GBM How-To Series # 21 : Cleaning your Tablet/UMPC Screen

gbm_howto_1 Does your tablet screen look like a dog has been trying to lick his way through it to get to the other side? Ever see the screen saver that was floating around from the movie Must Love Dogs? That gives you a mental picture huh? Well, from time to time that’s exactly what mine can look like! It’s not usually a big problem on laptop and non-touch tablets, but add the touch feature, or use it in a demo where you are constantly pointing to items on the screen, or to show off vacation photos, and you will find that they can get pretty dirty. Having two kids, lots of relatives and friends that like to “play” with them, mine can get really nasty. I took the X60, M200 and OQO Model 02 to the beach a few weeks ago. We had two babies, three or four college attendees, a bunch of parents, and a couple of grandparents (that were also Great Grandparents!)  Needless to say, everybody got time with cool toys. However, the combination of snacks, sun screen and lots of fingers made the keyboards and screens gross when they finally got home.  

 SplotchGBM How-To Series # 21 : Cleaning your Tablet/UMPC Screen


So, what can you safely use to clean away the combination of fingerprints and grime? Most manufacturers frown on the use of products containing ammonia and other such cleaning agents due to the fact that these chemicals can damage the screen or keys. Other purchased options are expensive and seen to never be around or are dried up when you need them. Never fear, here is a tried and proven formula for home made cleaner that’s friendly to you system. If you happen to get a Splotch print, good luck getting it off!fingerprint


For this How-TO… there are a few items you will need before you get started:


Distilled H2O, Rubbing Alcohol, Soft Cloth or Micro-Fiber Cloth, Small Spray Bottle


The ever elusive Splotch fingerprint…




“Hey is anybody in there? This thing sure needs cleaning! Get with it! Clean this screen!”





STEP 1 : Acquire the materials listed above from your local drug store, retail super store or auto parts store. Remember that you are not looking for name brands here. Go ahead, you can skimp on these. Personally, I would recommend acquiring the Micro-Fiber cloth used for polishing autos. They are pretty absorbent and are very soft.

Bullet_2STEP 2 : Next, mix the distilled water and the alcohol into the spray bottle. You will want to create a mixture that contains 50 percent or less alcohol content. I recommend that you mix the distilled water and alcohol using a measuring cup to ensure that the mixture is accurate. Make sure to seal the spray bottle and shake it well before proceeding to step 3.


STEP 3 : Find yourself a large soft, clean cotton or micro-fiber cloth. Spray the mixture onto the cloth. I say again; spray the mixture onto the cloth. NEVER, NEVER , NO NOT EVER spray directly on the screen. You run the very real risk of having excess cleaner run between the screen frame and the screen and damage electronics. Make sure the cloth is a soft cloth so you don’t scratch the screen as you wipe with it. Remember also, I said to use the Micro-Fiber!



STEP 4 : Use the damp cloth to gently wipe the computer screen. It’s usually best to use a circular motion when cleaning to prevent streaks. Make sure that you do not press too firmly on the screen.


STEP 5 : Make sure the screen is completely dry. If you notice that part of the screen is moist after you have cleaned it, use a dry part of the cloth or a completely different cloth to wipe off the wet part of the screen. You can also use Photo Lens cleaning paper to dry the screen.


Tips, Tricks & Warnings
  • Inspect the screen for any foreign matter such as sand that could damage the screen. Carefully remove with compressed air.
  • If you purchase store-bought cleaning products, make sure the alcohol content is below 50 percent.
  • You can also use lens cleaning paper if you have already have some to clean your glasses or camera lenses.
  • Don’t use Windex or other window cleaning products because those products contain mixtures that could damage the screen.
  • Don’t press too hard on the screen or you could cause damage to it. Rub in a circular motion to avoid damaging a single area.
  • Commercial Products like the ALLSOP  #23611  (my favorite commercial cleaning kit; small, light, gel based cleaner) or the 3M Antistatic Screen And Keyboard Cleaner Kit work very well and are small enough to carry everywhere. The private label Office Depot cd/dvd/lcd cleaning wipes will do in a pinch.