The most important tips for cleaning your LCD screen

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Cleaning LCD ScreensNot so long ago, LCD screens were the stuff of legends whose availability was limited to the sets of Sci-Fi movies which we enjoyed through our cathode-ray TV devices.Monitors were bulky monochromes that spewed out green text.

Nowadays with the rise of the Chinese phone, LED TVs, laptops, Notebooks, phablets, portable DVD players and so many other gadgets,  LCD screens are everywhere.

While their tube counterparts are basically special windows that can be cleaned in much the same way we do our windows, LCD screens require special attention. Improper cleaning may result in a serious financial expenditure in the form of a new screen as I recently learnt the hard way.

LCDs are made of a material that is thin and susceptible to scratching. Using the same material that you use for cleaning windows and old school screens may result in the screen getting damaged or scratched.

Just because your method of cleaning your LCD screen hasn’t yet resulted in a catastrophe does not mean you should continue using it.


What not to do

  • Do not leave the device on during the cleaning process
  • Do not use paper towels or tissues as they leave bits on the screen
  • Do not use dish towels or towels as they are too abrasive and may damage the screen
  • Do not use Windolene or other window cleaning chemicals. This will lead to disaster
  • Never apply liquid directly onto the screen instead use a cloth.

 How to clean your screen

  • Power off the device be it a laptop, TV, tablet or phone. You should also unplug it if possible. Doing this reduces the risks of electrical shock, an electrical mishap because of liquids spilling into the device and makes it easier for you to see the dirt on the screen.
  • Using a non-abrasive soft cloth gently wipe the dust off the screen. Do not apply excessive pressure in an attempt to remove stubborn smudges such as those from finger prints. These can be removed later using a cleaning solution. You can buy micro-fiber cloth from opticians’ shops or perhaps computer shops. I couldn’t find it in these and found the fiber sold by opticians to be too small. The fiber is used to clean spectacles. I use my old Econet cotton T-shirt which is ideally soft. You can use a soft cotton T-shirt or handkerchief. Just make sure that it does not leave bits of lint behind as this makes cleaning difficult.
  • Mix a solution of 50% water and 50% white vinegar to use as a cleaning solution. Vinegar is available in most supermarkets. It is also preferable to use distilled water which you can obtain from pharmacies, battery shops or you could use bottled water as it is cleaner than tap water. Avoid the filthy poison that comes out of our taps by all means. Do not use Windowlene.
  • Dip half of the cloth into the solution and wring it to make sure it is moist but not overly wet.
  • Gently wipe off the smudges and grime on the screen working in a circular motion. Avoid pressing into the monitor. Do not scrape the stubborn smudges just allow the cleaner to penetrate and dissolve them then gently wipe them away.
  • Periodically dip the cloth into the cleaning solution.
  • Clean the frame last using the same solution. Cleaning the frame first will result in dirt being transferred to the screen.
  • Allow the screen to dry before powering on the device the device and using it.

Touchscreens can handle much more abuse than TV and laptop screens so the later should be treated with care. I routinely used Windolene on my own laptop screen for years until a couple of weeks the screen just turned white. I had to pay through the nose to replace it. So just because your cleaning method has not yet ruined your screen does not mean you should continue using it. You have been warned.

If you can share tips for cleaning your LCD screen, feel free to leave them in the comment section.


  1. kilotango says:

    okay, so please explain the following in more detail?

    -Do not use Windolene or other window cleaning chemicals. This will lead to disaster
    -Never apply liquid directly onto the screen instead use a cloth.

    i have personally done this many times for the last few years.. and all the devices are still fine.

    keep in mind, that most devices use gorilla glass which is actual glass and not plastic. however, the body of the phone is plastic.. and would strip the paint/finish off a device. but we are talking about cleaning the lcd right?

    1. Water Eye says:

      Harsh cleaning agents like windowlene can damage some screens by
      – stripping off special coatings
      – causing discolouration
      – making screens brittle (not all screens have glass surfaces)

      As for not applying liquids directly on the display, its to prevent fluids from running into gaps in the devices bevels and being sucked in between the layers that make up the lcd or eroding/shorting contacts and glues.

  2. ADM says:

    Dude – Windowlene? REALLY??? That stuff is too strong – wanga wazvifambisa sei nhai. Windowlene is only safe for actual windows – but its also great for car windscreen washer fluid: try it, half a bottle in the washer fluid reservoir, it amazing.
    The best for screens is that cleaning fluid which comes with those CD/TAPE Player cleaning kits, from my experience. So if you still have that lying around from your VCR days, use it. Its a mild alcohol specifically made for that kind of job. Also, micoro fibre cloth is the best if you can find one. It basically attracts fine dust and dirt and sometimes works well without any fluid. In SA they even have these micro fibre dish towels – nothink like the regular cotton dish towel, they are super soft, good size (like a face towel) and perfect for LCD TV and Laptops. DO NOT USE that yellow duster mom used to use for applying mukwa oil to the furniture. Its soft but releases too much lint. And avoid mutton cloth as well – very rough even though it seems soft when you buy it.
    How I’ve always done my cleaning is to directly sprinkle the fluid onto the screen, tiny drops spread evenly – that’s how you do it if you have a proper LCD screen cleaning kit – those actually come with a sprayer bottle. The fluid is safe – its meant to be mild enough not to damage your CD player lens or VCR head so hapana danger. And then just wipe with the cloth immediately after spraying.

  3. Tiximus says:

    Most phones these days come with a Glass panel so i dont think windowlene will do any damange . How ever for devices that were designed not to be touched then you should just use water. Other cleaning solutions may remove the antiglare coating.

  4. Anonymous says:

    The fluid one reader mentions that is used to clean CD’s is Isopropyl alcohol and is often available at pharmacies. Microfibre cloths are now readily available in supermarkets and hardware stores.

  5. Ini says:

    What about methylated spirit? Anyone ever tried it?

  6. Michael Belk says:

    Cleaning electronics can be very tricky because you hate to get it wet, I mostly use paper towels and windex, that may not be right, but it is cheap.

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