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February 9, 2004 6:10 AM   Subscribe

How should one go about cleaning a laptop screen? I've always cleaned my regular monitors with good old Windex, but my Mac Powerbook manual recommends using only specialized cleaners (costly wipes) for active-matrix displays.
posted by sharksandwich to Technology (9 answers total)
I've been using Kleenex dampened with Windex on my Dell laptop screen (15.4 active matrix) for years with no scratches or other adverse effects.
posted by AstroGuy at 6:14 AM on February 9, 2004

Save those wetnaps from KFC, BBQ joints, etc. and use them. I use them and they work fine.

If you have small children, DON'T give into the temptation to use diaper wipes, as most of them have emolients, perfumes, etc.
posted by briank at 6:18 AM on February 9, 2004

I use a barely-damp cloth to clean mine. No problems.
posted by eilatan at 6:22 AM on February 9, 2004

I -just- used a kleenex and whiteboard cleaner (it was at hand, and I could tolerate my dirty screen no longer). It worked well, and my powerbook's screen hasn't dissolved. Yet.
posted by funkbrain at 6:29 AM on February 9, 2004

See here.
posted by monju_bosatsu at 7:06 AM on February 9, 2004

You can get these things at the AppleStore called iKlear. Their website is here. It cleans, it dices, it practically does it itself!
posted by grimley at 8:12 AM on February 9, 2004

I use half rubbing alcohol and half water. It cleans without stripping the anti-reflective coating on LCD monitors.
posted by amery at 9:09 AM on February 9, 2004

>I use half rubbing alcohol and half water.

That makes it 35% alcohol. Just pointing that out... sorry... I really felt like it. :-)
posted by shepd at 10:40 AM on February 9, 2004

Household glass cleaners may remove the protective coating from LCD and even some CRT displays, so most manufacturers these days recommend either just water, or cleaners that have no alcohol or ammonia. It's the ammonia in most Windex-type solutions that can cause grief. (Apple's recommendation is here.) The KlearScreen folks say that using cleaners with alcohol can make plastic screens yellow or brittle over time, and they particularly rail against generic "technology" cleaners that say they're good for laptops.

Nonetheless, I usually use the standard Staples screen-cleaning spray that contains some ethanol, and the Staples lint-free cloths. Then again, I don't use it "2-3 times per week" as it recommends, but maybe twice a month. I've used KlearScreen products in the past and were pleased with them; the Staples stuff is just easier to get locally.

KlearScreen implies that its solution can help resist fingerprinting and reduce static, and that's why it's useful over the only other "safe" alternative, vinegar and water. At the very least, it seems clear (no pun intended) that you shouldn't use harsh cleaners with ammonia or that caution about fire danger, nor should you use harsh cloths.
posted by mdeatherage at 11:59 AM on February 9, 2004

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