Cleaning Your Computer, Part 2: Monitors

2 minute read

Most people do not clean their monitors nearly as often as they should (and that includes me). You usually don’t notice the eyestrain you’re getting from staring at dust, spots, and streaks all the time, but it’s still there. Here’s how to clean it up.


  • Rubbing alcohol (LCD screen cleaner or lens cleaner works fine as well if you have some). This is used to wipe down the surface of the monitor. If you’re using a bottle of alcohol, pour some into a bowl so you don’t contaminate the whole bottle.
  • A microfiber cloth (cotton balls work well too). This is used to wipe the dust off your monitor.
 (I didn’t have any cotton balls handy, so I’m just using the cloth this time. The little plastic container is the most convenient bowl-like object I had nearby.)


Step 1: Prepare your computer.
If you get a completely white screen, it will be much easier to see the spots you need to clean. The easiest way is to open a new tab in your browser and navigate to about:blank, which will give you a blank screen. Then press F11, and you should see something like the following.
 You may want to toggle to a black screen a couple of times while you’re in the middle of cleaning; some things show up better on white, while others show up better on black. Of course, getting a black screen is as easy as switching the monitor off.


Step 2: Wipe down the screen.
Dip your cloth or cotton ball in the alcohol or spray it with your lens cleaner. Start by wiping down the whole monitor, then take a closer look for little spots and rub harder on those. If you press very hard at all, the monitor may momentarily warp and discolor around that area; I’ve never seen any permanent damage from this, so I wouldn’t worry about it.


Step 3: Clean around the screen.
I always like to get the edges of the screen too; they collect just as much junk and dirt as the rest of the monitor. You can use the same treatment on them.


Step 4: Try to rub out remaining spots (optional). 
If you still have annoying spots or minor scratches, you might try to use a pencil eraser to touch them up. If you’re happy with how the monitor looks already, don’t worry about it.


Step 5: Wipe down the monitor one last time and dry it quickly.
While some streaks are pretty much inevitable, this does help a bit.
Next week I’ll show you how to clean your keyboard, which is quite possibly the filthiest place in your entire office.