How to clean a laptop screen – do it right, do it right


Knowing how to clean a laptop screen safely is an extremely important skill given their delicate nature and tendency to be dust magnets. Don’t think your laptop screen needs cleaning? Load this image completely black in a new tab, then see if you still think it’s true.

You may be nervous about cleaning your laptop screen given the delicate nature of the electronics, but as long as you follow the tips below and apply a light touch, you should be fine. But first, a few things to avoid at all costs:

How to clean a laptop screen: what not to do

  • Do not use paper towels or tissue paper

Paper towels or tissue paper may seem soft enough for screens, but they’re actually surprisingly abrasive. As shown below, a microfiber cloth is best.

  • Do not use glass cleaner or highly concentrated alcohol

Instinctively, it might be a good idea to use glass cleaner on your laptop screen, but it’s a very bad idea. Cleaning agents often found in glass cleaners and degreasers can corrode the coating of your screen, potentially making matters worse and stripping your screen’s built-in protectors. In short, you can get away with it once or twice, but it’s a problem and best avoided.

Highly concentrated rubbing alcohols are also discouraged for the same reason. At his locationApple says a wipe of 70% isopropyl or 75% ethyl alcohol is safe to use, but if you’re using your own rubbing alcohol, we’ll play it safe and mix it 50/50 with water distilled (not from the tap, as this may contain abrasive minerals).

  • Do not spray any type of cleaner directly on the screen

You may be able to avoid any kind of liquid for light smudges, but if you need water or diluted alcohol, avoid spraying it directly on the screen, as that’s a recipe for liquid damage. somehow leaks through a gap or drips onto the keyboard.

Instead, spray the cleaning solution directly into the microfiber cloth. Remember, a little is enough, and while it’s easy to add more if you need to, it’s much harder to wring out a waterlogged cloth.

With all of this in mind, what should you make? Here’s how to clean a laptop screen without causing damage.

How to Clean a Laptop Screen: What You’ll Need

Blue home office with bay window

(Image credit: Dulux)

So, we’ve covered what you shouldn’t use. What should you have in your laptop screen cleaning arsenal?

The main tool you will need is a microfiber cloth. Spectacle wearers are familiar with them: they are extremely soft pieces of fabric designed to remove dust and debris without scratching delicate surfaces. This $12.99 12-pack microfiber cloths from Amazon has over 50,000 reviews and 95% of them are four stars or more.

If you’re trying to get rid of something a little more delicate, you can try a sponge. But make sure it’s a new one, because you don’t want to make things worse.

Then there are the cleaning products, if necessary. As mentioned above, tap water won’t cut it: the minerals involved can cause scratches and, frankly, it’s not worth the risk. Instead, get distilled or filtered water.

If you need something tougher, isopropyl alcohol is your friend. But the percentage is important: look for a solution like this from Amazonwhich is 70% or less, and if you want to be super safe, you can also dilute it with the aforementioned distilled water.

How to clean a laptop screen: remove dust

For dust, you should need nothing more than your trusty microfiber cloth.

  • Turn off your laptop to clearly see where the dust is.
  • Gently press the microfiber cloth onto the screen, wiping in one direction to collect any dust.

How to clean a laptop screen: Cleaning the dirt

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(Image credit: Ben Sage)

If the microfiber cloth isn’t enough, try this.

  • Turn off your laptop and unplug it from the mains. If the battery is removable you may want to remove it for added security as we will be working with water.
  • Take a brand new sponge and wet it with your distilled or filtered water. Wring it out so it’s damp rather than soaked.
  • Gently apply the sponge to the problem area(s), using circular motions. If you drip, clean it immediately.
  • Once clean, allow your screen to air dry before closing the laptop lid or turning it back on.

How to clean a laptop screen: more intensive cleaning

If distilled water wasn’t enough to clean your laptop screen, it’s time for the big guns: isopropyl alcohol. Remember, only use 70% or less, and you may want to dilute it with distilled water to be on the safe side.

  • Turn off your laptop and unplug it from the mains. Again, if possible, remove the battery, although modern laptops often remove this option.
  • Apply your cleaning solution to a microfiber cloth.
  • Rub the cloth in small circles over the dirty area. Don’t press too hard.
  • Once the dirt is gone, leave the laptop open to air dry before closing the lid or turning it back on.
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