How To Clean Your Computer Monitor

Cleaning your monitor is one of those things that I am sure many of us do commonly. No matter how hard we try to keep fingerprints and dust off our monitors, they always find a way to appear. While this will not cause any actual damage to your monitor, they are distracting.

Once we finally decide to clean our monitor it is important to do it safely. I can’t tell you the number of times I have heard of friends or family using a harsh glass cleaner on their display. This is not a safe way to clean your monitor and may lead to long term damage. Here is the proper way to clean your PC’s monitor safely and efficiently.

Preparing Your Computer Monitor

Before you begin to clean your monitor there are a few things we advise doing prior. First I advise that you unplug your monitor. This step is not critical but it will make the process a lot easier. If it is too much of a hassle you can just turn your monitor off. Next, after you have wither unplugged or turned your monitor off, make a little bit of room on your desk. This does not have to be much, just enough to hold your cleaning supplies.

Cleaning Your Monitor

After you have prepared your monitor to be cleaned, we can now move onto the actual cleaning process. This does not take much time at all, typically it takes me 5 minutes from start to finish. By the end, your monitor will be spotless with no fingerprint smudges or dust to be found.

Clean monitor sitting on top of desk

Dust The Monitor First

Dusting the screen to remove and light surface dust is step number one. It is important to do this first as it will reveal any stuck-on grime. You can do this in a variety of ways but we recommend using an air duster. This is the fastest and most efficient way of removing dust from your monitor. It is one of the safest options as well. I generally recommend using the air duster at a safe distance of 12 inches as you want to avoid any direct pressure. This method will work perfectly to remove any light surface dust or particles stuck on my static electricity. 

Use a Microfiber Cloth

Microfiber cloths are a must-have if you are planning to clean any device’s screen. Microfiber cloths reduce the chances of any surface scratches to the screen significantly. We advise that you use the cloth to remove any stuck-on dust that the air duster could not blow away or get to. This can also be used to get into any of the crevices or edges that your display may have.

When using a microfiber cloth to clean your monitor it is very important to use it properly. First, you want to make sure you are not putting too much pressure on the screen. Pressing too hard has the potential to cause long term damage. So, treat it gently and use very light pressure when wiping. Second, you want to make sure you are wiping to fast. I generally recommend wiping the screen in one smooth, gentle, continuous motion. You definitely do not want to wipe in fast, circular motions. Doing so can create small little swirl marks on the screen which are not pleasant to look at.

Use a Mild Cleaning Solution

If the dry microfiber alone fails to remove some remaining stuck on smudges, you can use a mild soap and water solution. Make sure that your soap is mild as we want to avoid anything too harsh. We won’t be needing much of this solution so a couple drops of soap to a few ounces of warm water will be sufficient. Next, you want to take your microfiber rag or towel and dip it into the solution. You do not want to soak up too much liquid as you do not want any unexpected drips. When you rub this across any dirty areas you should see just a light trail of water. Again, you do not want to be seeing any of the solution dripping down your screen. CNET has a great guide for this solution as well.

Just as before when you are wiping your monitor you want to be gentle. Smooth left to right swipes moving in one direction will keep your monitor safe from any harm. Remember you do not want to apply too much pressure otherwise, you might damage the display. It might be worth having a second dry microfiber on standby just in case a drip does occur. The primary thing we are trying to avoid is water getting into the bezels of your monitor.

Things to Avoid While Cleaning Your Monitor

Cleaning your monitor is a simple task but there are a handful of things you definitely want to avoid. It is just as easy to cause damage to your monitor as it is to clean it. We primarily want to avoid any harsh or abrasive cleaning materials and supplies.

Paper towel and glass cleaner

Alcohol, Ammonia-Based, and Acidic Cleaners

Manny monitor screens come equipped with an anti-reflective coating on them. This coating is highly susceptible to damage from corrosive substances. Again, I can’t tell you the number of people I have caught using a glass cleaner to clean their monitors. Please, for the sake of your monitor do not do this. Many glass cleaners have alcohol or ammonia in them which can cause damage to your screen. Over time this can strip your monitor’s anti-reflective coating, making it cloudy or worse.

This also applies to many other cleaning supplies that people recommend, such as isopropyl alcohol or vinegar. I have read and watched numerous tutorials that recommend these products. They are definitely not safe cleaning supplies. Just stick to the basics and your monitor will look brand new throughout its life.

Abrasive Fabrics and Towels

Paper towels are first on this list, they are not good a good wiping material. They can be quite abrasive to delicate surfaces such as a monitor. Using a paper towel to clean your display is just asking for scratches or swirl marks on it which we of course want to avoid. House rags or towels are another wiping material that we want to forget about. Generally, the fibers used to make them can be quite coarse in comparison to a microfiber towel. The coarse fiber in these towels makes them a poor candidate to clean your monitor. I don’t mean to sound too repetitive but when we are cleaning any kind of electronic device, we want to be gentle with it. Treat it with care and it will remain good as new thought the duration that you own it.

Spraying The Monitor Directly

If you have followed this guide, we won’t really have to worry about this. Don’t spray any sort of fluid directly on the monitor, we are trying to avoid drips at all costs. When you use a spray bottle it is quite difficult to control the amount of fluid that comes out and where it goes. We want to keep liquids from getting into the crevasses and bezels of your monitor. These areas act as a direct access point to the internal electronics. We want to protect them at all costs.

If you do plan on using a spray bottle filled with the solution mentioned above, do it safely. Spray the microfiber clothe you are using first then continue to wipe the display. Conducting it in this fashion will keep your device safe from any excess liquid. However, I still recommend using a small dish or cup filled with a cleaning solution.

Final Words

All in all, cleaning your monitor is a quick and simple task that will make all the difference. Finger smudges and dust obstructing your vision can create a poor user experience. I recommend doing a light clean removing just the dust once every week. For more thorough cleaning, I recommend once every month or as you see fit. Doing so will keep your monitor free from any smudges and stuck on dust creating a more enjoyable experience.

Is Windex safe to clean my monitor?

I strongly advise against this option. Glass cleaners contain harsh chemicals that can potentially harm your computer’s monitor. Stick to the basics and use a simple soap and water solution.