Tuesday, 2 September 2008

Proactive PC Maintenance – How to look after a TFT monitor

Points to remember

  • A TFT monitor is basically two very thin sheets of plastic with electronically sensitive crystals compressed between them. Therefore any any amount of pressure can damage the crystals.

  • Never touch the screen of a TFT monitor unless it is absolutely necessary.

  • A TFT monitor can draw moisture through capillary action into itself, as such you should never apply liquid directly to the screen.

  • Any moisture absorbed through the screen is almost impossible to draw out. This could easily ruin the entire monitor.

How to clean a TFT

Always remember that a TFT monitor has a plastic screen, not glass. As such you should never use an ammonia or alcohol based cleaner as this will damage the screen.

What you will need...

  • 2x Clean microfibre cloth's

  • Distilled water (spring water is OK, but do not use tap water)

  • White Vinegar

What to do...

  • Turn off and unplug your TFT monitor from the mains.

  • Apply a little of the distilled water to one of the microfibre cloths. You only need a small amount, enough to make the cloth damp, but not wet.

  • Fold the cloth in half one way, the again in half the other way. This creates a manageable flat surface.

  • Starting at the top left corner of the screen, gently wipe the cloth down then up, slow moving along the width of the screen. Remember, do not apply unnecessary pressure.

  • Starting at the bottom right corner of the screen, gently wipe the cloth left to right, working your way up the monitor. Again, do not apply unnecessary pressure.

  • If the screen is really dirty, and the above steps have not cleaned your TFT sufficiently you can add a little white vinegar to the water and repeat the above steps.

  • Use the other clean and dry microfibre cloth to gently wipe the monitor dry using the same up/down, left/right action outlined above.

Commercial Cleaning Products

There are cleaning products available through retail outlets specifically designed to clean TFT monitors, however in my experience many of these are over-priced and non-effective. They are usually sold in small packets of 'wet wipe' style single use cloths. These tend to dry out soon after you initially open them, and end up being thrown away before their second use.

Some computer users buy anti-glare screen protectors. These do help prevent a TFT from becoming dirty, but tend to look ugly and reduce the vibrant of images on screen. They are also generally unsuitable for laptop users.

Preventing A Dirty TFT

Laptop screens tend to become dirty through contact with the keyboard when folded. The keys of the keyboard pick up oils from the users fingertips and transfer 'trace-lines' of the keys to the screen.

This can be avoided simply and cheaply by placing a sheet of plain A4 copy paper on top of the keyboard before closing the screen down.

Children seem to be attracted to TFT's like bee's to pollen, and can't resist poking the screen to see the patterns they can make. To avoid this, simply chop off the hands of any children who are likely to come into contact with your expensive TFT.

Do you have anything to say about this article? Did you find it helpful? Would you like to share your own tips? Just leave a comment below!


  1. Vinegar you say? Now that I never knew. The most useful thing I've ever learn about TFT's is that you can sometimes cure dead pixels by applying pressure to the areas around and on the pixel.

  2. Vinegar is a light acid, and will therefore help break down any grease and grime. Applying it neat would cause damage, but adding it to the water reduces this risk.

    "Curing" dead pixels by your suggested method is possible, and is similar to the way in which a manufacturer would repair the same problem, however it is not recomended! Apply to little pressure and nothing happens, apply too much pressure and you make matters a lot worse!


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