Spring Cleaning: How to Clean Every Screen in Your House

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edited August 2021 in Computer Hardware

Modern devices of all sorts sport larger, more detailed displays than ever before. But if you want to make the most of your big screen TV, your iPad, MacBook, smartphone, and desktop monitor, you need to keep the screen clean. Ditch the dust, swipe away the smudges, and sanitize the stains with these handy tips on how to clean TV screens, laptop screens, and more.

A word of warning before we begin, however. There are many glass cleaning and general cleaning products which may seem like a good fit for electronics too: they are not. Modern devices, especially touch screens, are designed with a very careful balance of materials, and the harsh chemicals in some cleaning sprays can permanently damage them or mar the display.

The best way to clean TV screens and other devices is to use a combination of lint-free microfiber cloths and proper cleaning fluids. You can also leverage air dusters and soft-bristled brushes to remove particularly stubborn dirt, dust, and debris that's caught in the bezels of the display.

Here are some cleaning tips for every screen in your home so they look as good as new.

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How to Clean TV Screens

As the biggest screen in your home, it's often more obvious that your TV screen needs cleaning before any others. Before you begin, make sure to turn your TV off at the wall and ideally, remove the plug to be sure. Make sure to leave it for 15-minutes to cool down (especially if it's an older Plasma TV). The best way to clean TV screens is when they're cold, as a warm display can lead to streaks when the cleaning solution evaporates.

It might seem simple, but knowing how to clean TV screens properly when they're dusty is important. Don't just use any old paper towels, or anything with paper in it, in fact. The fibers can make small scratches in the sensitive displays of modern TVs. The best way to clean a TV screen is with a microfiber cloth.

Take the cloth and gently wipe the screen in a single direction, up to down, left to right – the direction doesn't matter, but be consistent, so that you don't just move the dust around. You can use an air duster to clean the dust from hard-to-reach places, but don't spray it directly at the screen and only spray in short one-second bursts so that condensation doesn't form under the cold spray.

If you need to remove stains or splash marks from food or drink, you'll need to use something a little stronger. Don't be tempted to use general cleaning sprays designed for windows or other glass surfaces. Instead, opt for bespoke electronic wipes or cleaning solutions – spray a small amount onto a microfiber cloth (never directly on the screen). They'll safely remove oily marks and will help avoid excess dust build-up in the future.

Wipe over the stain in small circular motions, with only light pressure. If it doesn't come away in one go, wait for the screen to dry then try again. Don't be tempted to press harder, as you can damage the display.

When you're finished cleaning your screen, let any cleaning solution dry before turning it back on.

How to Clean a MacBook Screen

The method for how to clean a MacBook screen is much the same as for any laptop, tablet, or flat-screen TV. Microfiber cloths, or bespoke cleaning display cleaning wipes with anti-static protection and no alcohol or ammonia, are a must. They ensure that the screen is cleaned safely without scratches or smears.

If you use a cleaning gel or spray, make sure to apply it to the microfiber cloth, not the screen itself. Only a small amount is necessary – don't' saturate the cloth or you risk leaving streaks on the screen after cleaning

As with the guide on how to clean TV screens, make sure that the MacBook is switched off and unplugged from the charger before cleaning. It's also a good idea to let it cool down first.

Wipe away dust in straight, uniform strokes across the screen, and use gentle circular motions to remove any stains or splash marks.

How to Clean a Computer Screen

 Desktop computer monitors are just slightly bigger versions of laptop displays, so the same method for how to clean a MacBook screen will work just fine on a computer monitor. Grab a lint-free microfiber cloth and brush across the surface of the screen in long, straight strokes to remove any dust. Some may get stuck around the bezel at the edge of the screen. To remove it, either use an air duster, or you can use a specially formulated duster brush with soft bristles.

For stains, streaks, or fluid marks, you'll need to use a cleaning solution specially formulated for use with sensitive displays. Spray the solution onto the microfiber cloth once or twice (never on the screen directly) and then use gentle pressure and a small circular motion to remove the mark. Let it dry afterward, and if any marks are left, repeat the process with a clean portion of the cloth.

Alternatively, one use screen cleaning wipes can be the best way to clean a computer monitor. You can simply remove one from the pack and wipe down your screen without the need for any additional spray.

How to Clean an iPad Screen

Apple iPads, Android tablets, and touchscreen Windows devices don't use a particularly different screen technology from other electronics, but where they do differ is the amount of interaction you have with them. Since you're touching them all day every day, they tend to build up grease, fingerprints, and potentially bacteria and viruses more than devices where your input is a keyboard, mouse, or touchpad.

That doesn't mean you have to clean them any differently, but you should definitely clean them more often. Here's how to clean an iPad screen to make sure it stays clear, bright, and germ-free.

As with cleaning other electronics, the best way to clean an iPad screen is with a microfiber cloth. Apple iPad screens are oil repellent, so everyday grease from fingers can come away easily enough with a dry wipe. If, however, you find that your iPad is particularly dirty, or its repellent effects have diminished over time, you can augment your microfiber cloth's cleaning ability with an anti-static cleaning fluid. You can buy those items individually, or opt for an all-in-one screen cleaning kit that comes with its own microfiber cloth and cleaning solution, as well as its own handy storage solution.

Spray a little cleaning solution onto the microfiber cloth, then wipe down your iPad screen in one direction. If you need to pay particular attention to any marks, stains, or grime, perform gentle, circular motions with the cloth. If it doesn't come away the first time, don't press harder. Let it dry, then start again with another spray of the cleaning fluid. It will come away eventually.

As an alternative, you can use screen-cleaning wipes that are ammonia and alcohol-free. They can be great if you find yourself wondering how to clean an iPad screen on the go, because you don't need to carry a bottle of cleaning fluid with you. Display wipes are a compact way to always be able to clean your screen without worrying about leaving streaks after you're done.


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