Not too long ago, I got a new flat-panel LCD monitor. Then I got another one, so I’d have a dual LCD monitor system. After years of using a big 21″ conventional Cathode Ray Tube (CRT) display, the two flat panel monitors on my desk seem downright high tech. Because I’m not much of a neatnik, I haven’t really thought about cleaning them. As it turns out, my negligence may be a good thing. Cleaning your LCD incorrectly can damage it. CRTs are made from glass, but LCDs are made from plastic, so you need to clean these newfangled monitors more carefully.
If you are used to cleaning your old CRT with Windex and paper towels, don’t try it with your LCD display. Ammonia-based cleaners are the enemy of flat-panel screens. Paper towels or other wood-based paper products are too. Using ammonia can damage the anti-reflective coating and cause the screen to become cloudy. Wood-based paper products can scratch the display.
If you wear eyeglasses, you may see a parallel here. The difference in cleaning techniques between CRTs and LCDs is much like the difference in cleaning glass eyeglass lenses and plastic or coated ones. When you bought your glasses, the folks at the store probably gave you a little lecture about how to clean them correctly.
You should clean your LCD monitor in much the same way as you would those expensive stylish glasses. When you clean a flat panel display, use a lightly dampened soft cloth. Start at the top of the display and wipe the screen gently from left to right. If you get any water or stains on the monitor, clean it immediately. Don’t spray any cleaning solution directly on the screen or use any paper products to clean the display, unless they have been specifically manufactured for use on LCDs.
As with any monitor, don’t touch the screen and keep your calendars, photographs, post-its, and other detritus attached only to the outside plastic frame, not the display itself.