How to Clean a Touch Screen

A very dirty tablet with a cloth next to it.

As it happens on Star Trek, so does it happen in life. First came doors that automatically open as you approach them. That was followed by cell phones. The touch screen device was the next logical application. I predict that we shall soon see touchless, or voice-activated, interfacing in our future, but that’s getting ahead of ourselves. I used to work at a store whose computer monitors were all touch screens, and it was fantastic. The only downside was that the extended, everyday use made them filthy and unreliable. It was a daily task to clean the touch screens, but at that time, they were a new technology. As such, I had to do a thorough search on how to clean them without causing damage…and then follow those steps. This how-to is the results of that process.

Steps in Cleaning a Touch Screen

  1. black touchscreen deviceWhy does my touch screen need to be cleaned? A touch screen works on the basic principle of a clear glass, touch sensor placed over a digital display. When the device is on, the touch sensor has a mild electrical current traveling through it. The human body is a giant electrical conductor, so when you press your finger against the display, the electrical current changes and triggers the touch sensor. It’s a fantastic piece of technology, even with its main flaw. The human skin secretes oils, and over time, this can build up on the display, making the sensor less reactive to touch. This is why your touch screen should be kept clean at all times.
  2. spray bottle of seventh generationWhat you need to clean a touch screen. I recommend starting with a brand new spray bottle. Additionally, you will want to get a glass cleaner, but stay away from those that contain ammonia or other harsh chemicals. I recommend Seventh Generation Glass and Surface Cleaner (which you can buy at Amazon), though there are plenty of natural glass cleaners available. You’ll also want a soft, clean, microfiber cloth. Side note: If you have a cloth already, make sure you wash it without a fabric softener, as that can transfer a film to the touch screen, and contradict what you are trying to accomplish.
  3. reusable spray bottleCreate a touch screen cleaning solution. The point is to use a non-abrasive, non-corrosive glass cleaner, but not at its full strength. Touch screens are delicate instruments, and a pure cleanser can damage it. So, take your spray bottle and pour in equal parts glass cleaner and water. Screw the cap onto your spray bottle, and shake gently to mix.
  4. spraying cleaning clothWipe off the touch screen. Before applying your cleaning solution, wipe off the touch screen with a dry microfiber cloth. Be consistent with a side-to-side or top-to-bottom motion, and cover the whole screen. This will help prevent smearing and streaking.
  5. wet dog shakingClean your touch screen. Never spray cleaning solution directly onto the screen. Spray a few generous squirts of cleaning solution onto the microfiber cloth, and then apply the cloth to the screen. Once again, be consistent with your cleaning motion. Go over the screen at least twice before reapplying your cleaning solution to the cloth. Depending on how dirty it was to begin with, it may take up to five passes to clean the touch screen.
  6. touchscreen-6Dry off the touch screen. Using a dry portion of the microfiber cloth, gently wipe the touch screen off to remove any lingering cleaning solution. Give the screen a minute or two to air dry, and then wipe it off with the dry portion of the cloth once more.

The Cost of Infinite Technology

Technology is advancing faster than ever, and the irony is that the things we created 10 years ago are being used to develop their replacements. Billions of dollars are sunk into researching new and different technologies each year. Those same billions could be spent on cleaning the environment, feeding the hungry, or housing the homeless. Don’t feel guilty about that, but be cognizant of what the development of that technology has cost the world at large. Sadly, I can guarantee that someone will develop a functioning lightsaber long before someone finds a cure for cancer. Though if someone does develop a working lightsaber, I will need to know ASAP so I can pre-order my very own.

Natural Touch Screen Cleaning Suggestions

bottle of vinegarHomemade touch screen cleaner. Pour 12 ounces of water into a sufficiently large spray bottle. Add 1/2 cup of white vinegar, 1/4 cup of rubbing alcohol, and two drops of lemon juice. Mix well. You now have a homemade, all-natural glass cleaner that’s prefect for cleaning a touch screen.

Bottle of IpaxIPAX Krystal Clear Eco-Friendly Window & Glass Cleaner Concentrate.Another great environmentally friendly product. It’s free of ammonia and alcohol, and perfect for cleaning a dirty touch screen. Follow the instructions on the bottle for dilution purposes, then dilute per the instructions in this article.