Older CRT screens, the kind used in large "tube" monitors and TVs, are glass and can be cleaned in pretty much the same way as you would any other glass in your home or office.
Flat screen monitor and television displays, however, are much more sensitive and are easily scratched and damaged. The same applies to your laptop or tablet screen, and often too to the screen on your smartphone or e-book reader.
Note: Plasma TVs are glass, as are many touch screens, but often also have very sensitive anti-glare coatings applied. I recommend taking the same special care with those types of displays.
Follow the easy steps below to safely clean your flat screen monitor, TV, laptop screen, or other device in just a few minutes.
Time Required: Cleaning a flat screen display, like an LCD TV or monitor, usually takes less than 5 minutes
How To Clean A Flat Screen TV or Computer Monitor
- Turn off the device. If the screen is dark, it will be easier to see the areas that are dirty or oily.
- Use a dry, soft cloth and very gently wipe the screen. A great choice would be the microfiber type of cloth used to clean eyeglass lenses. A dry eraser works good too.
See Tip #1 below for kinds of cloths to avoid.
- If the dry cloth did not completely remove the dirt or oil, do not press harder in an attempt to scrub it off.
Pushing directly on the screen can often cause pixels to burn out, especially on laptop displays, desktop monitors, and LCD/LED TV screens. This isn't so much an issue on screens designed to be touched, like phones and tablets, but be careful nonetheless.
- If necessary, dampen the cloth with distilled water or with an equal ratio of distilled water to white vinegar.
Many companies also sell small spray bottles of special cleaner for flat screens. Ultra makes a screen cleaning solution called Hydra LCD that people seem to like but honestly, the 50/50 white vinegar and water mix is probably just as effective.
See Tip #2 below for types of products to avoid.
- The plastic edge that surrounds the screen can be cleaned with any multipurpose cleaner but take care to avoid contact with the screen itself.
Tips & More Information
- Avoid using paper towels, toilet paper, tissue paper, or something like your shirt to wipe the screen. These non-ultrasoft materials can scratch the display.
- Avoid cleaning products that contain ammonia (like Windex®), ethyl alcohol (Everclear® or other strong drinking alcohol), toluene (paint solvents), as well as acetone or ethyl acetate (one or the other is often used in nail polish remover).
These chemicals can react with the materials that the flat screen is made of or coated with, which could permanently discolor the screen or cause other kinds of damage.
- Never spray liquid directly on to any screen. It could run inside the device and cause damage.