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Tuesday, January 30, 2007

How to Properly Clean your LCD Screen

When it comes to optimize the layout of your office space, nothing helps to free desk space more then a nice, flat LCD screen. That's probably one of the main reason everyone has one these days. Apart from that, they're also very cheap, easy on the eyes and consume less electricity than their CRT counterparts. With all that said, there’s really no reason not to have one sitting on your desk in 2007.

But these screens are not perfect. In fact, you have to be very careful when cleaning them up. Too much pressure using the wrong kind of cloth will most likely scratch your display and could even burn some of its pixels. So the question is, what is the proper way to clean an LCD screen?

First, you've probably seen some of those LCD cleaning solutions in computer stores right? The good news is that if you do not want to pay for a commercial product, mixing up your own solution is very easy. If you don't want to take any chances and prefer to use a professional product, please see our recommendation at the end of this article. So to get started, you only need 2 ingredients:


The recipe is easy: Mix the Isopropyl alcohol and distilled water in equal parts (50/50) inside an empty Windex-like bottle. Do not use tap water! Doing so will leave white smears on your screen after cleaning it up because of the dissolved minerals inside the water. When finished mixing, just close the bottle using the "spray" adaptor that comes attached to it.

Next, you will need to find a good, soft piece of microfiber cloth to clean your display. Avoid paper tissues at all cost! Using those on your screen would be just like scrubbing sandpaper on it and may scratch it permanently. You wouldn't want to do that right?

Now that we have everything we need, start by turning off your screen. Dampen your piece of soft cloth with your cleaning mixture and then wipe the display gently from top to bottom. Never spray liquid directly onto the LCD. When you're done, wait a few minutes to let your screen dry, and then turn it back on. Voila, you're done! Your screen should now be sparkling clean.

And if you absolutely want to use a product that was specifically made to clean LCD screens, Amazon.com has a really cheap and effective Monster-branded alcohol free LCD cleaner, which even includes a high-tech reusable MicroFiber cloth.


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72 Comments:

  • I, pretty much, always use whiteboard cleaner. Works great.

    By Blogger AlRo, at 11:58 AM  

  • For the other four-eyes out there, eyeglass cleaner works well too.

    By Blogger Mackenzie, at 12:49 PM  

  • Thanks! I'm always scared to touch it.

    By Blogger Mommy Dearest, at 10:42 PM  

  • Warm water is more than enough and lower risk (not corrosive). Although dead on about the distilled or filtered water.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 3:11 PM  

  • Warm water is more than enough and lower risk (not corrosive). Although dead on about the distilled or filtered water.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 3:11 PM  

  • Ya know, i've never had a problem with regular cold tap water... i just wet a big towel and do downward strokes like i'm painting it... and then dry with same brushing method... squeaky clean lol

    By Blogger Focused, at 5:49 PM  

  • To everyone and Anonymous: Before writing this article, I went through all major LCD manifacturer'S websites to inform myself about the proper way to clean LCD displays. 80% of them say that a mixture of 50% distilled water and 50% isopropyl alcohol is the proper cleaning solution to use to do this..

    By Blogger Kiltak, at 9:38 PM  

  • Most experts suggest you can use a cleaning solution of 50% distilled water and 50% isopropyl (rubbing alcohol). You should use a soft cloth such as an old cotton T-shirt or handkerchief. Don't use paper towels, tissues, or ordinary dish cloths, as harsh cloths may damage the soft surface of an LCD screen.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 9:40 PM  

  • Here's an excerpt from an article on Dell's website:

    "There are many cleaning solutions sold specifically as LCD cleaners. You can use these to clean LCD screens on Dell notebooks. Alternately, you may use a 50/50 isopropyl alcohol and water mixture. Microfiber cloths such as those used to clean eyeglasses are excellent for use with LCDs."

    By Anonymous Norman, at 10:08 PM  

  • Also, directly from Samsung:

    Cleansers with the following agents are OK to use:

    -Water
    Vinegar mixed with water at a concentration of no more than 10% vinegar. That's 6 1/2 tablespoons of vinegar per quart of water, 1 1/2 tablespoons per cup, or 100 ml per liter.

    -Isopropyl Alcohol
    -Petroleum Benzene

    By Blogger Kiltak, at 10:23 PM  

  • hmmm ... where do you buy isopropyl alcohol anyway?

    btw, Norman, it's cool that Dell, a corp, actually has the heart to let us in on a cheaper solution ya? ;)

    By Blogger CGZX, at 10:29 PM  

  • CGZX, it's rubbing alcohol. It should be in the store near the peroxide.

    By Blogger Mackenzie, at 3:20 AM  

  • Mackenzie ..

    DO NOT use rubbing alcohol, as it has lubricants in it that will smudge the screen and make it cloudy and just a gawd awful mess!

    For the same reasons why you DO NOT use 'rubbing alcohol' to clean cassette tape heads or CD/DVD lenses ... The lubricant in rubbing alcohol will do them more harm than good!

    You will be able to find 85% (or better) pure isopropyl alcohol -- without lubricants added -- at most pharmacies.

    ------------
    GadgetsGuy
    http://www.hotTVnews.com

    By Blogger GadgetsGuy, at 8:00 AM  

  • Where do you buy isopropyl alcohol? Seriously? A bottle of it is like 79¢ in any drugstore.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 11:04 AM  

  • I clean probably 20 LCD's a week with paper towels and amonia glass cleaner. No problems in the past 5 years. You guys are far too anal.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 9:56 PM  

  • rtoothbrush, water and soap is the best solution for LCD cleaning. Toothbrush is enough soft not to scrach screen as well as tooth and the soap clean everything out perfectely. You just have not to add too much watter because there can be problem when it gets inside the LCD pannel. So just tap some soap on toothbrush and make with roud movements through screen to be sure any dirt is removed and the second time make the same with clean watter and after wipe it with towel. works ok.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 3:08 PM  

  • A brick...a nice red brick has always worked well for me

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 9:01 AM  

  • Amonia glass cleaners will strip the monitor's anti-glare layer, as well as cloud the plastic-based screen surface over time.


    ------------
    GadgetsGuy
    http://www.hotTVnews.com

    By Blogger GadgetsGuy, at 5:43 AM  

  • can this work on LCD t.v. screens aswell?

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 4:17 PM  

  • Yep, it works on LCD television sets as well..

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 4:42 PM  

  • I just use my grill scraper after I clean off the gook from the baked on BBQ sauce...

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 10:26 AM  

  • Cheese grater FTW!!

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 10:12 AM  

  • WHy would you guys delete my post? Just because I mentioned a product by name or disagreed with the article?? Others openly suggested Windex. Why can't I recommend Endust for Electronics?? I thought you were supposed to share your opinion here. If you just want to hear your own opinions echoed back to you, why bother to allow comments at all? They delete my sincere suggestion and leave the "cheese grater" and "bbq" comments. Pretty LAME guys.

    Previous Post:
    *Alcohol (as the article suggests using) is BAD for any type of plastic. It dries it out and can cause cracking, cloudiness, and discoloration.

    I have been using Endust for Electronics to clean LCDs for years. It’s cheap, it works well, and it won’t jack up your display like Windex or alcohol.

    C-Ya*

    By Anonymous Dman, at 1:44 PM  

  • Dman: Sorry about that, it was an error.

    Most computer manufacturer recommend using the mixture I included in the article. Just visit, viewsonic, dell, samsung, and lots of others, you'll see. Some of the links have already been posted in the comments.

    When mixed with 50% of water, 70% isopropyl alcool becomes diluted at 35%, which will not cause damage to your screen..

    By Blogger Kiltak, at 3:15 PM  

  • Okee Dokee. :)

    Sorry to leave a big rant and sound like a jerk if it was just an accidental deletion. Heck, I accidentally double posted my reply too!

    Glad to hear it's all good and you guys still accept all viewpoints. I dig the site and I was initially quite bummed at the implications.

    The percentage of alcohol going down to 35% or so does sound like it would be diluted enough not to cause problems, however I'm stickin to my old tried and true Endust for Electronics.

    Thanks for your reply and for makin a great site!

    By Anonymous Dman, at 3:47 PM  

  • I use toillete paper and so far no problems...looks likes next year I will have to buy another one with a better dot pitch...like 0.12 or so.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 3:56 PM  

  • The 50% isopropyl alcohol cleaning solution seems to be endorsed by IBM also: http://www-307.ibm.com/pc/support/site.wss/document.do?lndocid=MIGR-4A2P54

    By Anonymous Brian, at 4:01 PM  

  • you probably shouldn't use alcohol on a glossy screen, same reason why not to ever use alcohol on an anti-reflective surface, it destroys the coating

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 4:14 PM  

  • Spit & polish - always works for me.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 6:39 PM  

  • Use a photo of Fancy Feast Sardines in Crab Jelly as a screen saver. Kitty will lick the screen clean.

    By Blogger 9-line, at 6:54 PM  

  • Why can't you spray it on the screen? Where is the harm in that? Seriously.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 8:37 PM  

  • Apparently, some people who did that had the unpleasant experience of having their LCD die on them because the liquid got inside the casing..

    By Blogger Kiltak, at 8:49 PM  

  • I just bought a new widescreen LCD and was a bit worried about how i was going to cleaning it.

    Funny that i just stumbled on this site from a feed.

    Great info, thanks.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 9:41 AM  

  • Great Post...

    Just put I link on my blog.
    (http://blogo.cl/roller/page/beta?entry=para_los_maniaticos_de_la)
    Cheers

    By Blogger Felipe, at 2:57 PM  

  • So.... the spit and kleenex was, in general, a bad idea all these years??
    *sigh*

    By Blogger Tracy, at 4:22 PM  

  • Thanks peeps I'm gonna print this page several times and stuff the rolled up sheets up several a****. I knew I was right,we used to use the same mix 30 years ago on electrical equipment but ohh my geeky mates knew better so cheers ta thanks wotever I can now walk tall again

    By Anonymous elric deathzone ruler of the nine quadrants, at 9:20 AM  

  • my 2 year old marked on my lcd screen with an ink pen. any ideas on how to get it off.

    By Anonymous jennifer, at 8:51 PM  

  • Jennifer: try the proposed mixture, and use a good microfiber cloth.. it should do the trick. Don't press too hard on the surface! :)

    By Blogger Kiltak, at 9:00 PM  

  • The glass cleaners sold at auto supply stores which are safe for tinted windows also work well. And they don't harm your fuzzy dice, either.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 7:50 PM  

  • Haha, I generally use my fingers to wipe dirt and stuff off. About once a week I use a microfiber cleaning cloth made for eyeglasses, but I haven't tried using any kind of solution.

    By Blogger Dallas, at 2:52 AM  

  • Has anyone here tried cleaning products such as pixelclean, iklear or the Optimax cleaning solution? I think Belkin also makes a pretty cheap one. If I use those commercial products, will the result on my screen be any better?

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 10:52 PM  

  • I can thoroughly recommend the method described here. I tried it myself today on my Sony Bravia and laptop.

    I was first refused to be sold the IPA from the chemist as they said they can't sell it but got a litre from Maplin instead. I didn't have distilled water so I used Brita filtered water from my fridge :) I also purchased a Meguiars Ultimate Wipe to make sure the micro fibre would not scratch the screens.

    They are now both better than they came brand new!!!

    By Anonymous Root Ginger, at 1:22 PM  

  • My wife just splash on LCD TV screeen
    PRONTO spray . Is this will make any damage ? How to wipe this from the screen? PLEASE HELP !?

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 10:47 AM  

  • I use http://www.pixelclean.com . It's ammonia and alcohol free, good price and works very well.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 6:18 PM  

  • I used toilet paper as suggested earlier but now I need something to remove the s**t stains off the screen....

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 2:47 PM  

  • Will a soft piece of cotton cloth do?

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 11:42 PM  

  • i used the tooth brush method and now i have all these swishy circular smudges everywhere


    how do i fix this?

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 7:06 AM  

  • The article never said to use a thoothbrush, where did you get that idea? It said that you must use a Microfiber cloth...

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 9:08 AM  

  • A good belt sander usually get rid of the muck!

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 5:04 AM  

  • I recently sneezed all over my screen. Damn allergies! This will come in handy I hope. Thanks for the info, I'm heading out to the store now :D

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 12:44 PM  

  • thanx for da laughs gr8 answers don't trust most but loved all the wild answers will be back to check on ya'll later gizmo

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 2:39 PM  

  • hey u know what i can't believe theres actually a guide on how to clean this monitor. why do people have to make it this hard. Just rub some spit on your monitor and clean it with a tshirt

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 6:30 AM  

  • Because some people want to make sure they're not going to **** it up before they jump right in. Not all of us are willing to take the same risks with our multi-hundred-dollar displays as you are.

    Thanks for the article, too. Good stuff.

    By Anonymous Jason, at 6:31 AM  

  • anybody have any suggestions to get wax off your screen ?

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 4:40 PM  

  • To get wax out of your LCD screen try to treat the wax stain with oil. Any oil will do, butter or sunflower oil, olive oil. Turn off you LCD screen. Put a bit oil on your finger or on a piece of cotton material. And rub with circular motion on that stain but don't push to hard on screen or you will damage the pixels of your LCD screen. Don't let the treated spot become dry always have enough oil between the wax and your finer or piece of cotton material, that you working with. It will take a while but you Should be able to get it off.

    The oil you can get off easy with mixture given in the beginning of this page or mine mixture given beneath

    Stains with pen on mine LCD TFT Screen I get op with a mixture 1:1 of 99% Spiritus (alcohol)and distillated water that is warmedup a bit (not hot just little warm) a warm cleaning mixture helps solving the stains more easily. First warmup the water than put Spiritus in the water mix it up and there you go!

    I use Spiritus because it is a natural product and it seems to be less aggressive and doesn't damage the antireflection coating on the LCD screen
    The Spititus I use is drinkable but in many countries it is not possible to buy it. Why? you may ask. Because using Spiritus you can make your own vodka or other drinks for little money. I guess there is limit to every Democracy.
    Another word for Spirtitus is Ethanol also known as ethyl alcohol, drinking alcohol or grain Alcohol, don't confuse it with Methanol that one is usually made out of wood and it isn't drinkable.

    Sometimes you can buy Spiritus or Ethanol in Hardware-stores it is than colored blue, so you can't drink it but still it works fine for cleaning. And if you cant buy that try to find Methanol and make a mix out of that

    Good luck with cleaning that wax out of you LCD, I wonder how did that happen hehe Cheers!!!

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 7:26 AM  

  • Heres one for all you mom's out there, Use a unscented baby wipe preferably one of the softer brands like huggies, works great for me....:)

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 4:16 PM  

  • the wax removal method worked a treat!! Thank you so much for the post!

    :D

    I got wax on my beloved Acer 22inch Widescreen and am happy to report that it's back in it's pristine condition once again.

    Btw, blowing out a large(ish) candle in the not too near vicinity of the screen is detrimental to it's complexion and enjoyment ...

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 7:49 AM  

  • I've been using "Glass Plus: Glass & Surface Cleaner" spray, and I looked on the ingredient list to find:
    "Biodegradable cleaning agents (surfactants), fragrance, and water"
    A little more searching on 'Biodegradable cleaning agents', and it's essentially isopropyl alcohol. So, I'm not sure how expensive it is, but it's worked fine for 5 years on my same 15' LCD (hey, I'm cheap)...that, and a nice soft face tissue...this LCD has survived more bumps, pokes, prods, and *pushes* then I can remember, so yeah...only about $2.75 for the 32oz bottle...but it's prolly' MUCH cheaper to buy isopropyl and distilled water, mix, and have a home brew.

    By Blogger ssjskipp, at 12:22 PM  

  • I used both Klear Screen LCD cleaner for a few years on my Dell anit-glare screen laptop LCD but sometimes I sprayed it directly onto the screen. I also used Johnson's baby wipes a couple of times before I had the Klear Screen cleaner. The result was that my LCD started to ooze some liquid then the screen went dead. I wonder whether the Klear Screen or the baby wipes caused it. Now I'm afraid to use the Klear screen cleaner on my new HP 17" LCD. Of course I would never use a baby wipe again. Any comments on all this?

    By Anonymous Peter, at 11:12 AM  

  • thanks, finally my lcd is clean

    By Blogger Spidro, at 2:14 PM  

  • As others have said, you should never spray anything directly on the screen. Liquid and electronics don't get along well and it's possible for the sprayed solution to get inside the monitor. That's the most likely reason for it dying on you Peter. It may have even taken some time for the solution to reach the components inside, or caused gradual damage. Also, to the ones using baby wipes, there may be hidden ingredients such as the "fragrance" listed that may cause undesired results. You can't know exactly what they put in the solution. If you're even afraid of the 50/50 alcohol solution described in the article, distilled water by itself will work safely on any screen with a microfiber cloth which you can even find in dollar stores in the makeup, personal, or eyeglass section really cheap.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 4:27 PM  

  • This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 6:49 PM  

  • Hi! Thanks so much for this tip. It saved me money =) I was thinking of buying a cleaner for this but this is way easier and definitely cheaper =)

    By Anonymous Mics, at 11:33 AM  

  • here's what i do:
    i take a hankie, and i put eyeglass cleaner on it, then you just wipe it down.
    works great fot those skeet stains lol

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 7:06 PM  

  • I read your remarks about the screen, how about the shinny black area around the screen? I have a samsung LCD and I can't get the marks off the black surrounding

    By Blogger bigtee65, at 11:46 PM  

  • Thanx for the info.
    My question is, how do you clean microfiber cloth?

    I don't mean the disposable ones. I have a nice fancy one, given to me as a gift. I would like to know the best correct way to clean it.

    Is it okay to wash it with the other laundry, or not?

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 8:15 AM  

  • macrofiber in the house ya'll...

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 1:41 PM  

  • goldgirl says...

    Thanks for the best researched article I found on the web. You pretty much nailed it. And No, I almost never clean my screen, but when my two year old left about 8ft of pen ink scribbled across a new 19 inch LCD, an isopropyl alcohol - water mix worked beautifully.
    For those who wonder, pen ink is not soluble in soap or water. You need alcohol (like metho, isopropyl alcohol, 70% overproof). White board pens have a solvent related to this, but they have a bucket of other stuff too.
    I didn't happen to have pure iso to use, so I used Mediswabs (out of our first aid kit). 70% isopropyl.
    It took five swabs to do one and half 19 inch screens. (Yes she drew across the midline of two screens.)
    Cost $1. NB: Immediately after each swab I wiped with a lens cleaning cloth soaking in filtered water; Then dried with a dry lens cleaning cloth. It worked brilliantly, but thinking about it, I probably shouldn't have used mediswabs to rub, only because they might have been rough and scratched the screen. Can't see any sign that they did, but I didn't think of that til I was half way through.)
    My screen looks fantastic, and as a bonus, it was sterilized too. No ink and no germs.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 4:39 AM  

  • Huh, good suggestions.

    For cleaning my laptop screen, I've always unplugged it, taken out the battery and found the softest white undershirt I own (Hanes?) and got all the dust off it that way.

    Instead of using a solution, I used my breath to slightly wet the screen (same as I do to clean CDs), then simply wipe off with soft shirt.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 10:00 PM  

  • From reading the article above, including all of the comments, I would say that using alcohol, which is an abrasive substance, should be used only in severe cases. Unfortunately I feel that the information is provided by the manufactures because it does work very well on a use by use basis but will cause cracking and clouding of the screen overtime. Although they have generously provided a cheaper way to clean your screen, they also ensure that in the long run you need to purchase a new one. Use the least abrasive substances like distilled water for frequent cleaning and an alcohol mixture only if it is a severe case like pen or marker on the screen.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 10:15 AM  

  • How do you great rid of the streaks? I'm using a microfibre cloth and an alcohol and ammonia free lcd cleaning solution.

    By Blogger Mike Kujawski, at 3:39 PM  

  • It is OK to launder your microfibre cloths. Just remember never use fabric softener or dryer sheets, the cloths will lose some of their best qualties.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 5:10 PM  

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