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How to Clean a Monitor or Computer Screen Safely

Jennifer L. Betts
woman cleaning the surface of laptop

Cleaning a computer monitor isn't something that you think about until you see that strange speck during a video chat. When it comes to laptops, tablets, computers and TV flat screens, you want to use gentle cleaners. This means that water, dish soap and vinegar can be added to your cleaning arsenal right after a microfiber cloth.

How to Clean a Monitor or Touch Screen

Monitors get dirty. It's a fact of life. You might have sneezed on your computer screen or possibly your touch screen has oils from your fingers. There could even be a little Cheeto dust on there. No judgments here. Whatever, the case, you have to get it clean. While it might be tempting to reach for the Windex, monitors, laptops and tablets will take a tender hand when it comes to cleaning.

Materials for Cleaning a Computer Screen

When it comes to cleaning your monitor of a little Cheeto dust, you're going to want to grab a few materials.

  • Microfiber cloth or lens cloth
  • Small squirt bottle (a repurposed travel size spray bottle works nicely)
  • Dish soap (preferably Dawn)
  • Vinegar
  • Rubbing alcohol

How to Clean a Monitor With Microfiber Cloth

When it comes to cleaning your monitor, you'll want to start with the least invasive method and work your way down. This can help to keep your screen scratch-free and in working order. Since dust is the most common thing that you'll deal with on your LCD monitor, you'll want to grab your microfiber cloth.

  1. Turn off your monitor. Not only is it easier to see smudges, but this stops the reactivity of a touch screen. It's also just safer, just in case.
  2. Take the microfiber cloth and gently brush the screen using even strokes.
  3. Be gentle! Pressing too hard can be damaging to your monitor or screen components.

Dish Soap and Water to Clean Computer Screen

That microfiber cloth was great for getting that dust off but it didn't tackle that dried on sneeze or mystery gunk. In this case, you'll want to add a little water to the solution.

  1. In the spray bottle, mix about a cup of warm water and a drop or two of Dawn.
  2. Give it a good shake.
  3. Grab two clothes: one for wet wiping and one for drying.
  4. After turning off your monitor, spray one cloth lightly with the mixture.
  5. Gently wipe down the screen, focusing on that mystery spot or dried mucus.
  6. Use the dry cloth to wipe it down.
  7. Repeat until clean.
  8. Wait for about 15 minutes or until screen is completely dry before turning it on.

Vinegar or Alcohol and Water for Monitor Cleaning

If dish soap and water didn't cut it, it might be time to bring out the big guns. For this disinfecting cleaning method, you're going to grab your spray bottle and vinegar or alcohol. Remember screens are extremely delicate, so you only want to use this method if the others didn't work first.

  1. In your spray bottle, mix equal parts water and vinegar or alcohol.
  2. Give it a little shake.
  3. Turn off your screen, if you haven't already.
  4. Spray the mixture on the cloth.
  5. Use slow circular motions to remove dirt, dust and debris.
  6. Use a dry cloth to give it a good wipe down.
  7. Repeat as necessary.
  8. Allow the screen to dry completely before turning on.

Use Caution When Cleaning Computer Monitors

When it comes to monitors and screens for computers, tablets and laptops, you'll find that there are a lot more don't than there are dos. That is because the components of a screen have coatings and such that are delicate. You can't treat it like you do a window or counter. Therefore, it is important to remember these guidelines.

  • Avoid abrasives or cleaners (meaning no Windex).
  • Never spray liquids on the screen; spray them on a cloth first.
  • Don't pick at stains, especially with a sharp object.
  • Always use soft, non-abrasive cloths.

Cleaning Your Computer Screen Properly

Knowing how to clean a monitor is important. It isn't something that you think about much until it gets crusty. However, dusting and removing scum is something that you should add to your weekly schedule. Happy computer screen cleaning!

How to Clean a Monitor or Computer Screen Safely