How to Clean a Computer Screen Safely and Easily


Can you read this line? Or is there a splash from a sneeze, or a greasy fingermark in the way? Perhaps another portion of your screen is dirty. The chances are that you don’t clean your screen often enough. In fact, we’re willing to bet that you’ve been putting it off for a while…

Cleaning a computer screen isn’t as difficult as you might think it is. Here’s what you need to know about how to clean your display, what to use, and cleaning it safely.

It’s Time to Clean That Dirty Screen

Whether you’re using a desktop PC, laptop, or hybrid, it’s important to keep the display clean. The same goes for LCD and plasma TV screens, too.

How to clean a computer screen
Image Credit: Jemimus/Flickr

Splashes can obscure what you see on the screen. Smudges and greasy fingerprints accumulate over time to leave you with a dirty screen; dust gathers. The result is a viewing experience that is diminished by the presence of dirt.

It doesn’t have to be this way. Cleaning your computer or laptop display is remarkably simple. What’s more, it only takes a few minutes. When you’re done, you’ll have a shiny new display as good as the day you bought it.

Here’s What to Clean a Computer Screen With

You don’t need much to clean a computer screen. Just a bottle of suitable cleaning spray and a lint-free, microfiber cloth.

  • Cleaning solution
  • Microfiber cloth

These can often be bought as a bundle. This EcoMoist cleaning kit is a great example.

EcoMoist cleaning kit

EcoMoist cleaning kit

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Don’t have these things to hand? Don’t worry—you can also clean your computer screen with standard household products. Start off by making your own screen cleaner, using isopropyl (rubbing alcohol) or white vinegar, and distilled water.

You’ll also need a suitable microfiber cloth substitute. The idea here is to avoid anything likely to scratch your display. So, avoid paper towels, anything used for washing dishes, and facial wipes. Instead, opt for a cotton t-shirt, or handkerchief. A soft cotton tea towel is also a safe alternative.

Out regularly with your laptop? Carrying a bottle of spray isn’t practical, so instead pack some monitor wipes.

Monitor Wipes

Monitor Wipes

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While they’re good for a quick fix, monitor wipes don’t give the same results as a spray. So be sure to clean your screen at home between trips.

How to Clean a LCD Laptop or PC Screen

So, you’ve got your cleaning spray and a microfiber cloth. You’re ready to start cleaning—but stop right there!

Before proceeding, you need to turn off your device. If it’s a desktop PC, turn off the monitor. Laptop user? Shut it down.

Now, you were going to spray the cleaning fluid directly onto the display, weren’t you? Don’t do that. 

Drips from the fluid can run into the bezel of the display, causing problems with the electrics. On a laptop, the spray can end up in vents and the keyboard, as well as running into the bezel.

Instead, spray the fluid directly onto the cloth.

You will need a few applications, but this approach is far safer than risking the integrity of your computer’s display.

With the cloth in hand, clean the display making small circular motions, avoiding unnecessary pressure. Start in the top left corner, and work across, then start another row. If some dirt seems tough to shift, repeat the process, focusing on that area.

Wipe off any excess, then leave to dry naturally. Don’t use any heated dryers.

How to Clean an Old-Style CRT Monitor

Cathode Ray Tube (CRT) monitors are rare these days, but they can still be found in retro gaming systems. You might even own an arcade machine with a CRT display, or simply own an old CRT TV that you still use.

Need to clean a dirty CRT display? You’ll need:

  • Anti-static cloth
  • Lint-free cloth
  • Screen cleaning fluid (glass cleaner is okay here)

Start off with the anti-static cloth and cleaning fluid, quipping down the dusty case.

Next, spray the screen cleaning fluid onto the lint-free cloth, wiping the display in straight lines. Don’t worry if the cloth dries out—simply apply another few squirts of cleaning fluid.

How to Clean a Touchscreen Display

If you’re using a hybrid laptop that can be used as a tablet, cleaning the display is a little different.

These devices attract more grease and dust than static LCD displays. As such, you’ll need to clean them in a slightly different way. Hybrid device touchscreen displays are cleaned in much the same way as standard tablets and smartphones.

The main aim here is to remove the grease, then clean the screen of other dirt and detritus. Our guide to safely cleaning a tablet or smartphone display

How To Safely Clean Your Tablet Or Smartphone’s Touchscreen

How To Safely Clean Your Tablet Or Smartphone’s Touchscreen

Cleaning a touchscreen is simple. You don’t need a special cleaning kit or cleaning solution to safely clean your tablet or smartphone’s touchscreen – you can do it with materials you probably have on hand….
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will help you here.

Computer Screen Clean? Don’t Stop There!

By this stage you should know everything you need to know about cleaning a dirty screen. Let’s recap:

  • Turn off your display
  • Start off with a microfiber cloth and screen cleaning fluid
  • Spray the cloth
  • Wipe the display clean in small circular motions

If you’re using a laptop, use the same steps, but keep some dedicated screen wipes in your bag. They’ll prove useful when you’re out.

Meanwhile, if you own a CRT, follow the same steps, but remember that you can use glass cleaner. The case and display should also be cleaned with an anti-static cloth.

Finally, if you use a hybrid or touchscreen laptop, you’ll need to be more aware of the problems with grease. Our dedicated tutorial, linked to above, will help you out here.

Once your greasy, dirty screen is cleaned up, you might feel ready to start using your computer again. But you shouldn’t stop there. It’s time to completely clean your computer. Using a notebook? Here’s how to clean your laptop and keyboard.

Meanwhile, try our spring cleaning checklist for your Windows PC

The Spring Cleaning Checklist & Toolset for Your Windows PC

The Spring Cleaning Checklist & Toolset for Your Windows PC

Your computer needs a regular checkup, just like your car or your garden. The hardware can collect dirt, while the software can bloat and slow down your system. Let us guide you through the cleanup.
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Image Credit: Syda_Productions/Depositphotos

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