Did you spit your Corn Flakes at a joke on Usenet this morning? Are the kids throwing mud in the computer room again? Perhaps you suddenly sneezed when checking your e-mail the other night? Chances are your computer monitor was in-line with the projectiles. And the result is a smeared screen with flecks and smudges everywhere.

Fear not! Cleaning your computer monitor is a quick and painless task.

Note: Your monitor's user manual will have the proper cleaning techniques for your specific product.


an anti-static rag or other soft cloth (some old cotton clothing will work) and water or some other "weak" liquid (eyeglass cleaner).

That's right! Just plain-old water will do the trick. If some spots just won't come off, then apply a dash of glass cleaner to the rag.


  1. Turn off the monitor.

    You don't necessarily do this to prevent electric shock, but it's just plain easier to see spots and smears on a black computer screen. Some people say to unplug your monitor from the wall outlet, but this is quite ridiculous. As long as your merely cleaning the glass with the correct cleaning solutions, you'll be fine. If your cleaning the entire case (not just the glass), then do unplug the monitor.

  2. Dampen part of the rag with the water or the other liquid.
  3. Wipe the entire screen.
  4. Dry the entire screen with the dry portion of the rag.


  • These steps apply to the monitor glass, not the frame or the back of the monitor. Read other documentation to learn how to clean those.
  • Never apply liquid directly to the monitor glass. Use the rag!
  • Don't use rough paper to dry the monitor (such as paper towels) as it may scratch the glass.
  • Don't use normal glass (window) cleaners since they smear the glass.
OK, the method above can deal with those occasions where an unfortunate spillage is obscuring your view. But what about the caked-on layer of grime that has built up on your monitor, if it's over a few months old. If you smoke, or live or work in a large city, you'll get plenty of this tar and diesel gunk yellowing up your screen (didn't you know that the Jukka Dim Theme was supposed to be pure white?!) Here is a labour-intensive yet safe and effective method :

You will need one large, expendable and fairly coarse cotton rag (I recommend a handkerchief), and one standard black computer power cable - of the sort with a wall plug at one end and a female three-pronged plug at the other. Take the end that you stick in your PC and wrap the rag tightly around it. You want to have one layer of cotton stretched over the hard edge of the plug.

Holding this with your index finger outstretched gives you a powerful scraping tool. Put a pure white background image on your screen (preferably this should be the only thing on screen). Now start rubbing, until you have no bits of dirt left. Pay particular attention to the corners and edges. You will intermittently have to reposition the rag on the socket as it will have picked up a nice sliver of pure evil. This method also works on the flat areas of the monitor housing, although a damp cloth would be easier for that.

If you have a flat panel monitor, you should be extremely careful when cleaning it.

Normal CRT-based monitors have a piece of glass anywhere from half an inch to a full inch thick on the front. This makes them rather strong and nearly impervious to damage. Flat panels, however, generally have a thin plastic anti-glare coating over the actual glass LCD panel. The glass that makes up the front surface of an LCD panel is very thin, so it bends easily under pressure.

If you apply too much pressure to a flat panel, you can damage it severely. Therefore, flat panels should be cleaned very softly, and since the front surface is plastic, with a soft cloth as it will scratch much more readily than a glass CRT screen. You should also avoid using solvents to clean flat panels; they can damage the plastic anti-glare sheet.

Cleaning the flat panel while it is on and displaying an image helps; you should avoid pressing hard enough to discolour the image.

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