Tag Archives: monitors

Cleaning Your Computer, Part 2: Monitors

Most people do not clean their monitors nearly as often as they should (and that includes me). You usually don’t notice the eyestrain you’re getting from staring at dust, spots, and streaks all the time, but it’s still there. Here’s how to clean it up.

Materials:

  • Rubbing alcohol (LCD screen cleaner or lens cleaner works fine as well if you have some). This is used to wipe down the surface of the monitor. If you’re using a bottle of alcohol, pour some into a bowl so you don’t contaminate the whole bottle.
  • A microfiber cloth (cotton balls work well too). This is used to wipe the dust off your monitor.
 (I didn’t have any cotton balls handy, so I’m just using the cloth this time. The little plastic container is the most convenient bowl-like object I had nearby.)

 

Step 1: Prepare your computer.
If you get a completely white screen, it will be much easier to see the spots you need to clean. The easiest way is to open a new tab in your browser and navigate to about:blank, which will give you a blank screen. Then press F11, and you should see something like the following.
 You may want to toggle to a black screen a couple of times while you’re in the middle of cleaning; some things show up better on white, while others show up better on black. Of course, getting a black screen is as easy as switching the monitor off.

 

Step 2: Wipe down the screen.
Dip your cloth or cotton ball in the alcohol or spray it with your lens cleaner. Start by wiping down the whole monitor, then take a closer look for little spots and rub harder on those. If you press very hard at all, the monitor may momentarily warp and discolor around that area; I’ve never seen any permanent damage from this, so I wouldn’t worry about it.

 

Step 3: Clean around the screen.
I always like to get the edges of the screen too; they collect just as much junk and dirt as the rest of the monitor. You can use the same treatment on them.

 

Step 4: Try to rub out remaining spots (optional). 
If you still have annoying spots or minor scratches, you might try to use a pencil eraser to touch them up. If you’re happy with how the monitor looks already, don’t worry about it.

 

Step 5: Wipe down the monitor one last time and dry it quickly.
While some streaks are pretty much inevitable, this does help a bit.
Next week I’ll show you how to clean your keyboard, which is quite possibly the filthiest place in your entire office.

Save Your Eyes (and Sleep) When Using Your Computer at Night

Ever woken up early, gone to your computer, and switched on the monitor only to be blinded? I sure have. And recent research shows that too much blue light (LCD panels are very blue) in the evening can actually impact your sleep as well.

F.lux is a free utility that automatically changes the color temperature of your screen as the sun sets. You give it your latitude and longitude (if you don’t know, you can look it up by zip code), and as it begins to get dark the program will turn your screen redder. At first it looks really weird, but once you get used to it it’s significantly more comfortable to use your computer. If you ever use your computer after about seven o’clock or so, you should give f.lux a try.

Sound good? You can download f.lux here. Installation is super-simple: just run the setup file and then click the new icon in the system tray next to your clock to set your location and other settings.

How to Touch Up Your LCD Monitor

Is your monitor starting to get a bit old? Does it have some scratches and spots on it? Yeah, so did mine. In fact, I was about ready to get rid of it. And then I read something that provided the following novel method for fixing up scratches in your screen: a pencil eraser.

Yes, you read that right. If your monitor’s more than a couple of years old and it has any kind of spots or scratches on it, you owe it to yourself to give this method a shot.
You only need four things:
  • a clean cloth (preferably microfiber, the kind they sell for cleaning glasses or monitors)
  • a few cotton balls (if you don’t have any, a second cloth will do in a pinch)
  • rubbing alcohol (pour a little out into a bowl so you don’t contaminate the rest of the bottle)
  • a clean pencil eraser
Here’s how:
  1. Clean off the pencil eraser if it’s been used to erase anything. Just rub the outer layer of it off until you don’t see any smudges on it anymore. Smashing graphite particles into your monitor isn’t going to help anything.
  2. Open up your web browser and type “about:blank” (without the quotes) in the address bar, then press F11 to display the page full-screen. This will give you a blank white screen. (You do this so you can see all the spots easily.)
  3. Dip a cotton ball into the rubbing alcohol and clean off the monitor with it. Reportedly, this is the method that manufacturers use to clean the displays as they reach the end of the assembly line; regardless of whether that’s true or not, it works well.
  4. Wipe the monitor dry with the cloth.
  5. Take the eraser and carefully rub it onto all the scratches and spots, and watch as they magically disappear, or at least get better. It’s fine to use some pressure as long as you work deliberately and don’t smash the monitor.
  6. Blow off the eraser dust if there’s any left, and clean the monitor again. You can repeat steps 2-6 as many times as you want, until you’re satisfied with the result. It may take a couple of runs to completely get rid of the problems.
  7. When you’re done, press F11 or Escape, depending on your browser, to get out of the full-screen mode.
Of course, this method isn’t going to work for horrible gashes down the center of your monitor, but for relatively minor blemishes, it works like a charm. I had a damaged spot that was about an inch square, and after doing this I can’t even see it anymore.
Soren “scorchgeek” Bjornstad
If you have found an error or notable omission in this tip, please leave a comment or email me: webmaster@thetechnicalgeekery.com.
Copyright 2011 Soren Bjornstad.
Verbatim copying and redistribution of part or all of this article
is permitted, provided this notice is preserved.