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How can I Clean a Laptop Screen?

By C. Ausbrooks
Updated May 16, 2024
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There are several ways to clean a laptop screen using homemade solutions, special cleaning cloths, and items found around the house. It’s important to use the proper technique to avoid causing damage to the screen. Liquid crystal display (LCD) monitors are easily scratched, and some caution is necessary to keep your screen in top condition.

An absorbent cotton cloth should be used to clean a laptop screen, and never a polyester blend. Polyester contains filaments which can scratch the sensitive LCD monitor. Paper towels, napkins, and tissues should also be avoided, as they contain wood fibers which may damage the screen. Microfiber cloths are the best choice, if available, and are safe to use on almost any surface. If unable to find microfiber, a piece of an old cotton t-shirt may be used safely.

Create a homemade solution for cleaning your laptop screen by combining equal parts isopropyl alcohol and distilled water. Do not use tap water, as it contains mineral deposits that may cause streaking and spotting on the computer screen. First, shut off the computer and wipe the screen with a dry cloth to remove any dust or debris. Then, soak a second cloth in the alcohol solution, and wring out thoroughly. Do not use a saturated cloth, or the solution may drip into other areas of the computer, causing damage.

Wipe the laptop screen gently, moving in one direction, until the entire surface has been cleaned. Do not scrub, as this can scratch the screen, or cause dark spots to appear, even when using a soft cloth. Wipe with a dry cloth to remove any excess liquid from the computer screen. Store any leftover solution in a lidded plastic container or spray bottle. If using a spray bottle, remember to never spray the screen with the solution directly.

To clean a laptop screen without using liquid, anti-static cloths can be purchased at many computer, hardware, and office supply stores, or ordered online. These cloths are typically recommended by laptop manufacturers as a safe and easy way to clean laptop screens. They will remove dust, dirt, and fingerprints with ease, without streaking or scratching surfaces.

Microfiber cloths soaked in a pre-made solution can also be purchased to clean a laptop screen. These are often expensive, and contain nothing more than the alcohol and water solution described above. They offer a convenient way to clean LCD monitors, but if budget is a concern, making your own cleaner is recommended.

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Discussion Comments

By anon1006393 — On Mar 02, 2022

Thank you so much for this article. It was really useful and helpful to me. I had a problem with my laptop screen, but couldn't find the solution anywhere until now! Great job!

By anon924658 — On Jan 06, 2014

I just cleaned my LCD monitor with Shield Lens Cleaner (alcohol-free) and a very soft (probably microfiber) cloth. Both were giveaways from my last trip to the optician. I turned off the monitor so I could see well against the black, spritzed the screen three or four times and very gently went over the screen with the soft cloth. The result was a very clean and streak-free monitor. By the way, I have no interest in shield cleaner and I'm sure any alcohol-free lens cleaner is pretty much the same formulation.

By Georgesplane — On Jan 07, 2011

@ Cougars- The best way to clean a laptop computer screen is just as the article stated. Windex has a number of harsh chemicals that are meant to clean glass and hard surfaces. These chemicals will eventually leave a yellow tint on your screen or worse yet, turn your screen cloudy. Invest in a small leather chamois, and keep a little spritzer bottle handy with distilled water. Water and cloth are the mildest way to clean a screen and will clean almost all dirt, dust, smoke residue, and oily smudges form your screen.

The plastic layers that make up your screen are very thin, and sensitive. Manufacturers also coat LCD screens with different substances to reduce glare, and increase screen clarity. You can easily remove these coatings by using harsh cleaners like Windex. Even prolonged cleaning with alcohol can slowly remove these coatings. If you spend the ten dollars on a nice cloth, you will extend the life of your expensive machine.

By cougars — On Jan 05, 2011

Can you clean a laptop screen with windex? My friend told me to use windex to clean my screen because it works better than anything else does, but I do not want to chance ruining my expensive laptop.

By Alchemy — On Jan 03, 2011

I have been using a microfiber cloth and plain water for as long as I have owned a laptop, and this is the best way that I have found to keep my LCD screen clean. I do not get the entire cloth wet, only a corner. I simply wipe the screen with the wet corner, and polish with the dry microfiber. It removes all streaks, smudges, fingerprints, and dust with ease. The cloth is also very gentle on my computer screen, never leaving a scratch. A microfiber is only a few dollars at the grocery store, but is just as effective as the cleaning solutions found at office stores.

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