How To Clean Your LCD Screen

Dear Computer Lady,

This isn’t exactly a computer question but a friend ask me and I have no idea, perhaps you can help us.

What can be used to clean a flat screen monitor? I have not had to clean mine and she is afraid if she uses a cloth and cleaner like she does on mirrors etc, it will ruin the screen. Can you help us?

Thanks in advance, Prudence

Dear Prudence,

Since all laptops, and most current monitors now have a flat, LCD screen, this is indeed a computer question!

In the old days, we had big, bulky CRT (Cathode Ray Tube) monitors that had a glass screen and could be cleaned just like any other glass surface in your home (as long as you unplugged it first of course).

LCD monitors, however, do not have a glass surface, and they are much more sensitive to pressure, and chemicals. It is also easier to scratch the surface.

Here are some easy steps to clean your LCD monitor

First of all, make sure the monitor is turned off, and unplugged. This is for your safety, and the black screen shows dirt and fingerprints much more clearly.

Next, use a soft cloth to gently wipe the screen. You can find soft cleaning cloths for your screen in any office supply store, or use a cloth intended to clean your eyeglasses. My HP laptop, and monitor, both came with a nice microfiber cloth that I use to clean them. Do not use any paper products (like paper towels) to clean your screen, they will scratch the surface of the screen.

Notice that I used the words, gently wipe the screen, in the step above. One of the things about LCD screens is that pushing too hard on the screen can damage the circuits below.

If gentle pressure with a dry cloth is not working for you, dampen the soft cloth with water and try again. Don’t use a sopping wet cloth, just a damp cloth. Using distilled water is better than tap water since tap water may leave white smears on your screen.

DO NOT USE cleaning products that contain ammonia, alcohol, or other chemicals on your LCD screen. These chemicals will dry the screen out, and it will become a brittle and yellow in color. Once in this condition, the screen is not flexible and will crack easily.

If plain water is not working for you, you can try a solution of 50% white vinegar and 50% distilled water. I did find many sites online that also suggested you use a solution of water and isopropyl alcohol, but I found an equal number of sites that said you should never use any alcohol. Since white vinegar is easy to find in the grocery store, and inexpensive, I would stick with that solution.

Remember to dampen your cloth with the solution, and then wipe the screen. Never spray liquids directly on the screen.

I hope this helps you and your friend. Remember that you can also use these directions to clean your new flat screen television as well.


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Elizabeth Boston is a Web designer, Social Media Consultant and managing editor of, “Ask The Computer Lady”.
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