When was the last time you cleaned your monitor? Do you typically wait until it’s so caked in dust and fingerprints that you can’t see clearly?

If it’s been a while or you can’t remember when you last cleaned your monitor, pause before grabbing the closest cleaning spray and attacking the screen with it. This guide explains how to clean your monitor (and other screens) properly.

Why is your monitor so dirty?

Your computer monitor likely doesn’t get as dirty as quickly as your keyboard or computer mouse (unless it’s a touchscreen monitor). However, it can still get pretty grimy if you’re not careful.

For most people, dust is the primary culprit behind dirty computer screens. Your screen’s electrical charge can attract dust particles, causing them to gather on the screen, hinder your vision, and cause eye strain.

When you sneeze or cough, you might also spray respiratory droplets on your computer screen if you don’t turn away in time.

How to clean your monitor (and other screens)

If you’re tired of dealing with a dirty computer monitor, you’re in luck.

These instructions will help you clean your monitor properly and prevent dust and germs from setting up shop there. You can also follow these same steps when cleaning other screens, such as a smartphone or tablet screens.

Turn the device off

Picture of phone screen on the wood table is shutting down.

Always turn your computer off before you clean the monitor and let it cool completely. The same goes for tablets, smartphones, and other types of screens.

Turning the device off reduces your chances of getting shocked while you clean. It also ensures you’re working with a black screen, making it easier to address every smudge and spot.

Dust with a microfiber cloth

Start by dusting the screen. Use a microfiber cloth or another soft fabric — rough fabrics may leave scratches on the monitor or screen.

While dusting, move side-to-side in a tight, z-shaped formation. Use a light touch, too. If you push too hard, you could accidentally damage the screen, leaving dead pixels or discoloration behind.

Clean with a screen-specific spray

Next, take a spray made specifically for computer screens (Screen Mom is a popular option) and spray it on a clean cloth.

Don’t spray it directly on the screen! Doing this could lead to moisture getting in places it shouldn’t be and could potentially damage your device.

After spraying the cloth, wipe it side-to-side across the screen. Remember to use just a small amount of cleaner — a little goes a long way.

If you hit a tough spot, don’t scrub harder. Instead, hold the cloth on the area for a minute or so before gently wiping it away.

Dry the screen

When you’re finished cleaning, use the dry part of the microfiber cloth to wipe down the screen and dry it completely.

Don’t forget the housing

The outer housing around the screen can get dusty and dirty, too. Use the same method as described above to clean this area.

Common monitor cleaning mistakes

Many people make these mistakes when cleaning their monitors. Avoid the following to reduce the risk of damaging your screen or device:

Ditch paper towels and napkins

Do not clean your monitor or screen with a paper towel or napkin. These products can leave scratches and lint behind.

Minimize moisture

Hands squeeze wet white cloth.

Pay close attention when cleaning your monitor to ensure moisture doesn’t drip into the ports or control buttons. Remember to use just a small amount of cleaner, rather than a sopping wet cloth, to further minimize moisture.

Skip circular scrubbing

Scrubbing or wiping in circles causes uneven pressure on the screen. It may leave streaks or damage behind.

Avoid ammonia and alcohol-based cleaners

Don’t use ammonia- or alcohol-based cleaners. These products are too harsh and can damage the monitor.

Steer clear of abrasive cleaners like scouring powder, too, to avoid scratches and other types of damage.

How often should you clean your monitor?

To keep your monitors and other screens clean, dust them with a microfiber cloth once a week.

Regular dusting prevents buildup and reduces the need for more frequent deep cleaning. In addition to weekly dusting, clean your screen more thoroughly, about once every couple of months.

For touch screens, weekly cleaning will help to prevent fingerprint buildup and reduce the risk of germs and bacteria lingering.

Bonus tips for a cleaner monitor

If you want to keep your monitor looking pristine between cleanings, these additional tips can help:

Don’t eat in front of the screen

Eating and drinking in front of the screen don’t just make your meals less satisfying. It can also increase the chances of leaving greasy fingerprints behind.

Wash your hands regularly

Always wipe off your hands after meals and snacks to prevent fingerprints and avoid spreading germs around your workplace.

Turn your head

When you have to sneeze or cough, turn your head entirely away from your monitor or screen. Sneeze into your shoulder or elbow instead.

Use an air purifier

To reduce dust buildup on your monitor, plug in an air purifier near your workspace. Air purifiers keep the air clean and minimize the amount of dust in the air (which prevents it from accumulating on your screen as quickly).

Keep your entire office clean

Make sure you vacuum and dust your office regularly, too. The more frequently you clean, the less likely you are to deal with dust and dirt buildup.

In summary

If you’re fed up with fingerprints or done with dust on your monitors and screens, keep these guidelines in mind:

● Dust your screen weekly with a microfiber cloth
● Clean it with a screen-specific spray every couple of months
● Always use light pressure and side-to-side motions when cleaning
● Don’t forget to turn off your devices!

These simple steps will help you keep your monitors sparkling clean and reduce your exposure to germs and dust.

Want to learn more about sanitizing and protecting your workspace? Check out this blog post on cleaning your computer mouse or this one on cleaning your computer keyboard!