How to Clean a Computer Monitor

Keeping your computer monitor clean is important for maintaining a clear display and preventing damage. A dirty monitor can harbor germs, degrade display quality, and even scratch the screen. With some basic cleaning supplies and techniques, you can keep your monitor looking like new. We will walk through the steps for safely and effectively cleaning all types of monitors.

Supplies Needed for Cleaning a Monitor

Before cleaning your computer screen, you will need to gather the proper supplies. Having these tools ready will make the cleaning process quick and efficient. Here are the recommended supplies for cleaning a computer monitor:

  • Microfiber cloth – A soft, lint-free cloth is essential for wiping down screens without scratching them. Microfiber cloths are ideal.
  • Distilled water – Tap water contains minerals that can leave streaks on a monitor. Distilled water is purified and will not leave residue.
  • Isopropyl alcohol – A solution of 70% isopropyl alcohol diluted in distilled water works great for sanitizing screens and drying quickly without streaks.
  • Monitor cleaning solution – Special screen cleaning solutions are also available for use. Ensure it is specifically designed for monitors.
  • Cotton swabs – For cleaning around buttons and ports, cotton swabs are useful.
  • Can of compressed air – Dusting between vents and around edges is easier with compressed air.

Avoid using paper towels, window cleaner, or abrasive chemicals, which can all damage monitors. Also ensure your workspace is clean to avoid contaminating supplies.

Steps to Clean a LCD Computer Monitor

Cleaning a LCD monitor requires being gentle. LCD screens are delicate and scratch fairly easily. Follow these steps to safely clean a LCD monitor:

1. Power Off and Unplug the Monitor

Turn off and unplug the monitor before cleaning to prevent electric shocks and damage. Disconnect all cables as well.

2. Check for Damage and Dirt Location

Inspect your LCD monitor closely looking for any signs of damage on the screen. Also take note of where dirt and smudges are located so you can target cleaning to those areas.

3. Remove Dust with Compressed Air

Use short bursts of compressed air to remove any loose dust or debris sitting on the screen. Be sure to blow air directly down to avoid driving dirt further into the screen.

4. Wipe the Screen with a Microfiber Cloth

Lightly dampen a microfiber cloth with distilled water and wipe down the LCD monitor screen. Do not spray the monitor directly. Use light pressure and wipe in one direction.

5. Clean Smudges with Alcohol Solution

For stubborn dirt or oily streaks, use a 50/50 mixture of isopropyl alcohol and distilled water. Dampen the microfiber cloth and gently wipe smudges until clean. Avoid excessive scrubbing.

6. Clean Monitor Frame and Buttons

Dip a cotton swab in isopropyl alcohol and gently swab the monitor’s frame, buttons, and port openings to disinfect. Take care not to get moisture in openings.

7. Remove Residual Cleaner

Go over the monitor screen one last time with a clean, dry microfiber cloth to absorb any leftover moisture and prevent streaking.

8. Let the Monitor Dry

Allow the monitor to fully air dry before turning it on again. This prevents electrical short circuits.

9. Reconnect Cables and Power On

Once fully dry, plug the monitor back in and power it on. Reconnect any cables that were detached. It should now look clean and crisp!

Tips for Cleaning a Laptop Screen

Laptop monitors require a few special considerations when cleaning. Here are some useful tips:

  • Use a lower concentration isopropyl alcohol solution of 30/70 alcohol to distilled water. Laptop screens are very delicate.
  • Dampen your microfiber cloth even less than with desktop monitors. Only use very light moisture.
  • Shut down and close the laptop screen before cleaning.
  • Be extremely gentle when wiping and do not press hard on the screen.
  • Avoid getting moisture in any openings like vents or between the screen and keyboard.
  • Consider purchasing screen protectors to prevent scratches and reduce cleaning needs.

With extra care taken, you can clean a laptop screen safely following the same overall methods used for desktop monitors.

How to Clean an LED Monitor Screen

LED monitors can also be cleaned with many of the same techniques as LCD displays. Here are some tips for effectively cleaning LED monitors:

  • LED screens are very susceptible to scratching. Use only a lightly dampened microfiber cloth and avoid abrasives.
  • The anti-glare coatings on some LED monitors can be damaged by cleaners. Use only approved monitor cleaning fluids.
  • Ammonia-based cleaners should be avoided for LED monitors, but 70% isopropyl alcohol is safe.
  • Maintain a light touch when wiping down an LED display and do not rub vigorously.
  • Dry completely with a clean, soft cloth before powering on to prevent moisture damage.

With some minor adjustments to your methods, LED monitors can be cleaned just as thoroughly as other modern display types.

Cleaning a Curved Monitor

Curved monitors require special care when cleaning to reach all parts of the screen and avoid damaging the curve. Follow these tips:

  • Lightly spray cleaner directly onto your cloth. Do not spray the curved screen.
  • Gently wipe parallel to the curve to reach every part of the screen evenly.
  • Use smaller microfiber cloths that contour better with the curved shape.
  • Rotate the curved monitor to access all areas rather than excessive pressure in any one spot.
  • Work slowly and methodically to avoid missing any dirt on a curved display.

Curved monitors still utilize normal LCD and LED screen technology, so standard cleaners and cloths work well if applied properly along the display’s contours.

Cleaning Monitor Screens Without Streaks and Spots

Nothing detracts from a clean computer monitor like streaks and spots left behind. Here are some techniques to avoid them:

  • Always use distilled water when diluting your cleaning solution. Tap water mineral deposits leave unsightly marks.
  • Only lightly dampen your microfiber cloth to prevent excess dripping and streaking.
  • Use a very soft cloth and minimal pressure when wiping monitor screens to prevent swirl marks.
  • Work systematically wiping in straight, slightly overlapping lines to avoid missing areas.
  • Frequently fold your cloth to reveal clean surface area and prevent dirt buildup.
  • Follow with a dry microfiber cloth to absorb residual moisture left from cleaning.

Avoiding overwetting your monitor and working in a methodical fashion will help prevent vexing spots and streaks.

How Often Should You Clean Your Computer Monitor?

Most computer monitors require regular, but not excessive cleaning. Here are some general guidelines on cleaning frequency:

  • Home office monitors: Clean every 2-4 weeks depending on usage and dust levels.
  • Family room TV used as monitor: Clean weekly.
  • Monitor in kitchen area: Clean every 1-2 weeks to control cooking oils and grease accumulation.
  • Monitor in workshop or garage: Clean every 2 weeks or as needed to remove heavy dust buildup.
  • Monitors in a home with indoor smokers or pets: Clean every 1-2 weeks.
  • Desktop monitors: Clean more frequently than laptops which can close to protect screens.
  • Monitors in high traffic areas: Clean more often than those is sparely used rooms.

Adapt your cleaning schedule based on your monitor’s environment and how quickly it accumulates dirt and oils. More frequent light cleanings are better than infrequent deep cleanings.

Can You Use Windex on a Computer Monitor?

Windex and similar glass cleaners are not recommended for computer monitors. Here’s why:

  • Most glass cleaners contain ammonia which can damage monitor screens and anti-glare coatings.
  • They can leave streaky residue behind on sensitive monitors.
  • Monitor screens have different chemical compositions than household glass and require special cleaners.
  • Heavy wiping pressure needed with some glass cleaners risks scratching the monitor.
  • Glass cleaners contain fragrances and colors unnecessary for monitor screens.

For best results, stick to distilled water mixed with a small amount of isopropyl alcohol and light pressure with microfiber cloths designed for monitors. Avoid household cleaning products.

How to Clean Monitor Screen Without Products

In a pinch, you can clean a computer monitor without any specialized cleaning products. Here are some methods:

  • Distilled or purified water – Dampen a microfiber cloth and wipe down the screen. Avoid tap water mineral deposits.
  • Vinegar solution – Mix equal parts white vinegar and distilled water for an effective cleaning spray.
  • Rubbing alcohol – Higher concentrations like 90% can be used sparingly if diluted with lots of water.
  • Newspaper – The ink-free margins can be used to give screens a quick once-over (avoid excessive pressure).
  • Eyeglass cleaner – Designed for lenses, but can work in a tight situation if sprayed on a cloth, not directly on the monitor.

DIY monitor cleaning solutions often fall short of specialized screen cleaners. Use them sparingly and immediately follow with a dry microfiber cloth to prevent streaks.

How to Clean Monitor Screen Without Leaving Streaks

Streaks and spots left behind after cleaning a computer monitor can be incredibly frustrating. If you are forced to clean without your normal screen cleaning supplies, here are some tips to avoid streaks:

  • Always use a very soft, lint-free cloth like microfiber for wiping down the monitor.
  • Apply the least amount of moisture possible when cleaning to limit drips.
  • Wipe slowly and evenly using straight, slightly overlapping passes.
  • Frequently change cloth wiping surface to prevent dirt accumulation.
  • Work systematically from top to bottom to avoid missing areas.
  • Immediately dry with a clean cloth using gentle buffing motions along the screen.
  • Avoid paper products which can leave debris behind.
  • Never use very wet cloths that can drip liquid onto the monitor.

With extra care taken to control moisture levels and wipe systematically, you can clean monitors reasonably well even without cleaning products formulated for screens.

Homemade Monitor Cleaning Solution Recipes

You can make effective DIY monitor cleaning solutions using common household ingredients. Here are a few easy recipes to try:

Vinegar Cleaning Solution

  • 1 part white vinegar
  • 1 part distilled water

Isopropyl Alcohol Cleaner

  • 1 part 70% isopropyl alcohol
  • 1 part distilled water

Ammonia-Free Glass Cleaner

  • 1⁄2 cup rubbing alcohol
  • 1⁄2 cup distilled water
  • 1 teaspoon liquid dish soap

All-Natural Cleaner

  • 2 tablespoons organic, biodegradable soap like Castile
  • 2 cups distilled water
  • 10 drops essential oil (optional) like lemon or lavender

Always test homemade cleaners on a small area first. Avoid ammonia-based and abrasive DIY cleaners which can damage screens.

How to Clean Monitor Screen Using Products Around the House

If you are out of normal monitor cleaning supplies, many household items can work in a pinch:

  • Distilled vinegar – Mix with equal parts distilled water and use to wipe down screens.
  • Rubbing alcohol – Dilute 70% concentration with distilled water for an effective cleaner.
  • Dish soap – Use a couple drops in water to cut grease. Avoid heavy scrubbing.
  • Glass cleaner – Spray on cloth, not directly on screen. Avoid ammonia-based products.
  • Bottled water – Better than tap water for dampening microfiber cloths.
  • Coffee filters – Soft and lint-free for wiping monitors.
  • Microfiber clothes – Reusable cloths and mops work great.

Avoid abrasive sponges and paper towels which can scratch. Always use minimal pressure when wiping screens. Test cleaners first on an inconspicuous spot before using.

Does Cleaning a Monitor Screen Remove Scratches?

Scratches on computer monitor screens cannot be removed with cleaning. Here’s why:

  • Scratches cause permanent physical damage to the glass or plastic screen material itself.
  • No cleaners can restore the original smooth surface once scratched.
  • Scratches scatter light rather than reflecting it cleanly, causing distorted views.
  • Evenplastic polishing compounds are ineffective at removing monitor scratches.
  • Screens with deep scratches often need replacement since they cannot be repaired.

To avoid scratches, always use soft microfiber cloths and avoid excessive pressure when cleaning monitors. Screen protectors can also prevent scratching. But once scratched, monitors cannot be restored through cleaning.

How to Clean Monitor Screen Without Damaging It

Follow these tips when cleaning computer monitors to avoid damaging screens:

  • Only use monitor approved cleaners to avoid stripping coatings that prevent glare and reduce scratching. Avoid ammonia.
  • Lightly dampen your cloth rather than soaking it to minimize liquid dripping into the monitor.
  • Apply minimal wiping pressure to reduce the chance of abrasion. Allow the cleaner to do the work.
  • Wipe gently in a consistent direction using slightly overlapping strokes. No scrubbing motions.
  • Always disconnect power before cleaning to prevent electric shocks and component damage.
  • Ensure your workspace is clean to prevent contamination of your screen with dirt and debris.
  • Avoid touching the screen with fingers to prevent oil transfer which can be difficult to remove.
  • Use microfiber cloths designed for monitor cleaning. They are soft and lint-free.

With proper methods and care, you can clean computer monitors safely without causing harm.

Can a Computer Monitor Be Too Dirty to Fix?

Computer monitors can reach a point where they are too dirty to be restored with DIY cleaning. Here are some signs a professional cleaning or replacement may be needed:

  • Dirt and skin oil accumulation results in thick residue that cannot be removed.
  • Grime obscures so much of the screen that visibility is significantly decreased.
  • Stains have set into the screen for so long they have bonded to the surface.
  • Foreign contaminants like food, paint, or oils cause etching or corrosion.
  • Mold or fungal growth results from moisture ingress.
  • Smoke residue and tar buildup from cigarettes cannot be removed.
  • Screen coatings have been worn away over time, losing anti-glare properties.
  • Abrasive scrubbing over time damages the screen material itself.

While it’s rare for home monitors to reach this level of dirtiness, public computers and industrial monitors may require replacement when filth exceeds cleaning capabilities.

professional monitor cleaning services – when should you hire them?

Though regular at-home cleaning can keep most monitors reasonably clean, there are times when professional cleaning services may be worth the investment:

  • For business or office monitor banks that get heavy daily use, professional cleaning services on a monthly or quarterly basis can restore screens to like-new condition.
  • When monitors are so neglected that significant grime, residue, or smoke/nicotine buildup occurs that is challenging to remove without commercial cleaning fluids and equipment.
  • To thoroughly sanitize monitor arrays in medical offices where germ removal is critical.
  • In industrial settings where monitors get coated in opaque layers of oil, coolants, or solvents that require commercial-grade cleaners to dissolve.
  • For sensitive specialty monitors with rigid cleaning requirements best handled by those with expertise.
  • To optimize display quality in home theater or gaming setups where pristine screens are paramount.
  • To save time for those who lack specialized equipment and prefer to outsource cleaning.

Consider periodically augmenting DIY efforts with professional monitor cleaning services for best long-term results.


By following these monitor cleaning tips, you can keep your computer screens looking like new and prevent damage. Be sure to use only specialized cleaning fluids designed for monitors and soft, lint-free microfiber cloths. With the proper cleaning method and frequency for your particular monitor, you can eliminate dirt and smudges for a crystal clear display. Keeping monitors clean optimizes visibility, prevents scratches, and can even sanitize screens in high traffic areas.