Is there anything more annoying than a dusty, fingerprint-smudged screen? From TVs to laptops, tablets, and phones, our devices seem to attract dust and dirt like magnets. Not only are dirty screens unpleasant to look at, they can also impede visibility and lead to eye strain.
The good news is that with some simple cleaning methods and preventative steps, you can keep the screens in your home looking pristine. This comprehensive guide will provide expert tips on how to banish dust from screens of all kinds.
Why Screens Attract So Much Dust
Before learning how to clean screens, it helps to understand what causes them to get so dusty in the first place. There are a few key reasons screens act as dust magnets:
Static Electricity – Most modern screens have an electrostatic charge that attracts oppositely charged particles like dust. This explains the annoying layer of dust that gathers so quickly.
Porous Surfaces – From LCD monitor panels to plastic phone screens, the materials are slightly porous. This allows microscopic bits of dust to get lodged in the tiny grooves.
Environmental Factors – Things like proximity to vents, windows, carpets, drapes, and even high traffic areas can expose screens to more airborne particles.
Dust Screens Frequently
No matter how dust-prone your screens are, you can keep dust at bay with regular quick cleanings:
Use Microfiber Cloths – The lint-free, gentle fabric lifts dust effectively without scratching.
Dry Clean First – Simply wiping the powered-off screen with a microfiber cloth will remove a surprising amount of dust.
Spray Cleaners Sparingly – For stuck-on dust, mist cleaner onto cloth, not directly on the screen, to avoid drips.
Don‘t Forget the Frame – Dust often gathers around plastic monitor frames and TV bezels too.
Once a Week is Ideal – Quick weekly dustings prevent major buildup that requires more effort to remove.
Prevent Dust Buildup
While regular dusting is key, you can also take steps to prevent excessive dust accumulation between cleanings:
Control Humidity – Keep indoor humidity between 30-50%. Dust mites and particles thrive in humid air. Dehumidifiers and air conditioners help regulate moisture.
Use Air Purifiers – HEPA filtered air purifiers actively trap dust and allergens. Place one near problem areas.
Dust-Proof Screens – Screen protectors and cases designed to resist dust can make cleaning less frequent.
Adjust AC Vents – Direct vents away from screens to reduce airflow over the surface.
Minimize Nearby Clutter – Rugs, drapes, stacks of paper, etc. are dust-catchers – keep screens clear of these.
Cleaning Different Screen Types
While the overall cleaning principles are similar, screens have unique considerations:
- Use soft pressure and wipe in vertical motions to avoid scratches.
- Unplug first for safety when using any type of liquid cleaner.
- Don‘t disturb or block any ventilation holes on the back.
- Adjust to ergonomic height before cleaning to avoid neck strain.
- LED and LCD screens can be sprayed and wiped while powered on.
- Avoid any cleaners with ammonia that may damage anti-glare coatings.
- Check the manufacturer‘s guidance before using any liquid cleaners on the screen.
- Keep liquids away from any openings to avoid damage to internal components.
- Turn off and unplug to clean around the edges and keyboard.
Phones and Tablets
- Microfiber cloths work well, but a more lint-free screen wipe is better for smaller screens.
- Don‘t use paper towels or tissues which can scratch.
- Disable touchscreen functionality to avoid accidental presses while cleaning.
- Use a dry lint-free cloth instead of liquid cleaners which can damage e-ink screens.
- Avoid wiping too vigorously since pressure can break these delicate displays.
Natural Cleaning Solutions
For an eco-friendly way to cut through dust and grime, you can whip up safe, natural cleaners:
Distilled Water – Slightly dampen a microfiber cloth to wipe away dirt without streaks.
Vinegar-Water Mix – A 50/50 white vinegar and distilled water solution dissolving grime.
Essential Oils – A few drops of lemon or orange oil in water lends a streak-free shine.
Rubbing Alcohol – Diluted alcohol sanitizes and evaporates quickly without residue.
Avoid cleaners with dye, fragrance, ammonia, ethyl alcohol or acetone which can damage screen coatings.
Safe Screen Cleaning Practices
To avoid accidental damage while cleaning screens:
Never Spray Directly On The Screen – Always mist the cloth, not the screen, to prevent liquid from dripping into the interior.
Use Only Soft, Lint-Free Cloths – Microfiber is ideal, but coffee filters or eyeglass cloths also work.
Don‘t Use Paper Products – Materials like paper towels can scratch. Tissues and newspaper leave lint and fibers.
Only Dampen The Cloth – Excess moisture risks electrical damage. Wring out cloths thoroughly before wiping.
Rub Gently In Straight Lines – Light, vertical strokes prevent errant scratches. Move methodically from top to bottom.
Remove Accessories – Take off screen protectors, cases and covers to thoroughly clean dust traps and edges.
Proper Screen Storage & Placement
Prevent dust from settling in the first place with these positioning tips:
- Place a cover or drape over the screen when not in use.
- Position screens away from drapes, blinds, upholstered furniture and carpets which harbor dust.
- Keep screens out of direct sunlight which illuminates every bit of dust.
- Avoid placing screens near heating and cooling vents where dust easily blows over the surface.
- For monitors, situate the screen at least 6 inches from walls or other equipment for air circulation.
- Laptops used in bed or on soft surfaces like blankets tend to clog vents with lint and require more frequent cleanings.
Signs It‘s Time for a Deep Clean
Minor dust buildup comes off easily with a quick wipe-down. But if you notice any of the following, it‘s time to do a more thorough cleaning:
- Visible dust clumps in the screen corners or edges
- Cloudiness or dull areas across parts of the screen
- Smudges that won‘t wipe away with a dry cloth
- Streaks or scratches on the screen surface
- Constant eye strain when using the device
For tough cleaning jobs, seek out a professional service to avoid any DIY damage. Replacing a damaged screen costs considerably more than a quality deep cleaning.
After Cleaning Screens
Once you‘ve cleaned all the dust away, be sure to:
- Use a fresh microfiber cloth to give screens a final buffing.
- Remove any lint left behind with masking tape rolled lightly across the surface.
- Inspect closely angled toward a light source to catch any remaining spots.
- Power the screen on to check for streaks which are easier to see when illuminated.
- Allow the screen to fully dry before placing any accessories like cases and screen covers back on.
Top Screen Cleaning Products
Having the right cleaning tools makes dust removal much easier. Here are some highly-rated products:
Screen Cleaner Sprays
- Screen Mom Screen Cleaner Spray – alcohol and ammonia-free, dries quickly
- Monster ScreenClean Natural Screen Cleaning Kit – non-toxic and biodegradable
- WHOOSH! Screen Cleaner Kit – easy spray bottle with ultra soft cloth
- MagicFiber Microfiber Cleaning Cloths – pack of 6, washable and reusable
- ECLUGS Screen Cleaner Cloths – lint-free, won‘t scratch screens
- Secura Microfiber Cleaning Cloths – ultra soft fabric lifts dust easily
- Care Touch Lens Cleaning Wipes – individually packed, streak-free, ammonia-free
- Screen Mom Pre-Moistened Screen Wipes – safe on all screens, disposable
- Weiman Electronic Wipes – conveniently removes smudges, oils, and dust
Consider buying different products for televisions versus delicate phone screens. And always check that cleaners are safe for your particular display material. With the right tools, regular dust removal is quick and keeps screens looking immaculate.
FAQs: Troubleshooting Screen Cleaning
Cleaning screens without causing harm takes precision. Here are some common mistakes to avoid along with fixes:
Q: I used Windex and now my monitor is hazy. Help!
A: Ammonia in glass cleaners like Windex can damage coatings. Dampen a cloth with equal parts white vinegar and warm water. Gently wipe down the screen to dissolve the cleaner residue. Avoid ammonia-based products in the future.
Q: I can‘t get rid of this awful scratch on my phone screen!
A: Unfortunately, physical scratches can‘t be removed from screens. Using rougher paper towels or tissues usually causes fine scratches. Consider getting the screen replaced professionally or applying a matte screen protector to hide small scratches.
Q: Water dripped down under the screen and now there is distorted color. What do I do?
A: Liquid behind the actual LCD panel is a serious issue. Power off immediately and place the screen down on a towel to allow the water to evaporate over several days. If the issue persists, seek professional screen repair. Avoid excess solution on the cloth when cleaning screens.
Q: My monitor is covered in weird purple and green blotches after I cleaned it. Help?
A: Those blotches likely indicate liquid got inside the monitor, damaging the internal electronics. Do NOT turn the monitor on again until professionally repaired to avoid a total failure. In the future, never spray cleaner directly on an electronic screen.
Q: I cleaned my phone screen and now the touchscreen isn‘t working right. Why?
A: Some cleaners leave residue that can interfere with touchscreen functionality. Try wiping down the screen again with a dry microfiber cloth and restarting the phone. If problems persist, the touchscreen digitalizer likely needs repair. Avoid cleaners with additives next time.
While screens attract dust, with the right tools and techniques you can keep them looking pristine in between deep cleanings. Follow these expert tips:
Dust screens weekly using microfiber cloths to lift away particles before they build up.
Use natural cleaning solutions like diluted vinegar or alcohol applied to cloths to dissolve stuck on grime.
Position screens strategically away from dust-collecting sources like vents, carpets and windows.
Fix issues right away, like hazy streaks or touchscreen glitches, to avoid permanent damage.
Invest in quality screen cleaners and lint-free cloths designed not to scratch delicate displays.
Keeping screens dust-free enhances visibility, reduces eye strain, and makes the viewing experience much more enjoyable. With minimal weekly effort, you can maintain clean, crystal clear displays.