Hardware, Technology

How-to: Safely Clean Your Tablet or Smart-phone’s Touch-screen

Screen Cleaner by Jeremiah CCleaning a screen on a phone or a tablet should be simple. You don’t need special cleaning solutions or purpose-made cloths. You should know what to avoid; Windowlene, washing up liquid, most soaps, paper towel, tissues and kitchen towel.

Anything you touch is going to build up a layer of finger grease. This is inevitable. If your skin wasn’t moist and a bit greasy, it would fall apart and then how would you look with no skin? Yeeukk!

Washing your hands more often will lessen the problem (as well as being good hygiene). Cleaned gently and frequently, however, your touch screens should stay in good condition.


  • Don’t use harsh chemicals – glass cleaners, washing up liquid, most soaps, anything with ammonia. They are all far too abrasive and over time, the micro-scratches will damage the screen.
  • Don’t use paper towel, tissues and kitchen towel. No matter how absorbent. No wet-wipes or baby wipes. And nothing impregnated with ‘balm’. All these are abrasive as well. See above.
  • Don’t use too much water – it will find it’s way around the screen edges and into the electronics.


  • DO use a Microfibre Cloth – the ones you get for cleaning spectacles. Cotton cloths aren’t fine enough (but a good quality fine wool scarf will do for an emergency).
  • DO put a small amount of water onto the cloth, NOT directly onto the screen, but only if the screen is really dirty.
  • Do turn off the device before you clean it, especially if using water. Turning off the screen allows you to see the dirt more easily. It also means you won’t accidentally delete all your contacts while the touch screen is live.
  • DO alternate horizontal and vertical wipes across the touch-screen; clean with one pass in one direction and then wipe in the other. Rubbing in small circles only smears the grease and scours the dirt into the surface.
  • DO wipe to the edges of the screen so you can lift the dirt off. Rotate or reverse your cloth so you use a clean portion on each pass.
  • DO dry the screen with a dry part of the microfibre cloth.

You can buy cleaning kits and cleaning solutions like iKlenz and Monster CleanTouch, but a clean microfibre cloth and some water will work lift the grease marks off in normal use.

And don’t be tempted to use a cat to clean the screen. That picture’s a joke. Okay – joke? AJS

Image credit: Screen cleaner by JerimiahC under Creative Commons Attribution Non- commercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License, some rights reserved.

About Allan J. Smithie

Allan J. Smithie is a journalist and commentator based in Dubai.


2 thoughts on “How-to: Safely Clean Your Tablet or Smart-phone’s Touch-screen

  1. Will probably be back to get more. Thank you

    Posted by Margo Gary | Feb 17, 2013, 11:30 pm
  2. Do you have any video of that? I’d want to find out more details.

    Posted by Iconia PC Tablet Dengan Windows 8 | Feb 25, 2013, 7:37 pm

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