How to clean a laptop screen?

cleaning a smudgy laptop screen

Laptop screens often get dirty in various ways. The most common way is when dust sits on them, perhaps after staying open for a long time. They also get smudged when they are constantly touched, and when closed, the keyboard may also transfer dirt and oil smudges onto them.

Furthermore, if you have a touchscreen laptop, you will notice that your fingertips are your own worst enemy when it comes to smudging the screen. This is very common with laptops that have a bigger screen.

This is why it is so important to clean laptop screens regularly. This is the only way to get rid of all the dirt and smudges. It also helps to maintain the screen’s vivid color definition. This article will elaborate in detail how to go about cleaning laptop screens without damaging them.

1. Removing dust with a microfiber cloth

cleaning a laptop with a microfiber cloth

Microfiber cloths are not new to camera lovers and people who wear glasses. They are specially made pieces of cloth that are used to clean delicate surfaces that could otherwise get damaged when cleaned with a different material. Microfiber is the best method of cleaning eyeglasses and camera lenses because it is designed solely to clean debris or dust from surfaces without leaving lint and scratching sensitive surfaces. And this is the reason why when it comes to cleaning laptop screens, microfiber cloths are the best choice.

Make sure to take the screen type into consideration when choosing a laptop, because if you choose a shiny screen, you will have to clean that more than a dimmer screen.

Using other pieces of cloth and other materials is not appropriate for one simple reason: they leave their own detritus behind as you use them. This means that as the pieces of the material fall off as you clean, it further dirties the screen surface or even scratches it. It is for this reason that using tissue papers, paper towels, and random pieces of cloth to clean laptop screens is a bad idea.

How to clean your laptop screen with a microfiber cloth:

  • Step 1: Get a microfiber cloth, specially made for cleaning lens and glasses.
  • Step 2: Switch off your laptop display so that you can see dust clearly. It is safer to work with a machine that is completely off the power.
  • Step 3: Wipe in a single direction while pressing gently on the screen. Wiping in circles and scrubbing the screen could easily damage the laptop. Such movements are also not effective because they tend to move the dust around the screen and not off it. Also note that dust is often attracted by static energy, wiping across will effectively remove them as compared to scrubbing which will increase the static energy.
  • Step 4: Continue cleaning across your laptop’s display until it is rid of all dust.

2. Using damp sponges to remove grime

laptop cleaning with sponge

Apart from dust, laptop screens will also develop dirt and grime. These two are hard to clean with a microfiber cloth, and if you try to do so, you’ll only end up dirtying your cloth. However, grime and dirt will come off well when you use a damp sponge.

The damp sponges you use should be brand new. They could be household sponges, deionized or distilled in water. In this case, filtered water could also work perfectly. You should avoid regular tap water because it could leave marks on your laptop’s display.

Here is how to clean your laptop screen with a damp sponge and water:

  • Step 1: Switch off your laptop. If it’s plugged directly to the power source, unplug it. You can also remove your laptop’s battery if possible.
  • Step 2: Wet your sponge with deionized or distilled water then wring it properly. Dripping water could damage your laptop once it gets inside it.
  • Step 3: Identify dirty areas on your laptop then gently wipe them clean. Again, watch for dripping water, and if you find any, wipe them immediately.
  • Step 4: Once you are done cleaning the screen, wait for it to dry completely before you can close the lid or use the machine.

3. Using bottled cleaning solutions

cleaning with rubbing alcohol

This method is what you should use when both the cloth and the sponge fail to work. It is simply the use of screen-cleaning solutions. These solutions can be found in different specialty stores and they come with a lint-free cloth.  

When you are using a bottled solution, make sure you use it very carefully. Although a large percent of these liquids are alcohol, which dry up very quickly, it can still affect the health of your laptop.

You can also make a DIY version at home by mixing equal parts of white vinegar and distilled or deionized water. White vinegar is great for general cleaning and stain removal because it does not leave any colorization behind. Isopropyl alcohol could also be used in place of vinegar. Refrain from using glass-cleaning fluids.

This is how you clean a laptop screen with a cleaning solution:

  • Step 1: Completely shut down the laptop, make sure it is unplugged from the socket. Remove its battery if you can. It is safer this way.
  • Step 2: Apply or spray your cleaning solution onto a lint-free cloth. Make sure it is damp enough to do the job. It should not be too wet.
  • Step 3: Identify the affected area then gently rub them in small circles avoiding streaks. Do not use too much force as you could damage your screen’s display.
  • Step 4: Repeat this action where necessary, careful not to drip the cleaning fluid on the display and keyboard.
  • Step 5: When done, wait for the screen to completely dry out before closing it or powering up the laptop.

Important things to note


Here are a few important things to note as you handle your laptop:

  • Some of the dirt and stains you find on the screen often comes from the keyboard. These stains can be very hard to clean sometimes. To prevent stains from forming on your screen, consider placing a lint-free piece of clothing between the screen and the keyboard. Paper towels or tissue papers are made with wood fiber; they will easily scratch your LCD screen even when they are recycled, so avoid using them.
  • Lint-free screen cleaners can also be used to wipe the rest of the laptop. They can easily be found in office-supply stores.
  • Cleaners with ammonia or alcohol in them, like Windex, will damage your laptop’s screen. You should avoid using them at all costs.
  • Cleaners are meant to be applied on a soft medium first before you clean your laptop. Do not squirt them directly as they could also damage the laptop.
  • Never put the moist fabric in any of the laptop’s ports.
  • Things to totally avoid include all-purpose cleaners, window cleaners, and dish soap or any other type of soap.
  • Consider including cleaning your laptop in your house cleaning routine. You don’t have to do a thorough job; you can do light dusting with your microfiber cloth. This will prevent dust from accumulating and eventually making its way into your laptop.

After you are done with the cleaning, make sure the laptop is working properly. If the laptop is plugged in, but not charging, then something could have malfunctioned, which needs a repair.

0 Shares

About the Author

I'm a tech geek from Hungary. Latest laptops? I got em. I love testing and breaking things, although most of the time I fail putting them together, but that's another story...

>