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I have loads of grubby finger marks on my monitor (mine and smaller people's). I'm not sure how to clean them off without damaging the monitor.

What's the best way to safely clean dust, smudges and fingerprints off an LCD?

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migrated from Jul 19 '09 at 0:15

This question came from our site for system and network administrators.

Monster Screencleaner – Omar Shahine May 3 '09 at 15:19
+1 for the "smaller people's" :) – Jarvis Jun 21 '09 at 18:07
To not have them on there in the first place... :-) – JFV Jul 18 '09 at 22:35
I never could understand people's desire to touch their traditional monitors. They're not input devices. – Wayne Koorts Apr 10 '10 at 22:38
Shameless product promotion ;-) – Aki Feb 18 '12 at 15:37

18 Answers 18

up vote 34 down vote accepted

I recommend a good microfiber with just a little bit of water.

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I find that anything you can use to clean eyeglasses can be used to clean a monitor since they are similar with special coating and such. I use eyeglass cleaner with a microfiber cloth when water can't cut it. – Joseph May 3 '09 at 15:57
I thought microfiber could do damage to the soft LCD surface? Hm. – pauska Jun 28 '09 at 16:36
Sharp fingernails don't do damage, how will microfiber do any? – LiraNuna Jun 28 '09 at 20:50
I've heard that the small particles in regular tap water can scratch and damage the screen and it's recommended to use distilled water instead. – randomguy Dec 17 '10 at 9:45

You can purchase special wipes for monitors. The best i have found are the ones that come in two parts. The first part is like a baby wipe which contains a mild solvent to clean the screen. The second part is a dry towel to remove excess cleaner.

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Use a non abrasive cleaning solution, diluting isopropyl alcohol (not rubbing alcohol, as it may contain oil) into a solution of 50% alcohol and 50% with distilled water water (or purified/bottled water). You could also buy a cleaning solution that does not contain bleach, ammonia, or vinegar.

Before you start, power-off and unplug your monitor. Spray the cleaning solution on a soft cloth (for example an old T-shirt), lint-free microfiber cloth, or some other very soft cloth. A large cloth is best, since it will help reducing the risk of leaving streaks across the display from finger pressure.

Starting from the top, wipe the screen in one direction until you have cleaned the entire screen. Apply light, but distributed pressure. Repeat if necessary. Let it air dry.

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+1 for "does not contain bleach, ammonia (Windex), or vinegar." I've heard that over time these can cause the surface to become yellow tinted. – Bratch Jul 29 '09 at 0:20
Could you explain why vinegar is bad? It's highly recommended over at this question. Also, I've found that isopropyl is okay at getting dust off, but leaves smudges and streaks. – Pops Oct 5 '13 at 20:27

A "micro fiber" cloth (most LCDs come with one these days) and distilled water.

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same cloth they give you for cleaning your sunglasses – freiheit Jul 18 '09 at 22:09
I live in an extremely dusty climate, so I lightly use canned air to blow off any dust; otherwise, I would scratch the heck out of my screen using the micro fiber cloth (from experience I know), but I do agree in using one. – Jefe Jul 19 '09 at 3:28

Apple has a page that describes how to clean your Macbook display. It says

Dampen a clean, soft, lint-free cloth or paper with water only and wipe the screen. Do not spray liquid directly on the screen.

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I use the cleaning wipes for my glasses. They are much cheaper and you can get them in any supermarket.

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You can buy anti-static screen-wipes designed for the purpose.

As an example, we can get these in the UK: link

I would expect any decent office supply company to sell them

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A damp cloth.

Most anything like that will do, but:

Be a bit careful with paper towels. Some may contain fragments of wooden fibers, which may be too hard for the surface if you wipe vigorously. Works fine if you only need to gently wipe off the dust.

Don't use too much water (or any liquid) so that it runs down the screen. It can seep through at the edge of the screen and cause rust or a short circuit. If you spray something directly on the screen you will obviously risk running, so spray it on the cloth instead.

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Buy some monitor cleaning wipes from any computer shop.

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Klear Screen

It's expensive, but works very well. Worth every penny!

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Mostly I use some spit and a soft paper napkin.

It's obviously not the best way but lcd's are not that fragile. Once in a long while I'll use a damp napkin with a tiny-tiny amount of detergent and then afterwhipe with clean water.

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Lots of good advice if it's smudged, but if it's just dusty, Swiffer dusters work great.

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I have been using Windex for ever, cleans great and doesn't streak. :) Just make sure you use a soft cloth with it.

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What's wrong with Windex? It's never caused me an issue, am I missing something? – Brettski May 4 '09 at 4:02

Those little yellow cloths you get with eyeglasses for cleaning + water always worked for me. Paper handkerchiefs work also.

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Ghetto solution:

When I got my first laptop about 8 years ago, we were advised that the easiset thing to clean it with is damp toilet paper, because it's a lot softer than tissues, and more common and cheaper than micro-fibre wipes or glass-cleaning cloths.

I've been doing this for years with no adverse results, however sometimes you get tiny flecks of paper left on the screen (wait for it to dry and just blow them off).

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Micro-fiber cloth slightly dampened. I generally wash the micro-fiber clothes I have used to wax my car, and even afterwards some of the wax is stuck within the cloth, with a bit of moisture it helps protect the LCD and gives it a protective layer, from then on removing fingerprints or other such items from the screen has become easier.

I also make sure to make everyone that is about to point at my screen that putting their finger on it is sure to be a fast way for them to lose it :P

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With special wipes you can buy for cleaning LCD screens.

Also look-out for a little spray whose holder doubles as a soft screen squeegie.

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Soap/mild-detergent + water, and tissue paper.

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