One of my favorite things about being “Crunchy Betty” is the way it really enhances the quality of conversation my friends and I have.
Before, our conversations would go something like this:
“Wanna go get coffee?”
“I dreamt about cheese last night.”
“Cool. I like cheese.”
Now, we share tips instead. This tip comes from my technologically obsessed, electronically gifted friend Ryan. I would trust him with the life of all of my ridiculously overpriced electronic goods, so take this in good faith.
He actually INSISTED that I share this recipe/tip with you guys, because it’s worked so well for him. The cleaning of LCD, plasma, and other highly sensitive screens is no laughing matter (like, it really isn’t, hahaha). I mean, really, it isn’t. There are several do-and-don’ts you should follow when taking care of your electronics, specifically your screens.
So here is the wisdom Ryan shared with me, so you can prolong the life of your LCD/plasma screens, and save some money by NOT purchasing expensive screen cleaners (which are actually pretty much exactly the recipe I’m about to share with you).
Clean Your LCD and Plasma Screens With This 2-Ingredient Homemade Cleaner
Yes, it is seriously only two ingredients, but there’s a little more you should keep in mind …
We’ll do the recipe first, and then I’ll share the Very Important Screen Knowledge at the end. This won’t take long. Because … two ingredients.
Here’s what you need:
- Isopropyl alcohol
- Distilled water
In equal quantities. And you don’t even really have to measure. Just half and half. Easy as pie.
But if you WANT to measure, let’s say, oh … 1/4 c. distilled water and 1/4 c. isopropyl alcohol (at least 70%). Isopropyl alcohol is also known as rubbing alcohol.
That is it.
They need to be in a spray bottle, though. And here’s a cool thing I learned. I had a bottle of rubbing alcohol that was 1/4 full, so I filled it halfway with distilled water and then reached under my sink for one of the many wayward spray bottle tops I keep around (because they also fit perfectly on an empty bottle of Bragg’s apple cider vinegar) …
And it fit! Perfectly!
So, while you may want to ditch old bottles that cleaning supplies came in, never ditch the spray tops. You’d be amazed at how many different ways you can reuse these things.
Money-Saving Truth: I just checked the price for a well-known brand of screen cleaner (and remember, most of them are just about the same thing that our homemade cleaner is) and the price for 16 oz of a name brand screen cleaner is $13.73. Would you like to know how much 16 oz of my homemade screen cleaner cost me? $1.47. That is a savings of $12.76.
And now that you know how to make this spray cleaner, here are some things Ryan and the Internet suggest you keep in mind, to keep your screens crystal clear and gorgeous forever or until the warranty runs out.
LCD and Plasma Screen Cleaning Tips
First, you might be asking yourself, “Can’t I just use Windex or Alvin Corn to clean my screens?” And the answer is … no. Not if you want streak-free, healthy screens. Windex contains chemicals that are harsh for delicate LCD/plasma screens, and Alvin Corn will leave behind residue on their unique surfaces.
So the first tip is:
- When in doubt, use as few “ingredients” on your screen as possible. In fact, you may find that just dampening a clean rag with distilled water is enough. It’s not for me, because I touch my laptop screen with my grubby hands. Why? Because I can. Don’t judge me.
- Don’t use paper towels to wipe your screens (or any delicate glass like glasses lenses, etc.). Paper towels are scratchy, and they’ll leave behind little nicks in your screen if you’re not very careful. Only use very soft old cloths (like a soft, worn T-shirt or cotton flannel like I have pictured in the middle here) or microfiber cloths.
For as much as I enjoy reusing old things instead of buying new things, though, I have to admit that the microfiber cloth I have pictured did a much better job at cleaning our LCD TV screen without a hint of streaks. It’s a very soft microfiber that’s made specifically for delicate surfaces. (And I found it in the cleaning aisle of our local grocery store.)
- Whatever cloth you DO use, though,do not use any fabric softener in the wash or dryer with it. Fabric softener will leave behind oils and other gunk that’ll leave your screens streaky and worse off than they were before. Plus, fabric softener almost always = synthetic fragrance. Blech.
For some reason, this is a habit of mine that’s hard to break.
- Never spray directly on a screen or other electronic device. Why? Because you’ll end up with water dripping into places where it DOES NOT BELONG. Like your hard drive. Or the corners of your TV screen. Or your cat.Always spray on the cloth first and then wipe. No drips. No fried electronics. No psychotic cat.
- Only use distilled water for screen cleaning recipes – never use tap or “regular” bottled water. Tap and bottled water contains all sorts of minerals and other chemicals that will leave behind deposits and junk on your screen. Even filtered water doesn’t remove all the heavy metals and minerals you want to avoid. Distilled water is pure and lacking anything that will eventually lead to build-up or a mucky screen.
And I think that concludes today’s lesson from our good friend Ryan (and the Internet).
One last thing: You can use this spray combination for all kinds of things:
- Plasma and LCD screens (of course).
- Eye glasses
- iPad and tablet screens
- Smart phone screens (and bodies)
Do you have any electronics care tips to share?
Before using a cleaner containing alcohol, read the instructions. Alcohol will damage the coatings on some screens.
For my laptop and Nook (it was a present!), I just use a cotton ball lightly moistened (not dripping) with Witch Hazel. It does a really good job.
Many screen protectors are made out of plastic which is eroded by isopropyl alcohol, this is good for almost anything but phones.
Source: IT professional.
Which is one reason I never use screen protectors. That and the fact that they almost always bubble up and look horrendous!
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So for the other aspect of the boat I switched to some Zaino AIO I had left over.
the window cleaner is the best I ever used. I used to hate cleaning windows.
Never put it on a piercing or cut. It is too strong and not only kills the bad bacteria but kills the good skin cells and prolongs healing time
I read you s should not use rubbing alcohol but instead use a50/50/ solution of distilled water and white vinegar with a microfiber cloth. Now I am confused. Which is better to use?
Idk how this works but a good cleaner is glasses cleaner the stuff u clean glasses with
I found a product called whoosh, it’s a NON toxic (alcohol and ammonia free) cleaner… it cleans all kinds of electronics, AND it kills germs.. ??!!.. i dont want to spend the amount they want.. any chance you can somehow figure out what the product is made of? one clue i found out was that they used to detail cars, and one of the products spilled on their ipad and they discovered that it cleaned it to perfection!
any ideas would be greatly appreciated!!
Thank you very much! Also thatnk you for the tip about not using rags to clean applience screens with. Very helpful! I love how in life you learn something new everyday. Yes I am overly happy today
I used to work for AppleCare and people would call asking if I had a special kind of screen cleaner to officially recommend for Apple products. The Apple website has some stupid WHOOSH! brand gimmick for $19.95, but to be honest I recommended exactly what you have in this article. I feel like I should have found this before I quit because I swear I would have forwarded it to people.
Alcohol/dist. water works great for lots of cleaning projects. I keep a bottle mixed up and use it to sanitize granite counter tops, clean appliances, mirrors, windows. Even my hardwood floors! It evaps so quickly, no harm to the wood. Spray lightly, then go over with the microfiber mop. Lots cheaper than the hdwd floor cleaners found in spray bottles, which have high alcohol content. BTW, for general cleaning, u can add a couple of drops of your favorite essential oil to the mix. Smells very nice. Altho don’t use the oil mixture for cleaning electronics.
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I just spray on my led screen only once…when I turn on my tv ..its not turning on but sensor light in working but after blinking TV turn of …. it is because of water… or some other reason could be?? Please tell me.
I too have seen where they came out shortly after this blog post was written that some manufacturers are not recommending against the use of alcohol on screens. I’ve seen some blogs indicate using distilled water and white vinegar. Can you speak to these Ryan?
I’ve seen many manufacturers recommend not using anything with alchohol on electronic screens….now I’m confused 🙁
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I’ve been using straight rubbing alcohol for years to clean my electronic screens (and even my countertops and showers). I’m glad you stressed the importance of spraying the cloth, rather than the screen. My husband wanted to help disinfect things around the house while I had a horrible case of the flu, and I neglected to mention spraying the cloth. While spraying the ENTIRE laptop, a couple large drops of rubbing alcohol dripped right between the keys of our laptop, and poof…bye-bye laptop. We were able to dry it out with a hair dryer on low and it seemed to work for a few weeks (though it seemed to run a bit roughly). We had it looked at by a professional computer repair person, but there was nothing we could do to save it/restore it to its previous condition. So, kids, listen to Crunchy Betty….spray the cloth, not the screen! (or the keyboard, for that matter)
“Spray the cloth, not the screen” also translates to EVERY piece of framed artwork you own – ALWAYS spray the cloth, NEVER spray the glass directly.
Not only is the glass cleaner sure to run behind the glass and cause unsightly smears, but it can affect (read: destroy) paper mats and/or artwork, and even wooden frames, leading to often-irreparable harm.
Take this from a Certified Picture Framer who owned my own frame shop and gallery for five years. ALWAYS spray the cloth – you can’t go wrong.
i also forgot to say that i would have never thought of saving the empty Isopropyl alcohol bottles and fitting a spray top to them (just be sure to relabel them as i believe Ryan said). however before i even knew about the distilled water and Isopropyl alcohol recipe, i have been using a name brand screen cleaner i think it was Monster or some other similar brand that cost me $14 so i might just keep that bottle to make this recipe for when the Monster cleaner runs out. i also believe that someone should state what type of microfiber cloths are the best to use. for me i find that the washcloth looking ones (such as the 3M or Scotch brand) work the best as the fibers are strong enough to scrub away the dirt,grime and dust from the screen, but still gentle enough so that you can be sure that it will not scratch the screen.
Thank you Betty and Ryan for creating such a good website and these screen cleaning tips.
Hi Betty and Ryan, i just wanted to give my 2 cents worth and say that i have been using the distilled water and 70% Isopropyl alcohol (they make stronger but 70% is the strongest that i have found) recipe for years and never had any problems. i can also say ( that i believe Betty also says) it really does keep all of my screens crystal clear, and it also works great for cleaning CD’s although i believe someone may have already mentioned that. i also believe something worth mentioning is that i believe some people may not realize that most of the expensive screen and CD cleaners that they sell at the electronics stores are really just the alcohol and distilled water all ready premixed. and so i say and agree with Betty and Ryan on why waste money on those expensive screen cleaners when you can save money and make your own.
i have a ton of fly poop on my screen…i bought the philips screen cleaner and all it did was make a huge mess and smear all over the screen, now i cant get the smears off the screen PLEASE HELP ME!!
I have the same problem. If you get a reply, please let me know. Thank you
can you use vodka instead of rubbing or isopropyl alcohol?
Vodka is made from potatoes – would you suggest wiping your screen with one?
Only some vodka is made from potatoes. Most vodkas are made from grains, and a few are made only from sugar, block yeast and water.
All, by the time they are vodka, are more or less pure alcohol plus water, and can be used for this recipe – or enjoyed while using isopropyl alcohol instead. 😉
i just coughed mid-sip and sprayed green tea and honey all over my poor laptop. but now i’m motivated to pick up some distilled water and finally try this!
How about LED screens with a child’s fingerprints? And those jabs aren’t gentle either!
This stuff is amazing on my droid, computer screens, game cds (I haven no idea how my son manages to get that much crud on one game disc) and tvs. I will keep it in a baggie with it’s own microfiber cloth. I also made the Alvin Corn glass cleaner and compared it with windex on a mirror.. and then promptly trashed the windex. I love, love, love your recipes! Thank you for posting them!
This is a GREAT tip! I just bought expensive screen cleaning wipes and about keeled over from the strong fumes when I opened them – from now on, it’s simple alcohol and distilled water for me!!
I made the screen cleaner today. Not only did it do a great job of cleaning my computer and cell phone screens, but it is fantastic for cleaning my stainless steel/glass wall oven and microwave! It removed all the fingerprints and smears from both the stainless and the glass easily. Next, I tried it on my black glass cooktop – clean and streak free!! LOVE IT!!
It occurs to me that, used on a smartphone screen, this will also help disinfect one’s phone, which can pick up all kind of germies from being constantly handled.
Can’t wait to do this. My various screens are disgracefully filthy. Might you ask your tech friend if this would also work for a touch screen e-reader…Thank you!
Laura Black Caprioni
I’ve made the mistake of cleaning my screens with natural cleaners. I never would have thought that rubbing alcohol and water would do the trick. Thanks again, Crunchy Betty for the tip.
Awesome, thank you!
I agree with Vodka. Use it to clean cell phone, computer keyboard & screen, windows, mirrors, counter tops and the like.
Gillian Money After Graduation
I always struggle with ways to clean these damn screens without ruining them! Thanks!!
Vodka, microfiber and q-tips for everything. Clean that filthy remote… now… really, it’s hideous.
Thank you, but can you please clarify… rubbing alcohol (as in the pic above) is not supposed to be used as Ryan has stated below in the comments? I’m confused.
Rubbing alcohol is isopropyl alcohol (check the label, though, to be sure) in 99.9% of the cases. Honestly, I’ve never seen a rubbing alcohol that wasn’t just isopropyl alcohol and water. Ryan was probably thinking about cheese or something and got confused. 😉
Thanks for the clarification. Much appreciated!
Loving this and will do next time I clean my ‘lectronics. I usually just use a soft rag and some plain water or just dry dust but this sounds so much better. 😀
Ooh! FInally, I’ve been waiting for your glass cleaner recipe. Thank you so much!
Do you think this will work on my car windows as well? If not, what’s the best way to clean those without streaks?
Damp-to-wet newspapers work fantastic, once you’ve gotten the funk off.
Of course, nobody gets the newspaper anymore, but if you’re like me, the local fishwrap has a local advertiser it foists on your front lawn regardless.
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Just my two cents, but from my computer classes, we were taught never, ever, under any circumstances should you use rubbing alcohol or any type of alcohol on an LCD screen. You can severely damage it.
A damp, soft cloth or paper towel will work just fine.
Actually, you might be mistaken. It is ammonia that is bad for LCD screens, or any type of plastic ‘glass’. The ammonia will slowly cause small pits to form in the screen. Also, don’t use rubbing alcohol, it has ethanol in it. You want to use 100% Isopropyl Alcohol as it evaporates and leaves nothing behind.
Now using alcohol while on the computer….that could cause problems. =)
Hey! I was mentioning this recipe to some techie friends because I was really excited about this, and they had similar concerns. They mentioned that the concern is with the coating on top of the plastic on the LCD screens. They said the alcohol is a solvent to the coating (the typical anti-glare coating) and would dissolve it making the screen more susceptible to damage. Could this be true? I tried to research it, but the internetz gives me a headache sometimes :s Any help would be amazing! Thanks!
I’ve seen the same reports that using alcohol to clean the screen can cause the plastic to ‘dry out’ or yellow. New suggestion. Drink alcohol while using a damp microfiber cloth to clean the screen.
Ha! Will do! I am still soooo going to use this recipe for window washing, plus booze of course! 😀
Ryan- First you say use Isopropyl that is rubbing alcohol–then you say don’t use rubbing alcohol;
“But if you WANT to measure, let’s say, oh … 1/4 c. distilled water and 1/4 c. isopropyl alcohol (at least 70%). Isopropyl alcohol is also known as rubbing alcohol.” Sept 18, 2012
“Also, don’t use rubbing alcohol, it has ethanol in it.” Sept 19, 2012
I am easily confused, so I’ll run around in the future, confused and constantly wondering: “Use,don’t use, use, don’t use, use……??” Thanks for your attempt to help but now I’m in total consternation.
Long Haired Hippie
I love this one i figured it out a few years ago when my eczema went balistic and i had to start using heavy salves all day long and that stuff really gunks up a keyboard in a hurry and touch screen gah huge bother. This is magic!
My electronic tip is….. don’t let me touch yours. You would think I was making it up if I told you how many times I’ve held a friend’s phone/iPod/laptop, and POOF! suddenly it has some kind of severe problem and needs to be replaced.
I’m so not kidding. It’s ridiculous. And I never have a fully functioning electronic ANYthing of my own.
I’ll be grateful one day, like if robots take over the world. I’ll be the robot slayer, killing them all with just one touch from my finger! Then all my poor friends will be happy…
I think this is actually a real thing. Some type of psychic phenomena. I’m not sure what its called, but I’m sure you could find out on the internet. Psychokinesis, maybe? It happens to more people than you would think!
Oh good! So we’ll NEVER be taken over by robots if it happens to lots of people! 😉
I will look into that. It would be exciting if this was a provable phenomenon.
Heck yeah! And when the robots come, I’m totally going to be on your team! Crunchy betties unite!
oh yeah me too…i’m on her team!
Thanks to Ryan!
the smell of rubbing alcohol gets to me. may i use grain alcohol instead?
Can you use vodka instead of rubbing alcohol?
This works really well on super-grimy cds too, just a lil bit on a cotton ball. I’ve always done this ’cause I’m not so good at getting them back in their cases. As if anyone but me uses those anymore!
Heather :) :) :)
This is cool. I like homemade cleaning supplies…and I’m always touching my smartie pants phone with my grubby fingers…so I’m constantly having to clean it!!! I use the same stuff for that screen that I use on my camera lense. It’s safe and gentle…but I like this alternative much better…and it’s definitely very wallet friendly. Thanks 😉 🙂 Love and hugs from the ocean shores of California, Heather 🙂
when my laptop keyboard gets dirty… i clean it with q-tips (helps prevent using too much liquid and getting it into cracks) and straight isopropyl alcohol while i watch movies (because it does take a while, but totally worth it when you are like me and consult the computer while cooking/following recipes)
Abigail A. Brown
Crunchy Betty & Ryan are my electronics-friendly, naturally thrifty heroes! Oh, and they’re both super cute. 🙂 Thanks y’all!
Well thank you Abigail! If you ever need me to come by and help you clean your electronics….you let me know. =)
Thank you for this! You must have been reading my mind. Just the other day I was staring at my smudged up tv screen wondering… how can I safely clean that?
I love this, I got duped in to buying the expensive stuff, never again!
Thanks, Ryan! Your so smart, and cute too!
I meant to type ‘you’re’. I do know the difference!
Your or you’re….I’ll still accept the compliments. Thanks!
Thanks for this great tip! What a great way to save money and keep things looking great!
Thank you Ryan, you’re the best!
Yeay! how timely is this. I was just wondering what to use yesterday, I had though vinegar, then I doubted, then I though alcohol but didnt do anything, thanks so much for the confirmation!
I do like cheese!
You are sooo funny! “Why do I touch my screen? Because I can. Don’t judge me.” BRAAAHAHAHA!
I SO needed this tip! All of my screens are dirty because I’m too afraid to clean them with anything (I don’t want to do any damage) and I’m too cheap to buy the expensive store products. Thanks!