How to Clean Your Digital Screens
Oily fingerprints, smears, and smudges quickly take your devices' screens from sharp to shabby.
Every product is independently selected by our editors. If you buy something through our links, we may earn an affiliate commission.
Digital screens are sharper, brighter, and clearer than ever. That’s great for picture quality, but bright screens also makes any fingerprints and smudges on the screen stand out in sharp relief. The good news is that cleaning digital screens is a fairly uncomplicated process, as long as you make sure to use the right materials and products. While you’re on a cleaning kick, here’s how to clean the dirtiest items in your home.
How to clean phone screens
When it comes to cleaning screens, a clean microfiber cloth is your best friend. You probably received a microfiber cloth when you purchased a new pair of glasses or maybe even with your phone. If not, a pack of soft cleaning cloths is fairly inexpensive.
To remove smudges, fingerprints, and other oily residue from your phone screen, just gently wipe the cloth up and down the length of the screen. If you need to use water to get the screen fully clean, dab the cloth into the water as opposed to applying the water directly to the screen. It’s also a good idea to use filtered or distilled water, as tap water can sometimes leave mineral streaks on your screen. If your goal is to disinfect your phone screen, create a mixture that is half distilled water and half white vinegar and apply that in the same way. In case you were wondering, this is how dirty your phone screen actually is.
How to clean laptop screens
More and more modern laptop computers are being designed as 2-in-1 devices with their screens doubling as touchscreen tablets. The convenience of touchscreens brings with it many more opportunities for fingerprints and smudge marks, which thankfully can be removed with the same microfiber cloth you use to clean your phone screen.
There are some cases, though, where the microfiber cloth just doesn’t cut it. If there’s a mess beyond just dust and fingerprints on your laptop screen, it’s perfectly fine to use a clean, slightly damp kitchen sponge to wipe away any more stubborn grime. Make sure that whatever cloth or sponge you use to clean the screen is actually damp and not wet, as water dripping from your screen or the sponge itself onto the laptop’s keyboards could easily damage the computer.
How to clean television screens
The principles of cleaning television screens are mostly the same as cleaning a laptop or phone screen. Use a soft cloth and dampen it if you’ve got more than just dust or fingerprints to clean up. But keep in mind that because television screens are often so much larger than other kinds of screens, they can be much more fragile. Try not to apply too much pressure to the screen as you wipe it down so that you don’t scratch or otherwise damage it.
Electronics stores will sometimes sell “television cleaning kits” that include a microfiber cloth and a specialized screen-cleaning solution. Most likely, though, that solution will be little more than distilled or deionized water, as cleaning solutions containing additives and chemicals can do major damage to screens. If you want to purchase the kit, go right ahead. Just know that you can probably make a very similar cleaning solution for cheaper at home. These are some surprisingly dirty kitchen items you need to clean too.