Cleaning a Laptop LCD Screen

One of the most common things I get asked is how to safely clean a laptop screen. By far the best way is to use a microfibre cloth. These can be found cheaply on eBay or in the shops and do an excellent job. Here's how they work ….

Microfibre cloths do an excellent job of picking up dust and removing smudges. They will even remove oily fingerprints from a surface without spreading it around and without any additional cleaners. They are environmentally & economically friendly by reducing money spent on cleaners, paper towels and trash that has been generated.

Please note: Treat any of the following screen types as you would an expensive camera lens, using high quality cleaning materials and tested techniques.

  • LCD screens are not glass! The LCD surface is made of a soft film that is vulnerable to scratches, damage by sharp articles and / or improper cleaners.
  • Most cathode ray tube (CRT) type monitors have anti-glare coatings to help reduce reflections; scratches and / or harsh cleaners can damage this surface.
  • Many large screen and projection type TV's have a screen that is made of a plastic or acrylic type material. These type screens require special attention to clean properly and safely.
  • Plasma screens are made of glass substrate but are typically coated for glare reduction.
  • Glare reduction add-on screens are covered for reduced reflection.
  • Most HDTV's have surface coatings for glare reduction.

As you can see, most screens have an anti-glare coating that can be permanently scratched, so make sure your cleaning cloths do not contain any sand or grit that could damage the screen surface.

The following instructions are good, general and safe methods for keeping your screen clean without causing surface damage. Use your Microfibre screen cloths and do not apply excess pressure.

The most common type of screen cleaning is dust on the surface of the screen. Use the microfibre screen cloth without any type of additional cleaner for everyday type screen dusting.

For more stubborn dirt, smudges and / or fingerprint removal, use the orange microfibre screen cloth sprayed with water or moistened under the tap.

Turn off your monitor or screen. This is a safety issue; also, it is easier to see the screen surface against the dark background.

  1. Remove any larger dirt particles: Using the microfibre cloth, gently brush away any larger dirt particles. Also, wipe the edges, lifting the dust into the cloth as you go.
  2. Use the microfibre screen cloth to clean the surface. Applying light pressure , wipe the screen being careful not to overwork any area. If you have areas of the screen that do not come clean, go on to the next step.
  3. For dirt, stains or streaking that is discharged onto the screen surface; moisten the cloth under the tap. It may be necessary on larger screens to work one-half or third of the screen at a time. Make sure the cloth is damp NOT wet as excess moisture could see into the edges of the screen causing problems. Wipe the screen with the dampened cloth.
  4. Applying light pressure , work quickly to moisten the screen. You want to be able to come back to the same area before it dries. Reposition the cloth in your hand finding a drier section of cloth and continue wiping the screen to the point of most friction caused by the near dry screen. At this point reposition the cloth one more time, and clearly wipe to finish polish. Finally, clean the edges and corners, lifting any dust or debris into the cloth.
  5. Check the surface for any streaking or missed areas, if so; repeat the last two steps as necessary
  1. Check cloth (s) to see if cleaning is needed: if so, see next section; if not, allow to dry then store clean for next usage.

Avoid using Kleenex, paper towels, or other coarse shop towels. These materials may contain abrasives that can scratch plastic, acrylic, polycarbonate surfaces or surface coatings. Also these fabrics also can be very dusty or linty. Do not clean your screen with strong cleaners, polishes or chemically treated cloths.

Avoid these cleaning chemicals: ketone type material (Acetone), alkalis, acids, phosphates, chlorides or caustics, as they can cause damage to coatings or LCD polarizers.

We also do not recommend any cleaner that claims to leave behind any type of surface protective coating or protective layer . Most computer monitors have an anti-glare coating on the screen surface. Anything that leaves a coating to this surface is going to affect the effectiveness of that anti-glare coating. We also have noted some hard to remove smudging from these types of cleaning products.

Microfibre Cloth Cleaning Tips: One of the advantages of microfibre cloths is that they can be washed and reused repeatedly. Note: As with other new materials, some of the dyes used to color these materials can bleed when washed.

  • For non-critical cleaning , you can wash with normal wash machine load, but avoid washing with anything that might be linty. Do not use bleach or fabric softeners in the washer or dryer. Air-drying is good, but they also can be safely discharged at low heat in the clothes dryer.
  • For more critical cleaning , wash the cloths separately, either by hand or in a wash machine, in warm water, adding a small amount of detergent. Do not use any bleach or fabric softener and rinse at least one extra time. Air dry or use a clothes dryer on low heat, again no fabric softener

To sanitize; microfibre cloths may be boiled for 5-10 minutes to eliminate any bacteria that may form in the fibers.

How do I clean ink from a screen surface? One method, which has worked well for some people, is to saturate a clean cloth with isopropyl rubbing alcohol. With gentle wiping, this normally will remove most inks from a screen. *

Other items worth noting:

  • Do not rub the surface of the screen with ball-point-pen or screwdriver etc.
  • Do not place rubber, vinyl products or cellophane tape on your screen.
  • Avoid touching the screen with fingers. (oily fingerprints will result)
  • Exposing the screen to direct sunlight for a long period of time or to other heat sources may cause damage to any screen.
  • Kids have various games and learning devices in which they use a pen-like device to write on a screen. Explain to them the difference in their screen and your plasma TV screen, or new LCD monitor.

* Before using any liquid cleaners on your screen, consult your manual or manufacturers recommended cleaning procedures.