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How Should I Clean an LCD Screen?

R. Kayne
R. Kayne

It is always best to follow manufacturer’s suggestions for product care, but generally it is safe to clean an LCD screen using a very soft, 100% cotton cloth, and a mixture of distilled water and clear vinegar. If you prefer buying ready-made products, LCD cleaners are available from electronics shops in spray bottles.

While it might be tempting to use an old tee shirt for a cotton cloth, the seams can potentially scratch the screen. Flannel is the recommended material, and you can visit a fabric shop and buy a yard (0.9 meters) of 100% untreated cotton flannel for very little money. By purchasing this amount of fabric, you’ll be able to cut new cloths when the old one gets dirty. Microfiber cloth is also a good choice.

Distilled water is pure and therefore safe to use to clean an LCD screen. Do not use tap water, as the minerals can ruin the screen’s finish.

Some LCD cleaning solutions come in spray bottles.
Some LCD cleaning solutions come in spray bottles.

While many people use isopropyl alcohol in a 50/50 solution with distilled water, some manufacturers warn against this. If you are inclined to use isopropyl rather than vinegar, check with the manufacturer’s website of your LCD product to be sure this is acceptable. Many store-bought LCD cleaners contain isopropyl, and it is generally considered safe and effective.

A LCD screen.
A LCD screen.

Otherwise, a 50/50 solution of distilled water and white vinegar can be combined in a spray bottle. Avoid using a bottle that had previous cleaners or agents in it — a new spray bottle can be purchased at the grocery store. Choose a sprayer that is capable of a fine mist.

Cut a piece of cloth large enough to fold into a nice square pad that is a few layers thick. Spray your 50/50 solution on to the surface of the cloth, lightly dampening it. Be sure the cloth isn't so wet that it will drip down the screen. Do not spray the solution directly on to the LCD screen.

An LCD screen may be cleaned by using a mixture of white vinegar and distilled water.
An LCD screen may be cleaned by using a mixture of white vinegar and distilled water.

Before you clean an LCD screen, power it off to avoid potential damage. Take your cloth and gently wipe the surface from top to bottom, moving downward in a straight line. When you reach the bottom lift the cloth away and place it at the top again to proceed. Use a very light touch, as pressing against the screen could damage its pixels.

Do not move the cloth in a circular motion to rub out fingerprints or smudges. The solution will do the trick. If you have to cover an area twice, wait until its dry, then repeat the process. The vinegar should cut through any dirt or body oils deposited on the screen. By following this simple procedure, your screen should stay clear and unblemished.

Never use paper towels, napkins, or tissues to clean an LCD screen. These materials will either scratch the screen or leave debris. Household cleaners and ammonia should also be avoided, as they can leave a white cast, ruining the screen’s finish.

Discussion Comments


Don't spray the screen because the mist can get in the sides and bottom/top of screen area and short out your monitor. Play it safe and spray the cloth. These things are expensive.


It is good to know that flannel is the best material to use to clean an LCD screen. I learned the hard way how important it is to use the right products to clean these screens. I was spraying on a general cleaner, with a paper towel and now my screen has a dull finish to it.

I am going to try the vinegar and water solution to see if this will help. I don't have high hopes that my screen will look like new again, but now I know what not to do the next time I buy something that has an LCD screen.


I use a multipurpose biodegradable cleaner to clean my LCD screens. This is a diluted solution that I use to clean the glass in my home. I have never had any problem using this on my screens. I also use this on my iPad to get rid of all the fingerprints. I have found if I use this all the time it also seems to keep the fingerprints from building up as often.


It's sure a lot cheaper to mix up a bottle of clear vinegar and water than it is to buy the cleaning products at the store.

I keep a small bottle of this mixed up all the time and always spray on the cloth before wiping the screen. I don't mind the smell of vinegar so this doesn't bother me. Because it is diluted in water it isn't that strong anyway and quickly disappears.

You can use this cleaning solution for a lot of other uses in your home. It is safe for you and the environment and works just as good or better than cleaning products that have chemicals in them.


I have always wondered what was the best way to clean an LCD screen. After spending that much money on something I didn't want to ruin it by using something I wasn't supposed to. I have just taking a soft cloth and wiping away the dust when the screen is turned off. So far this has worked OK for me, but I like knowing I can use a liquid solution as long as I don't directly spray on the screen.


There are two types of issues that may arise from using a spray on your LCD display.

First, you run the risk of having liquid run down between the diffusion layers on the LCD, or hitting the CCFL in there and shorting out your inverter.

The second problem is that manufacturers sometimes put the T-Con board at the bottom of the TV. Or if it is a plasma. you have buffers that run along the bottom edge. Again shorting those out will kill your monitor/TV.

It's just as easy and safer to spray the cloth you wish to use rather than the screen itself. The screens are not sealed in anyway, so any drips can possibly cause damage if they get inside.


I sprayed water on the screen, which resulted in a cloudy sort of screen. Will that cloudiness go or not? I am still confused.


You don't spray it on the screen because cleaners used to damage the seal on the bottom edge of the screen. I don't believe is still happens as long as something reasonable is used. The warning is most likely still there simply to cover themselves if someone uses something that is much to harsh and allows it to drip down the screen.


I actually spray the liquid (i.e., eyeglass cleaner or the solution they make specifically for LCD screens) on the screen all the time, and haven't noticed anything bad come of it. I think the fear is that the droplets from the spray makes permanent splotches on the screen. It's there for only a brief second but maybe with the heat of the screen those splotches get burned in somehow? I'm not sure, but I've done it -- I wipe right away and do it when the screens turned off -- and I haven't had any problems with it.


Why can't you spray the liquid directly on the screen?

I'm not going to do it but I'd still like to know why I shouldn't.

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    • Some LCD cleaning solutions come in spray bottles.
      By: Africa Studio
      Some LCD cleaning solutions come in spray bottles.
    • A LCD screen.
      A LCD screen.
    • An LCD screen may be cleaned by using a mixture of white vinegar and distilled water.
      By: hsagencia
      An LCD screen may be cleaned by using a mixture of white vinegar and distilled water.
    • Isopropyl alcohol, which can be diluted and used to clean an LCD screen.
      By: tungphoto
      Isopropyl alcohol, which can be diluted and used to clean an LCD screen.