Our laptops can be a lifeline - all your work, games, and social media are in one place. They provide us with entertainment and resources not possible anywhere else. So when the screen is clouded with fingerprints, it can be irritating to look at. Especially if you have a touch screen, the fingerprints can build up.
How exactly do you safely clean off the fingerprints? Follow this guide for a rundown on how to clean fingerprints off laptop screen.
Is It Possible To Completely Clean Fingerprints Off Laptop Screens?
The oil deposits and residue from our fingers transfer onto the screen when we touch it. They are naturally occurring and come from food, rubbing our skin, or the outside world.
Once they’re on the screen, the oil and deposits will dry up and cause the mark to darken, leaving behind a visible fingerprint. If you have a touchscreen laptop, you will be using your fingers a lot more. You can also see the fingerprints on your phone screen from consistent use.
Cleaning the fingerprints off can be frustrating since they will seem to just spread instead of wiping off. But thankfully, there are ways we can clean off the fingerprints with ease. Below are some steps you can take to successfully remove any fingerprints off your screen.
How To Clean Fingerprints Off Laptop Screen? (Step-By-Step Guide)
There are a few different cleaning solutions you can use to clean off a laptop screen safely. You also don’t want to use any abrasive cleaning products that could cause damage to your screen. The tools for the job are:
There are two types of computer screens: glass-coated (more common on new Mac displays) or LCD/LED screens. Don’t use disinfectant wipes on an LCD/LED screen, as you can damage the pixels making up the display.
- 1Turn Off The Computer
You should allow your laptop/computer to cool completely before attempting to clean it. A black screen will better show smudges.
Spray the screen with the air duster, or if you don’t have one, use a dry cotton or microfiber cloth to dust away any particles which could cause damage.
- 3Prepare Your Cleaner
Mix a solution of 50/50 distilled water and isopropyl alcohol or white vinegar. You can use the spray bottle to moisten the cloth, which will evenly distribute the solution.
- 4Use Your Cleaner
Wipe the screen from top to bottom (or left to right) with the moist cloth. Check you have cleared the fingerprints before finishing. Don’t use too much force here, as you could cause damage to your screen.
Allow the screen to dry completely, or if there are some streaks, use a dry cloth to buff the screen gently. If streaks or fingerprints persist after doing this, repeat the steps again until you’re satisfied it’s clean.
Additionally, you can also use a disinfectant wipe to gently clean off a glass display. This will remove any bacteria left on the screen, which could be transferred onto your fingers.
Make sure you treat your screen with care, as even light pressure can cause discoloration or dead pixels. Your screen will need replacing if this happens.
Related: How To Clean A Laptop Internally
Important Reminders Before Cleaning Fingerprints Off Your Laptop Screen
Refer To User Guide
Your laptop will have come with a manual, which will have specific safety precautions to care for your computer. However, you should always check the user guide first to make sure there aren't any specific steps to avoid when cleaning.
Turn Off Your Laptop
Wiping a solution onto a working laptop can cause any residue static to shock you, which isn't pleasant. It's also a good safety practice to keep your laptop off while handling liquids near and onto the screen.
Don’t Spray Directly On Screen
Any drips left from the spray can seep into your laptop, which will inevitably cause component damage. The mist from the spray will also dry quicker and leave you with more marks than you started.
Don’t Use Abrasive Cleaners
Avoid bleach, all-purpose spray cleaners, or anything containing hydrogen peroxide. These chemicals are strong enough to wipe off the finish of your screen or cause damage to the pixels below. Softer cleaners will protect your screen.
Avoid Tap Water If You Can
Hard water areas contain calcium and magnesium, which can damage the screen or leave more streaks. If you live in a soft water area, it shouldn't be so much of an issue, but it's always better to use filtered or bottled water with the minerals taken out.
Use Soft Cloths
A microfiber or 100% cotton cloth is more gentle and won’t cause any damage to your screen as you wipe. Don’t use a harsh cloth, a brillo pad, or a kitchen sponge, as these are designed to scrub debris away and will scratch your screen.
Using too much pressure can damage the pixels on your screen, which leads to discoloration and dead pixels. A glass-coated screen is fragile, and too much pressure could shatter or crack it, leading to an expensive screen replacement.
Preventing Fingerprints On Laptops
With a touchscreen laptop, fingerprints may seem inevitable. Our phones are constantly covered in fingerprints from where our fingers touch the screen and leave behind oily deposits.
The middle of your finger is usually the oiliest; where we touch food, rub our face, etc. This is the part that will leave behind those smudges. Some things you can do to prevent fingerprints altogether include:
Common Laptop Screen Cleaning Questions
Why are fingerprints hard to clean off?
The fingerprint is composed of oily residue from the surface of the skin, plus any oil picked up during the day. Due to screens being flat, clear surfaces, fingerprints can easily form and dry onto the screen, which will then be tough to wipe off later.
Can you use presoaked alcohol pads to clean a laptop screen?
You should avoid using presoaked alcohol pads, as they can leave a film on your screen. They also have other chemicals mixed in, which can lead to substantial damage to the pixels on an LCD/LED screen.
Can I use hand sanitizer to clean my laptop screen?
Yes! Hand sanitizer is a gentle disinfectant for your hands and contains an isopropyl alcohol solution. This will clear away fingerprints easily on your laptop or phone screen. Squirt a little hand sanitizer onto a microfiber cloth and spread evenly to remove fingerprints.
Can I use an eyeglass cleaner to clean my computer screen?
Yes! The eyeglass cleaner is designed to protect the anti-reflective layer on your glasses, so it will also protect the anti-reflective layer on your screen. Use a sparing amount on a microfiber cloth and rub from left to right gently.
Fingerprints can be a nuisance to you and your laptop, and now we can easily clear them away with no hassle. It’s about being gentle, using non-abrasive cleaners and a soft cloth. Treat your laptop screen with care; it’s delicate and requires a soft touch to clean away fingerprints. Gently does it!
Related: How To Clean A Laptop USB-C Port
Holly Curell is a US-based freelance writer & editor extraordinaire. With over a decade of writing technical manuals, blog articles, & even company communications, Holly has a passion for providing value to readers on everything she knows about tech-related topics. When she’s not writing, Holly enjoys reading, hiking, wine, & wandering the aisles of Trader Joe’s. Holly is currently based out of North Carolina, where she lives with her husband Ken & their three children.