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Touch Screen Cleaning: How to safely clean a laptop screen

Touch Screen Cleaning: How to safely clean a laptop screen

Cleaning touchscreens is a daily task that needs to be done safely. There are several ways to safely clean a laptop screen, such as touchscreen cleaning wipes, lint-free microfiber cloths, and touchscreen sprays.

To safely Clean a laptop screen without destroying it, any alcohol-based cleaners such as Windex or Lysol should be avoided as they can damage the display and cause discoloration. You should also avoid using tissues, paper towels and toilet paper as they may scratch and abrade the screen. Water can be used on microfiber cloths, but only a very small amount.

I personally use MiracleWipes since they are designed for touchscreens. I damaged my screen using a papertowel and Windex in the past, and since then went with the proper cleaning product.

See our post: Is a Touch Screen Laptop Worth it? (Touchscreen vs Non Touch Screen)

Many users cleaning their touchscreen device (iPad, phone, tablet, laptop, and computer) are afraid if they use the wrong cleaning supply they might destroy or up their touch screen laptop.

How to clean a touch screen laptop Safely 1

Related: iPad vs Laptop Pros and Cons: Replacing a Laptop with iPad

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Manufacturers aren’t always clear and the user may not know how it works, if something damages it, or what works best. Which is what we will explain in further detail.

In this post, I will go over the best methods for cleaning a touch screen computer screen or a laptop without a touchscreen.

Some methods do not entirely clean the bacteria off and its important to know which do and which don’t in addition to looking out for the safety of your touchscreen device’s screen.

The methods listed in this article are those that I have personally tested and found to be the safest methods for cleaning an electronic display.

Does Alcohol damage touch screens?

Does Alcohol damage touch screens_

Although alcohol-based cleaning solutions are effective for cleaning non-touch screen laptops, rubbing alcohol should not be used to clean a touch screen device.

Glass cleaners like Windex and all-purpose cleaners like Lysol should be avoided because of the risk of damaging the touchscreen. The problem with such disinfectants is that they contain strong cleaning chemicals.

Touchscreen devices have a special oleophobic coating (membrane) that can be damaged by alcohol. So if you clean your touchscreen with alcohol, it can damage the screen by discoloring it. For this reason, we have identified the best ways to clean a laptop touchscreen.

If you’re drawing on your laptop, see: Best Laptops for Sketchup (Designers Guide)

How to clean a touch screen laptop (Safely)

Below we explore and describe all the ways to clean a touchscreen laptop and a standard laptop screen/display while avoiding damage to your screen. Be sure to understand what type of device you are using and test in small amounts to be extra safe.

1. MiracleWipes: Touch screen cleaning wipes

MiracleWipes Touch screen cleaning wipes

As one of the most popular screen wipes on Amazon, MiracleWipes are ideal for cleaning all screens, including touchscreens. Therefore, whether you want to clean the screen of your MacBook, TV or the touchscreen of your Lenovo laptop, MiracleWipes are a smart solution.

Are you a programmer whose looking to clean your mac? Then you may want to see if the MacBook Air is actually Good for Programming? (The Truth)

The pack contains 30 (or 60) cleaning wipes that won’t cause damage to screens and surfaces. Thanks to their Quick-Dry formula, these wipes dry quickly and remove all water stains, skin oils, fingerprints, etc. A MiracleWipes pack also contains a high quality microfiber cloth for regular wiping of your screens.

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Lastly, the pack of wet wipes is available at a very affordable price. In a few words, this is one of the most efficient ways to clean a touchscreen.

2. Magic Fiber: Cleaning a touch screen with lint-free Microfiber cloth (avoids streaks)

Magic Fiber Cleaning a touch screen with lint-free Microfiber cloth (avoids streaks)

Magic Fiber is another reliable solution ideal for cleaning touchscreen devices. In contrast to the MiracleWipes reviewed above, Magic Fiber is a pack of microfiber cleaning cloths. Likewise, this is an excellent solution if you want to remove dust, smudges, fingerprints, and dirt. A great thing about magic fiber clothes is that they are specially designed for screens of any kind. 

Likewise, Magic Fiber is a great solution for cleaning your smartphone screen, non-touchscreen Dell laptop, or touchscreen Asus laptop. Additionally, Magic Fiber cleaning cloths are ideal for touchscreen devices as they don’t leave scratches, marks, or streaks. 

Also see: How Fast is Technology Advancing? [Growth Charts & Statistics].

Although Miracle Wipes are better when it comes to wiping your touchscreen (as they are wet wipes), magic fiber is an excellent solution for safe, dry cleaning.

3. Mist Cleaner: Use a Touch screen Spray to clean your laptop, computer or tablet

Mist Cleaner Use a Touch screen Spray to clean your laptop, computer or tablet

Mist Cleaner works differently than the products reviewed above. This is one of the few cleaning products that allow you to spray a touchscreen safely. As a super portable cleaner (it has lipstick size), this is a high-end yet affordable cleaning solution. 

Mist Cleaner comes as a two-in-one package. It includes a spray and a microfiber cloth. This combination will clean and disinfect any touchscreen in no time. Mist Cleaner should be used at a distance of 10 cm from your screen as with all sprays. As long as you follow this simple rule, Mist Cleaner won’t harm any touchscreen device as it doesn’t contain alcohol or any other cleaning chemical. 

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To sum up, Mist Cleaner is the best choice for those who need to spray and clean a touchscreen safely.

4. Avoid using a tissue or paper towel, or toilet paper to clean a touch screen device (including tablets)

Avoid using a tissue or paper towel, or toilet paper to clean a touch screen device (including tablets)

Although many people use to clean their laptops screen with tissues, paper towels, and toilet paper, this isn’t a brilliant idea. Using such methods isn’t recommended as it could scratch and scrape the screen. Even if you try to clean the screen softly and with a circular motion, this doesn’t necessarily mean it won’t damage the touchscreen. 

If you have a tablet with a good camera, you may also want to consider this method as to not scratch the camera.

So, you should always use specially created dry clothes to remove any moisture. Using a lint-free microfiber cloth such as the Magic Fiber reviewed above is the best way to go.

5. Alcohol based cleaning supplies should not be used

Alcohol based cleaning supplies should not be used

All of the suggested cleaning methods reviewed above have a common feature: they aren’t alcohol-based. Unfortunately, even if you use a tiny amount of an alcohol-based cleaning supply, it still can damage your touchscreen. What we mean by that is that cleaners like Windex can interfere with the touch panel of your screen. This can be catastrophic for your ability to perform touch commands. 

Related: 7 Best Stylus Pens for Touch Screen Laptops

How to clean a touchscreen laptop chart to avoid damage to your display:

CleanerCleaning typeSafe for most touchscreens?
WindexAlcohol basedNo
LysolAlcohol basedNo
Mist CleanerNon alcohol basedSafe for most touchscreens
Magic FiberNon alcohol basedSafe for most touchscreens

 Apart from that, alcohol-based cleaners can also damage (discoloration) non-touchscreen devices such as traditional HP laptops, Acer laptops, Apple MacBooks etc. For all these reasons, you should always prefer non-alcohol-based cleaners to wipe any electronic display.

If you’re using an Apple pencil 2 or 1, you may want to consider your screen more valuable and get a non alcohol based cleaner.

Some wipes have a very small amount of alcohol in them and can be used at your discretion, most users claim it doesn’t destroy their device, but its better to go with a non alcohol based solution if you’re worried about your electronic being damaged.

6. Do not use an abundance of water

Do not use an abundance of water

What happens if you run out of microfiber cloths or touchscreen cleaning wipes? Well, you can still use a small amount of water. Still, this isn’t the best solution as water will smear your display. If you use a larger amount of water or hot water, this will likely damage your screen and leave streaks. 

That being said, using a very light spray of water on tissue paper could be an emergency solution. However, you have to be very careful with the amount and temperature of the water. 

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Also see: 10 Best Touch Screen Laptops for Drawing if you plan to swap from non touch to touch screen and are an artist or designer.

7. Do not leave the touch screen laptop on when cleaning the device

Do not leave the touch screen laptop on when cleaning the device

Leaving the touch screen on is one of the most common reasons people damage their devices’ touchscreens. Of course, using a microfiber cloth won’t cause any damage to the screen. However, if you use wet wipes or a non-alcohol-based cleaner like MistCleaner, you should always turn off your device before cleaning the display.

In fact, cleaning your screen in such ways without turning off your device can result in damaging your touchscreen display permanently. This also applies to all electronic displays, like the IPS screens of traditional (non-touchscreen) Dell laptops. Also, even though this is extremely rare, leaving the touchscreen on and cleaning it with wet wipes or sprays might shock you.

How to clean various touchscreen laptops

When it comes to popular touchscreen laptops like the Surface Pro, Dell XPS, Lenovo Yoga 2-in-1, ASUS ZenBook Flip, and Acer Spin, the approach to cleaning remains consistent. These screens are sensitive, and using abrasive materials or harsh chemicals can lead to scratches or damage. Always opt for a microfiber cloth, which is soft and designed to pick up dust and smudges without scratching the screen.

For stubborn spots or fingerprints, slightly dampen a corner of the microfiber cloth with distilled water and gently wipe the area. Avoid using tap water, as it can leave mineral deposits on the screen. Remember, the key is to be gentle and patient, ensuring you don’t apply too much pressure or use any products that might harm the delicate touchscreen surface.

Touch screen cleaning: Cleaning a Macbook display

You should be careful when cleaning the screen of all devices. Whether you own a touchscreen tablet like an iPad or a non-touchscreen one like Macbooks, using regular (alcohol-based) cleaners could damage the screen. The new Apple Retina screens are pretty resistant to water damage. 

Still, if you need to clean your screen, you should only use the cloth that came with your Macbook or another lint-free cloth. Alternatively, you can use wet wipes or sprays that are specially designed for screen cleaning (see above).  

Touchscreen cleaner for car

Most modern cars come with high-end touchscreen displays. You should be very careful when cleaning a car touchscreen. Most touch screens made for cars are used as control panels for many features, including the GPS, radio, AC, etc. Since those features are critical, you shouldn’t use alcohol-based cleaners. 

In fact, such cleaners can damage your screen and affect the function of the car’s AC or GPS. Since touch screens for cars are generally more sensitive, you should also avoid cleaning them with water. That being said, using a cloth or (certified for touchscreens) wet wipes are the best ways to go.

Will water damage cause a touch screen to not work?

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Even though using water to clean a touch screen won’t necessarily damage it, you should proceed carefully. If you run out of wet wipes or sprays for touch screens, you can use a small amount of water on a microfiber cloth. However, you shouldn’t use hot water, as it might harm the screen. 

Still, cleaning a touchscreen device with water isn’t effective either. In most cases, water will leave streaks. Even if you spray your cloth with a small amount of water, it won’t clean the screen properly, and you risk causing your touch screen to not work. For this reason, we do not recommend cleaning any electronic screen with water.

There are a few different Ways to Write and Draw on a Non Touch Screen Laptop, so depending on which route you take the water damage may differ in severity (if at all).

If concerned with the actual bacterial cleaning of a computer touch screen you may want to more closely consider your options and view a purely educational source for this data (source).

How to clean a computer screen or non touch screen laptop

Can I use Lysol on touchscreen

Although cleaners like Lysol are highly effective for numerous tasks, touchscreen cleaning isn’t one of them. In fact, most all-purpose cleaners like Lysol are alcohol-based. Alcohol will likely destroy the membrane (oleophobic coating) of touchscreen devices like the Microsoft Surface Pro. For this reason, using cleaners like Lysol to clean a touchscreen isn’t a good idea.

Can I use Clorox disinfecting wipes

As with cleaners like Lysol, using Clorox disinfecting wipes to clean any laptop screen isn’t recommended. Most screens come with a thin outer film. Such disinfectant wipes tend to harm this film. For this reason, you should only use sprays or wet wipes that are specially designed to clean laptop, tablet, and mobile phone screens. 

Bleach on touch screentouchscreen screen safe antimicrobial spray

As mentioned above, Strong disinfectants shouldn’t be used on all types of touchscreen devices. Likewise, cleaners that contain alcohol, bleach, ammonia, or hydrogen peroxide should be avoided. Therefore, using any type of bleach antimicrobial spray on a touch screen isn’t a safe option. 

Can magnets damage touch screens

Magnets can harm touchscreen devices. However, for this to happen, it requires a big and strong magnet. So if you drop a magnet on your touchscreen, there are not many chances to damage or ruin it. In fact, most modern LCD screens like those on laptops and smartphones are not easily affected by magnets. 

Bottom line

Conclusion how you can clean a laptop safelyLaptop cleaning

In this post, we have covered the best ways to clean a laptop touchscreen.To safely clean a touch screen as well as a non touchscreen laptop, alcohol based cleaning products should be avoided.

A laptop owner should never use rubbing alcohol for a touchscreen display specifically because it has been shown to damage the screen and not prove safe for the longevity of the devices display.

This means avoiding Windex, Lysol, and other similar products.The chemicals can certainly interfere with the touchscreen devices touch coating (Oleophic coating). By using these products, and not a dedicated touchscreen wipe or method, you can cause a color issue on the display (discoloring). 

About the author:

Photo of Paul Michael, Founder of MediaPeanut

Paul Michael

Paul Michael is a media and technology expert whose research reveals how technology and media are being used in the world today. He has expertise on computers, the internet, streaming, Roku, electronics, and education. He also enjoys graphic design & digital art. Paul has his Bachelors of Arts and Science(s) from Rutgers University-New Brunswick, NJ