. While you probably won’t actually damage the pixels because of the glass coating, it’s better to be safe. Don’t forget to handle your monitor with care as well, there’s no need to accidentally break anything.
2. Bring a duster to the computer screen
A soft duster is never a bad idea if you see dust on your computer screen. We’re not talking about a French girl’s feather duster, but Swiffer’s options should work fine. You want to make sure that your duster is not creating static and that it is actually collecting the dust.
There is no special technique for dusting your screen, just make sure you get all the parts. Swiffer made a video where it suggests an “X” pattern, but it’s up to you. Whatever happens, you want to see the edges as well as the main screen.
3. Wipe the panel with your microfiber cloth
Now comes the step pertaining to your cleansing mixture. Dampen your microfiber cloth with your brew of choice, and remember not to spray the screen directly. Also, make sure that no liquid drips from your cloth when you start cleaning your display.
We recommend swiping horizontally or vertically across your screen with the microfiber. You can also use circular motions, but this can leave buffering marks if you start scrubbing 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 your screen too hard.
4. Dry your computer screen
The last real step is to take your second microfiber cloth and dry your screen. You may need to dry the entire screen or just a small portion, but don’t turn your screen back on until you know it is dry. If you still see dirt stains, repeat step three until you are satisfied with the results.
5. Turn it on and get back to the action
And voila, your screen is clean enough to turn it back on. Now that you know what to do, you may be able to set up a regular cleaning schedule. Extra sanitation can never hurt during a pandemic.