I have a laptop that is about 2 years old, and the screen is getting very dirty, full of smudges from my fingers (yes, I know, I shouldn't touch the screen). The screen is not glass, it's soft and rubbery.

How would you go about cleaning the screen without ruining the laptop or the screen? Would I need to disassemble the laptop? And should I use some chemicals?


Use a microfiber cloth with distilled water if you're worried about ruining the screen, absolute basics.

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To cut any fingerprint grease though, vinegar and water is also good with a microfiber cloth.

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    Good, but just to be safe, please turn the laptop off before using water to clean it. – Zoredache Nov 1 '09 at 10:20
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    True, but you rarely need more the a few drops of water. – emgee Nov 1 '09 at 17:11

What I always use is a soft cotton t-shirt that is slightly damp.


Personally I use rubbing alcohol and a paper towel. Some places say alcohol will yellow your screen, but I've been using it for my current laptop now for over 5 years... and no yellowing has occurred.

It MAY yellow your screen if you use it EVERY day for 10 years or something, but used occasionally, it is no problem.

Alcohol has the added benefits of being VERY quick-drying and not harming electronic circuits if a little gets on them.

  • I use rubbing alcohol and a microfiber cloth. Sometimes with my kids machines I have to use vinegar to get rid of some of the gunk stuck on the screen but I always use microfiber cloths because they leave no lint. – Zooks64 Nov 1 '09 at 18:25
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    Yah, paper towels will leave a little lint, but that's fine by me. I got rid of the smudges and smears, and lint can just be blown off. :) – eidylon Nov 2 '09 at 4:29

Helpful tips on how to clean a laptop screen here

  • That site recommends isopropyl alcohol, which in my experience is okay at getting rid of dust but can make streaks and smudges worse. – Pops Oct 5 '13 at 20:17

I turn it off, then use a small bit of water along with a cloth that you get with glasses that is for cleaning lenses - always does the job!


There is a lot of debate on this.

I used Windex for years on my CRTs, didn't seem like it did any damage to them, but going with the flow of opinions from other people; don't do that.

I went out to Radio Shack and purchased a screen cleaning kit for $20. They truly have turned it into an art form. If it is more than just finger prints, I think you would something a little "stronger" than just water (not Windex).


If you're wearing glasses, anything that cleans them will also clean your screen.

My own favorites are alcohol-saturated glass-cleaning wipes.
After I clean my glasses, I finish by cleaning the screen (if necessary).


  • These will take care of dust, but I find that they make streaks/smudges worse. – Pops Oct 5 '13 at 20:05
  • @Pops: Not if the alcohol is reasonably pure. A soft cloth can be used for finishing, but I haven't needed one for years, as the alcohol evaporates cleanly. – harrymc Oct 5 '13 at 22:17

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