How to Clean a Laptop Screen

A woman working on a laptop.

Let there be no question: our lives today are ruled by computers. For many of us, they’re our lifeline. They’re the means by which we conduct both our business and our personal lives. We have become so umbilically attached to them that it’s utterly sickening. Sickening…and awesome. My dependence on this stupid little machine in front of me is oftentimes what gets my lazy ass out of bed in the morning. Not only do I want to read the latest news headlines and check the day’s forecast, I also want to check my friends’ and family’s status updates so I can stay informed about all the little mundane happenings in their lives, while swearing loudly about their political opinions.

Because of my (and so many others’ like me) obsessive desire to be near the computer at all times, the world has presented us with laptops. Now we practically never have to be without our precious little interwebs. We can take our laptops to hotels, coffee shops, bookstores, parks, restaurants, and…well…anywhere else we want. The only downside to this is that the more often we use them and the more places we take them, the more shite gets splattered on them, spilled on them, and built up on them. And so comes the required knowledge of how to clean laptop screens. Happily, cleaning laptop screens is neither difficult nor time consuming. If, however, you’re a little fuzzy on the specifics of cleaning laptop screens, just read this article and learn how to clean your laptop screen properly and safely.

Steps to Clean a Laptop Screen

  1. laptopscreen-1Gather the necessary supplies. You don’t need too many supplies to clean a laptop screen. In fact, there’s a pretty good chance you’ve got most of it all already. Gather together these items: an old cotton t-shirt, another old cotton t-shirt, cotton swabs, a can of compressed air, white vinegar, and distilled water. Make certain it’s distilled water. Tap water has trace minerals in it that will leave water spots on your laptop screen. If you don’t have any, go get some. It will cost you 89¢, and you’ll get numerous uses out of it.
  2. laptopscreen-2Start with your compressed air. If you don’t have a can of this, go to any store that sells office supplies and buy one. Due to the fact that you can damage your computer screen by grinding sharp dust particles into it, this is an important first step when cleaning a laptop screen. Push the trigger on the can, aim it at the screen and sweep it from side to side while working your way down the laptop screen from the top.
  3. laptopscreen-3Homemade laptop screen cleaner. While the stuff really does work quite well, there’s simply no need to clean laptop screens with any of that fancy crap you can buy at the store. All you need is a little plain old white vinegar and some of that distilled water you went and bought earlier. Mix together, in a large glass measuring cup, ½ cup of white vinegar with ½ cup of distilled water. Once thoroughly mixed, pour your monitor cleaner into a little squirt bottle.
  4. laptopscreen-4Commence screen cleaning. Grab one of your old 100% cotton t-shirts with one hand and your little squirt bottle of computer screen cleaning solution with the other. Spray the t-shirt with just enough LCD cleaner so that it is slightly moist, and brace yourself for the joy that is computer cleaning. All that is required of you for this step is to apply the moistened t-shirt to the laptop computer screen and rub it down very gently in a circular motion.
  5. laptopscreen-5Dry your clean laptop monitor. The very moment after you have created a clean laptop computer screen, you will need to dry it. Granted, if you sprayed your old t-shirt properly, there should be very little residual moisture. There will, however, be a little bit and you will need to get rid of it. This is where that second old cotton t-shirt comes into play. All you gotta do here is grab it and gently wipe down the monitor. The result will be a beautifully streak-free, clean laptop screen.
  6. laptopscreen-6Detailed LCD screen cleaning. The last step in the quest to clean laptop screen surfaces is to clean around the edges. This is done quite easily with good ol’ fashioned cotton swabs. Grab your little bottle of computer screen cleaner, remove the lid, dip the swab in, squeeze the excess moisture out of your swab and onto the old t-shirt you used for drying, and carefully run the swab around the edges of the laptop screen. Once completed, run a dry section of your clean t-shirt around the edge of the screen and call it quits.

Tips for Cleaning Laptop Screen Surfaces

  • Before attempting to clean laptop computer screen surfaces, turn off and unplug your laptop.
  • Find and read the official manufacturer’s cleaning suggestions before following any of the advice given in this article.
  • Though I have yet to find compelling explanations as to why, I have heard and read enough times not to use any sort of ammonia product (e.g. standard glass cleaner) for cleaning laptop screens that I have come to trust this advice. I think that you should as well.
  • If there is a stubborn smudge or splatter on your laptop screen, rub longer. Not harder. Pushing hard can damage the laptop monitor.
  • Never ever use any sort of paper products (tissue, toilet paper, paper towel, etc.) for cleaning LCD laptop screens. These products can contain itty-bitty bits of sharp wood that can scratch the hell out of your laptop screen. Besides that, they have a tendency to leave little flecks of paper on your clean LCD screen.
  • Now that you know how to clean laptop screen surfaces, do it on a regular basis. The longer you wait, the harder it gets. I clean my laptop screen about once every two to three weeks.
  • There are about 9,876,374,718 different types of laptop screen cleaners available on the market today, and as I mentioned earlier, many of them work quite well. Some of them are sprays, some are wipes, and some are even microfiber cloths coated with screen cleaning chemicals. If you don’t feel like making your own cleaner, just go to the store and pick one.

Tools for Laptop Screen Cleaning

laptopscreen-7Microfiber. Microfiber cloths are an excellent choice when looking for something to use for cleaning LCD screens. They are super soft, highly absorbent, readily available, and are oftentimes effective screen cleaners even without the addition of any liquid laptop screen cleaner. You can get a 12 pack of Zwipes Microfiber Cloths for about $10 at Amazon.

laptopscreen-8Rubbing alcohol is, without question, the number one recommended solution for cleaning LCD laptop screens. While you can use the stuff from the pharmacy, it is more effective to use the rubbing alcohol that you can get from office supply stores or computer stores that is 91% isopropyl alcohol. Keep in mind that there has been some (very little) speculation that the use of rubbing alcohol on laptop screens can cause yellowing.

laptopscreen-9Optimist Prime. This is an extremely highly recommended product for cleaning laptop screens, touch screens, LCD screens, plasma screens, optics, and many other sensitive surfaces. Not only is the stuff cheap (under ten bucks) and readily available online, it is also biodegradable.