Not 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.