How to clean a computer screen without destroying it

How to clean a computer screen without destroying it

Do us a favor – open this photo a solid black square , and focus on your screen. We’ll wait.

Yes, we know that your screen is gross.

Before you give in to your impulses and start wiping your screen with whatever you have, let us stop. Your display is much more delicate than you realize. If you want it to last a long period of time in optimal conditions, it will need to be treated with love and care.

The good news is that cleaning your computer screen is easier than you might think. A soft cloth, some water and the most delicate touches are all you need to clean your computer screen.

Know what your screen

As you might expect, not all screens can be treated the same way. Some screens are more delicate than others. It is best to search for the make of your device and find out if it has an LED, LCD, or some other type ,display, and then search for the manufacturer’s instructions for how to care for it.

If you don’t want to make that mistake, there is an easy way to avoid irreparable damage to your device. Joe Silverman, owner New York Computer Help ,, a tech repair shop in New York City, said that no matter how much you spend on your tablet or computer, it likely has an LED or LCD screen. If it was purchased within the last three year, neither type of screen benefits from window cleaners or high-concentrated alcohol.

” You don’t want anything to dilute the reflective coating on your screen,” Silverman states.

This is the topmost layer of your screen and is sensitive to acidic compounds such as ammonia or propyleneglyl. These chemicals are often found in cleaning agents like window cleaners and detergents. These liquids can cause scratches and smudges on your screen that you won’t be capable of removing.

[Related: The complete guide to spring cleaning your computer]

And if this doesn’t sound awful enough, consider what happens when the protective layer becomes completely destroyed.

“Under there it’s probably the most intelligent part the laptop,” Silverman explains. “What happens is that liquid will pass that first line defense, and when that happens it’s going really to affect the sensors.”

Things get even more complicated when you have to deal with touchscreens. Silverman says that the Microsoft Surface’s display is the primary input. This is in contrast to the trackpad or mouse on a regular laptop. It’s therefore extremely sensitive. The top layer of the screen can be destroyed by a strong liquid cleaner such as a degreaser, or a bleach-based disinfectant. Combine this with high pressure and your touchscreen computer will be gone forever.

Another downside to modern computers is their weight and size. If you decided to splurge on a new laptop, for example, you probably found one that has top-notch components, but also a slick, lightweight design. This format is only possible when everything in your laptop’s compartments is smaller and lighter. A thinner screen is a weaker barrier between your computer and the outside elements.

Ok, but how do I actually clean a computer screen?

Caring for your screen is simple–it only takes a little bit of water and a dust-free cloth, such as a microfiber wipe or the piece of fabric that came with your glasses.

First, turn off your computer. Then disconnect the charger. This may sound a little paranoid, but it has two benefits: you avoid any potential for an electrical surge and your screen will remain dark, making it easier to see dirt and grime.

Spray a few drops of water onto your cloth. Microfiber is the best choice. Even though micro-abrasions can always be left on your screen, even if the material is soft, a dry wipe could leave them. The moisture can also collect dust and particles, as well as lift grease off your screen.

Use circular motions to clean your screen. Start at the center and move outward. This will ensure that you don’t leave streaks. If water drops or water traces are visible on the glass, you have used too much water. Use an absorbent cloth or tissue to gently wipe off any remaining H2O and then start over.

If you’re dealing with next-level gunk, you can use isopropyl alcohol at 70 percent or lower, Silverman says. He explains that this percentage is crucial. “We’d only use 90 percent or higher on dummy parts that don’t have sensors, like top cases and keyboards.” In these extreme cases, spray the alcohol on the cloth, never directly on the screen, and wipe it gently.

Screen care is like skincare

Just like solar damage, screen damage is cumulative. Screen damage is cumulative. The more pressure you apply, both to the product and to the delicate sensors beneath it, the more damaging it becomes.

Maybe it’s possible to use a high level of alcohol or a window cleaner on your computer screen for a few times. You’ll eventually see the negative effects if you keep at this.

” You’ll see lines, horizontal and vertical discoloration. Sometimes it looks pretty and rainbow-like,” Silverman states. It can blink, sometimes it will appear as liquid droplets at the back of your screen. There are many ways that damage can appear

The bad news is that you can’t fix it. You can only fix the damage by replacing the screen.

The best way to prevent your screen from getting scratched while cleaning it is to keep it clean. To prevent finger grease from getting on the screen, cover your laptop’s keyboard with a microfiber cloth. If you have a touchscreen, wash your hands often before you use it, but make sure you let your hands dry completely before you start tapping–the soapy water or liquid hand cleanser from your fingers can easily end up on the screen and corrode it.

Wet, newly washed hands can also be detrimental to regular computers. Silverman says he often sees such victims in his shop–computers completely dead after hand sanitizer rubbed off the owner’s hands, seeped through the keyboard, and ruined the inner guts of the machine.

How to care for a phone screen

Your phone was designed to be carried, dropped, tapped, swiped, smashed against your face for long periods of time, and stowed in the deepest corners of your bag. Its screen is more durable than your computer’s.

[Related: Best monitors for home offices]

Silverman explains that most iPhones and Samsung phones, for example, have screens made out of one thick piece of glass. These screens are much easier to damage than computer screens. Still, if you’re using alcohol, he recommends keeping the concentration at 70 percent or lower, using a soft cloth, and applying only low pressure to get rid of any accumulated gunk there.

Be careful when charging ports are open, as water (also found in rubbing alcohol), can cause damage to your smartphone’s electronics. Although newer models are more resistant to liquids than older models, there is a limit to what they can withstand. You probably don’t want the answer.

Replacing your smartphone’s screen can be costly. These tips are important and we hope you don’t have to go through this article again.

This story has been updated. It was originally posted on October 13, 2021.

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