How To Clean Your Computer Screen

The type of screen you have determines how to clean a computer screen.

Knowing how to clean a computer screen safely is all but required knowledge these days! With as many television screens, computer monitors, tablets, smartphones, and laptop screens we have scattered throughout our homes, that’s a lot of surface area for dust and fingerprints to build up on (not to mention germs and bacteria!)

The question of how to clean the screens on our devices is one of the most frequently asked questions about cleaning, and I hope to provide the answer(s) in this post! Here, you’ll learn the right way to clean a laptop screen, phone or tablet touchscreen, TV screen, or computer screen without damaging it.

Different types of screens have different needs when it comes to cleaning, so it’s important to know what kind of screen you’re dealing with before attempting to clean it. Luckily, you can easily determine which type of screen your device has by searching for the make and model online (or looking in the user manual!)

When you clean a computer or phone screen, always spray the cleaner on a microfiber cloth, not directly onto the screen.

2 Important Rules To Clean Your Computer Screen Without Damaging It

While different types of screens may require different cleaning agents or methods, there are a couple of universal guidelines that are important to follow. First, you should always turn off your computer or device before you clean your screen. (This is mainly to protect the device, but a black screen makes it easier to see what you’re doing, too.)

Second, you should never spray liquids directly onto the screen, as spraying the screen directly can expose internal electronics to moisture. Instead, you should spray cleaning products onto a clean microfiber cloth, then use the damp cloth to wipe the surface of the screen.

A woman cleaning a computer screen with a cloth.

How To Clean An LCD Computer Monitor Or Laptop Screen

If you use an external display monitor with your Mac or PC, there’s a good chance it has an LCD screen. Use very light pressure on the screen while cleaning it to avoid damaging its sensitive components.

  1. Use a microfiber cloth to gently remove dust from the screen. (Avoid using paper towels and cloths made of other materials to avoid damaging the sensitive surface.)
  2. If the screen is really grimy, spray a cleaning solution onto a cloth (not directly on the screen) and use it to wipe your screen clean. (I recommend my DIY screen cleaner, which I’ll show you how to make shortly!)
  3. Avoid using glass cleaners like Windex, or any cleaner that contains ammonia, alcohol, hydrogen peroxide, or acetone, on LCD screens, as they can leave behind a film or even do permanent damage to your screen.
A woman cleaning a laptop screen with a cloth.

How To Clean A Non-LCD Or Glass-Coated Screen

Most modern smartphones and tablets, as well as many Mac computers, have glass-coated screens. The glass coating makes them more durable than an LED or an LCD screen would be on its own, but it’s still important to clean them with care!

  1. Start by blowing on the screen (or using canned air) to remove any dust particles that could scratch the screen.
  2. Wipe the screen with a soft, lint-free microfiber cloth (ideally, the same kind you’d use to clean your eyeglasses).
  3. If fingerprints and smudges remain, dampen the cloth with a bit of alcohol or vinegar mixed with distilled water and use it to gently wipe the screen clean.
  4. Buff with a dry microfiber cloth to get rid of any streaks.

How To Clean A Mac With Nano-Texture Glass

Apple’s high-end desktop computers and displays, including Apple Studio Display, Apple Pro Display XDR, and some iMacs, have a special “nano-texture” glass screen. These models come with a special cleaning cloth that are meant to be used to clean the surface of your screen. To remove more stubborn smears, dampen the cloth with a bit of 70% isopropyl alcohol and use it to wipe down your screen with light pressure.

You can make your own computer screen cleaning solution with distilled water and vinegar or alcohol, depending on the type of computer screen you need to clean.

How To Make Your Own Screen Cleaner

You’ll need:

*Use white vinegar if you’re cleaning LCD screens, or rubbing alcohol for glass-coated screens.

Directions:

To make a simple and effective screen cleaning solution, combine equal parts of white vinegar (or rubbing alcohol) and distilled water in a small spray bottle. Replace the spray top and shake well to mix.

A person holding a bottle of essential oil, with clean hands.

How To Use Your DIY Screen Cleaner

microfiber cloth can do quite a bit of cleaning on its own, so when it’s time to clean my phone or laptop screen, I like to start by using a clean, dry microfiber cloth to remove dust, lint, and oils. Then I spray the cleaner onto the cloth, and use the cloth to gently wipe the screen clean.

It works like a charm, too! The vinegar cuts through smears and smudges with ease, so give it a try for yourself!

A woman cleaning her phone screen with a cloth.

BONUS: Cleaning Screen Protectors

Screen protectors are designed to prevent both messes and damage from reaching the actual screen of your device. Here are a few tips that can help you clean your screen protector up when it gets grimy. (If yours is very dirty or very damaged, it may be time to replace the screen protector!)

  1. Use a soft microfiber cloth to wipe the screen protector clean of dust and surface dirt.
  2. For more stubborn smudges, dampen the cloth with distilled water and gently wipe them away. (If you have a glass screen protector, you can use a bit of diluted alcohol or vinegar instead.)

How To Get Dust Out From Under A Screen Protector

  1. If there is dust under the screen protector, you’ll notice it right away. You’ll see the speck of dust surrounded by a halo of lifted glass or plastic. 
  2. Lift a corner of the screen protector, use a piece of tape to pick up the dust, then replace the screen protector in its original position.
  3. If there’s a lot of dust or debris stuck under there, you may be able to remove the protector, wash it with some Dawn dish soap and water, then replace it once it’s dry.

Have you ever wondered how to clean a computer screen?

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Jill Nystul (aka Jillee)

Jill Nystul is an accomplished writer and author who founded the blog One Good Thing by Jillee in 2011. With over 30 years of experience in homemaking, she has become a trusted resource for contemporary homemakers by offering practical solutions to everyday household challenges.I share creative homemaking and lifestyle solutions that make your life easier and more enjoyable!

About Jillee

Jill Nystul

Jill’s 30 years of homemaking experience, make her the trusted source for practical household solutions.

About Jillee

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Homekeeping Tips

  • I love microfiber cloths, too, but have you tried the Bambooee towels? The are made from bamboo. I use them, wash and use again. The more you wash them, the softer they get. I use them for cleaning blinds, plant leaves, dusting, polishing bathroom faucets….you name it.

  • In the Restaurant business we use the vinegar and water for rinse agent after soap and water. It removes any soap residue, makes stainless steal and floors shine with no streaks.

  • I use a very strong rubbing alcohol mixed with water 50/50. It is the only thing that I will use because it dries almost instantly and does not scratch when used properly with a microfiber towel. It is what the stuff at Walmart and various electronic stores are made of. I have had terrible luck with white vinegar especially with my car, I’ll get the window’s sparkling clean but then I’ll come back the next day and it looks like a heavy fog has settled in on my windows. I have checked and double checked all the surrounding stores and alcohol and water is what they are made of AND since it woks so well I tried it on all of my mirrors, windows, other surfaces and auto glass and mirrors and it works absolutely great. I’ve been using it for years.

    • I also use 50/50 rubbing alcohol and filtered water on my electronic screens. I just mix it up in a little bowl and apply with a microfiber cloth. Then dry and polish with a clean dry microfiber cloth. It works really well.

  • I use water and a microcloth on all my sliding glass doors, sliding mirrors, Windows, picture frames, anything with glass. I will add just a drop of dawn dishwashing liquid if I run into a problem but I rarely need too. It’s the cloth that does the cleaning but don’t put it in your dryer and keep the same one for just glass.
    That microcloth, my ostrich feather duster, baking soda for my sinks and shower and sprinkled on my carpet, vinegar in my wash load, I’m good to go.

    • Try half detergent and half baking soda for the laundry. Clean and soft laundry is the result. I used vinegar before but with the baking soda results are so much better !

    • I ruined my last pair of prescription glasses by using eyeglass cleaner. It broke down the protective coating and I could NEVER get them clean. My friend told me about something called an Eco Cloth so I ordered online. (TheEcoCloth.com) Saved my sanity!
      It uses only water on the cloth which you have to ring out really hard to use barely damp.

  • i have been a car detailer for 26 years & thats what i use to clean windows on a car. The reason vinegar works so well on screens because it doesnt contain any harsh chemichals

  • You can also use alcohol. That’s what’s on those eyeglass cleaner wipes and screen cleaner wipes. I also use hand sanitizer to clean screens of all sorts. Just dab a blob on a cloth and clean away!

    • Alcohol can be a problem. It tends to dry out some electronics screens. I also was cautioned by my ophthalmologist not to use it on eyeglasses as it can dissolve the glue holding them together.

      • The easiest way to clean glasses is to wash using a (non-film producing) hand soap, rinse with hot water and dry with a cotton handkerchief. No scratches even after several years. I found that tissues will leave scratches on the lenses. Alcohol will leave a cloudy film.

      • Since my eyeglasses are glass, I use a drop of Dawn & a toothbrush to clean them; I rinse them in warm water, because I’m afraid hot water will warp the frames. Plastic lenses require too much special care for me!

  • Great tip! I use this white vinegar and water to clean my windows but never crossed my mind to use on screens, will be trying this one out today.

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