One of the first things to know about how to clean electronic screens is that glass cleaner can seriously damage them!
If you’re of a certain age, you probably remember how we could get TV screens sparkling clean with a spray of Windex and a quick wipe. But technology has changed, making our old go-to solution no longer effective.
In fact, the ammonia in glass cleaner can permanently damage the screens on your electronic devices. That’s because many touch-sensitive screens have an oleophobic — oil-resistant — coating to help them resist smudging.
Of course, that coating only helps — it doesn’t entirely prevent buildup, as anyone who’s noticed a grimy haze on their phone’s screen knows. Plus, according to Apple, the coating wears away over time on all of its devices.
Cleaning Electronic Screens
Most of the time, a microfiber cloth very lightly dampened with water is enough to get rid of smears and fingerprints. For those times you need something stronger, try the DIY screen cleaning spray below.
What NOT to Do
Never use an abrasive cloth or cleaner on your electronic screens. Not only do these risk damaging the oleophobic coating, but they may also scratch the glass.
Don’t apply too much pressure when cleaning, either. The connections between touchscreens and the device’s components are ridiculously fragile.
Apply the screen cleaner to the cloth, not directly to your device, then wipe the screen gently. Use a clean part of the cloth to buff the screen dry.
Steps to Clean Electronic Screens
Televisions and computer monitors: Dust your screen with a soft, dry lint-free cloth weekly as part of your cleaning routine. If you notice smudges on your TV screen after dusting, use the spray below.
Phones and tablets: Wiping the screen with a microfiber cloth lightly dampened with water will get rid of any greasy buildup. This does not address the e. Coli, Staphylococcus, and other bacteria that collects on phone screens. For those, you need to use a disinfecting screen spray every few days at a minimum, especially during cold and flu season.
Screen Cleaning Spray
- 1/2 cup water (distilled is best)
- 1/2 cup isopropyl (rubbing) alcohol 70%
- Spray bottle
- Microfiber cloth
- Mix the water and isopropyl alcohol in the spray bottle.
- Lightly spray the screen and wipe immediately with the microfiber cloth.
- These screens are fragile so for stubborn spots spray and repeatedly wipe rather than pressing hard on the screen.
NOTE: You can substitute white vinegar for the isopropyl alcohol, but it may leave streaks behind. Apple cider vinegar is NOT an acceptable substitute.
This post first appeared in January 2016. It has been revised and updated for republication.
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