Dirt, fingerprints, and unsightly scratches can make a monitor unpleasant to use. It's important to use a gentle cleaning method, as monitors are made with a type of plastic than can be easily scratched by rough cleaning or harsh chemicals. This article will show you how to clean your computer monitor without causing any damage, and fix scratches, if necessary.
Part 1 of 2: Cleaning Your Monitor Safely
Turn off the monitor. It's easier to see the dust and dirt when the monitor is off, and safer for you and your computer.
- If you try to clean the monitor while the pixels are firing you may end up damaging the screen.
- While the risk is small, there is the possibility of an electric shock if you clean the monitor while it’s on.
Clean the frame. Spray windex or another gentle cleaning solution onto a clean cloth and use it to wipe the casing around the screen.
- The casing is made with durable plastic, so it's fine to scrub a little if you need to remove bits of grime.
- Don't spray the cleaner directly onto the casing, since you might accidentally get some on the screen, and some of it might drip into crevices and get inside.
- Clean the monitor's base, the buttons, and the back of the monitor. Wrap a corner of the cloth around your finger or a toothpick to clean out the hard-to-reach crevices.
- If your monitor has any cords attaching it to the CPU or power, unplug these and give them a good cleaning too.
Wipe the monitor with a clean, soft piece of fabric. Microfiber cloth is ideal. This type of anti-static cloth doesn't leave a lint residue on the screen, and it's soft enough that it won't scratch the surface. Wipe off any visible dust, dirt and grime with the cloth.
- Don't use towels, paper products or other scratchy cloth to wipe the screen. These will leave lint and may cause scratches.
- Disposable dusting cloths, such as Swiffer cloths also work well.
- Don't press hard on the screen or try to scrub it. You might damage it and cause discoloration to occur next time you turn it on.
- If your screen is very dirty, rinse or change the cloth in-between passes. Clean gently and gradually.
Avoid using ammonia or acetone-based products. These can easily damage your screen, especially if it has a matte, anti-glare finish.
- Use plain water as much as possible to wipe your screen.
- Consider buying a specifically formulated screen cleaning fluid. Read reviews and check your users manual to make sure which are safe for your particular monitor.
- For a mild homemade cleaner, mix water and white vinegar in equal proportions. Use this to dampen (not wet) your cleaning cloth.
- Alternately, mix vodka or isopropyl alcohol in equal amounts for another homemade cleaner.
- Always apply any liquid to the cloth, not directly to the screen, to prevent dripping.
- Don’t use anything soapy that can leave a residue.
Consider using screen wipes. These are convenient and specifically designed for monitors.
- Make sure they are gentle enough for anti-glare screens, if you have one.
- Read reviews online or ask a salesperson to find a good brand.
For stubborn stains, gently wipe the spot on the screen. Use a gentle, circular rubbing motion to remove the spot, whether it's sticky food residue, ink or another substance.
- Don't rub or scrub too hard.
- Be patient; it might take a few moments for the solution to soak into the spot enough to adequately remove it.
- To help the solution soak in, hold the dampened cloth over the spot for a little while.
- Avoid the temptation to spray the solution directly onto the screen if the spot is stubborn.
- When the spot has been removed, wipe the area dry with a clean part of the cloth.
Make sure everything is dry before turning on your monitor. This prevents any moisture that may have gotten into your monitor from causing damage, or electrical shock.
Check your warranty. If your monitor has a scratch, you may be able to get it replaced.
- Check the warranty that came with your monitor to find out what your options are.
- Once you start trying to repair the scratch yourself, further damage may no longer be covered by your warranty.
Buy a scratch repair kit. Computer stores and computer sections of department stores sell scratch repair kits for LCD monitors.
- Check online reviews to find out the best formulation for your particular scratch.
- Follow the instructions for applying the scratch solution to your screen.
Try petroleum jelly for a temporary fix. Use a cotton swab to apply a thin layer of jelly over the scratch.
- If the scratch is small, a bit of petroleum jelly is a safe option.
- It won't repair the scratch, but it will make it look more discreet.
Use a bit of toothpaste to buff out the scratch. Make sure it is not the gel-type, as this will not work
- Work the toothpaste over the scratch with a microfiber or other soft cloth.
- Let it dry, then wipe off with a clean, barely damp cloth.
Use baking soda to buff out the scratch. A paste of baking soda and water may also be used to remove small scratches.
- Mix 2 parts baking soda with 1 part water. Add more baking soda if needed to make a thick paste.
- Work the paste over the scratch with a microfiber or other soft cloth.
- Let it dry, then wipe off with a clean, barely damp cloth.
Try rubbing compound for severe scratches. Rubbing compound can be found online or at auto supply stores.
- Be very careful when using this. Limit it to the damaged area only, and consider doing a spot test on the corner of your screen.
- Rub a very small amount on your screen with a q-tip, and work back and forth until the scratch is minimized.
- Let it sit for a few minutes, then wipe off carefully.
- Clean the screen very well afterwards with a clean cloth and screen cleaning fluid or dilute vinegar.
Use clear lacquer. Consider this option for very old monitors, or where the scratch might get bigger if not addressed. This will cause a bit of haziness on the screen where the lacquer was applied.
- Cut a hole in a piece of paper. The hole should be slightly larger than the scratch. Use this to mask off the screen. and make sure everything is covered (keyboard, buttons, etc) except the scratch.
- Spray a thin coat of lacquer onto the paper, over the hole, to “stencil” the lacquer onto the scratch. Remove the paper carefully afterwards, to avoid smearing.
- Alternately, clear nail polish applied to the scratch may also prevent it from becoming larger. Use a small brush or toothpick to carefully apply the lacquer to the scratch.
- Clear lacquer may be found in craft stores and places where spray paint is sold.
- Make sure the lacquer is completely dry before you turn on your screen.
- Always use lacquer in a well-ventilated area.
- Make sure your screen is completely clean before applying lacquer.
Know that these methods are to be used at your own risk, and may damage your screen.
- For glare-reducing screens, this can create a “shiny spot” on the screen.
- Consider the risk of these options as trade-offs, rather than having an annoying scratch.
- Remember to use your best judgement and apply these methods conservatively.
Consider investing in a screen protector to prevent future scratches. It’s a small price to pay for a scratch-free screen!