choose the best screen cleaner to fight smudges and grime

© Billy Cadden Rid your screens of smudges and dirt.

If you’re reading this article on a dirty, smudged phone or laptop display, it may be time to invest in a screen cleaner. Aside from the poor aesthetics of a filthy device, your dirty electronics could actually make you sick. According to a tired-but-worryingly-reputable study, your cell phone is ten times dirtier than a toilet seat. Gross. Lucky for you, the solution isn’t to revert into the 19th century before we had all these pesky screens. There are plenty of effective, affordable screen cleaners out there to help you keep your electronics smudge-free and with less worrisome bacteria. We compiled a list of the best screen cleaners in every category so you can use your phone without fearing an infection.

choose the best screen cleaner to fight smudges and grime

© WHOOSH It’s travel-sized and alcohol-free.

Best screen cleaner overall: WHOOSH! Screen Cleaning Kit Best value screen cleaner: MagicFiber Microfiber Cleaning Cloths Best screen cleaner for smartphones: ZEISS Mobile Screen Wipes Best natural screen cleaner: Screen Mom Screen Cleaner KitBest all-in-one kit: EVEO Screen PRO Cleaner Spray

choose the best screen cleaner to fight smudges and grime

© MagicFiber Sometimes you just need a quick wipe.

The most important consideration for us was how safe the screen cleaner is for use on your expensive electronics. The last thing you want to do is ruin your electronic screen or lens with a low-quality, abrasive cleaner. Following safety, we examined ease-of-use and convenience, use of toxic vs. non-toxic ingredients, and unbiased reviews. 

Most screen cleaners are under $20, so affordability wasn’t the biggest factor, though it was something we looked at in side-by-side comparisons. How many ounces or wipes are you getting for your dollar? After it was all said and done, we considered dozens of the most popular and well-regarded screen cleaners to compile our list.

Why it made the cut: This kit includes everything you need and leaves out things that could hurt your screen.

Specs: 

Includes spray bottle and 2 microfiber clothsWorks on all electronic screensAlcohol and ammonia freeTravel-sized bottle (1 oz or 3.4 oz)

Pros:Cons:Compatible with all screens and devicesSmaller sized bottleAll-in-one kit includes microfiber clothsPricey for the amount of productSafe; free of ammonia, dyes and fragrances

A great all-in-one screen cleaner, this product comes with a spray bottle of cleaning solution and two microfiber cloths for wiping. WHOOSH! claims to be the only approved screen cleaner used by Apple stores worldwide. The gentle formula is free of alcohol, ammonia, dyes, and fragrances, so you’ll feel good about using it on the products you touch all day, every day.

choose the best screen cleaner to fight smudges and grime

© ZEISS Individually wrapped screen wipes perfect for travel and commuting.

The WHOOSH! Screen Cleaner comes in two different sizes, a 1 oz. and a 3.4 oz., both with two microfiber cloths. Either option is good for travel, since the 3.4 oz. adheres to the TSA regulations regarding liquids. We’d recommend going with the larger option, since it is undoubtedly a better deal with more than triple the amount of product for only a couple of dollars more. 

The microfiber cloths are treated with a solution, which provides antibacterial, anti-mold, and anti-odor properties. They can safely be machine washed up to 50 times, so they’re easy to use again and again. Overall, you can’t go wrong with the WHOOSH! Screen Cleaner as a safe, easy to use, and affordable option.

choose the best screen cleaner to fight smudges and grime

© Screen Mom Alcohol, ammonia and phosphate free with a large microfiber towel included.

Why it made the cut: These prolifically washable cloths provide a lifetime of quick wipes. 

choose the best screen cleaner to fight smudges and grime

© EVEO Includes a screen cleaning spray and microfiber towel for a one-stop shop.

Specs:

Comes in various pack sizes from 2 to 30Individually packagedJust the cloth with no cleaning solution

Pros:Cons:No chemicalsRemoves germs but doesn’t kill themAffordableSmall cloth not the best for large TV screensReusableNo included solutionPortable and travel-friendly

MagicFiber microfiber screen cleaning cloths are a simple and affordable solution. The downside to choosing this option is that a microfiber cloth will remove, but not kill germs, so it won’t leave your devices feeling as squeaky-clean as a spray or wipe would. 

MagicFiber cloths come in a variety of sizes, ranging from a 2-pack to a 30-pack. They are small at 6x7 inches, so they’re portable and easy to store in your laptop case or purse. A lint-resistant, chemical-free way to clean your electronics, these microfiber cloths make it simple and easy to keep your screens smudge-free. 

They’re also eco-friendly, and designed to be washed and reused up to 500 times. A one-time, low-cost purchase will keep your screens clean for years to come. Another benefit is that you can use them to polish other things, such as glassware, lenses, watches, and jewelry. 

Why it made the cut: The individual wrapping makes them extremely easy to stash in any bag or pocket.

Specs:

Available in packs of 30, 60 and 120Individually wrapped to retain moistureAlcohol-free

Pros:Cons:Convenient and easy to useSmall size is better for small devicesTravel-friendlySingle-use productAlcohol-free

Perfect for the frequent flyer or on-the-go mom, ZEISS mobile screen wipes come in individually wrapped packages, so you can throw a few in your bag and go. The packaging isn’t the most eco-friendly, but it does guarantee product integrity. The wipes retain just enough moisture to clean your screens, but not too much where it damages your electronics. 

ZEISS wipes remove smudges from fingerprints, dirt, grime, and bacteria. They are safe to use on all electronic devices, but the wipes are marketed as mobile screen wipes, and they are pretty small. If you’re looking for a screen cleaner for a large television, these aren’t the best bet. For phones, laptops, computers, and tablets, you can’t beat them. Their gentle, alcohol-free formula promises a streak-free finish that is delicate on your screens or lenses. 

You have the option to buy in a bulk pack of 120 wipes, or you can start small with a 30-count pack. This product rivals a microfiber cloth because you don’t have to worry about it getting dirty when you store it, but the downside is that you can only use each wipe once before it dries out. 

Why it made the cut: The most sustainable option on the list eschews unnecessary waste and ingredients.

Specs:

Non-toxic, plant-based formulaExtra large microfiber towelSafe to use on all electronic screens16 oz. spray bottle

Pros:Cons:Non-toxic and safe to useNot safe for MacBooksEco-friendlyMore expensive than other optionsLarge, reusable microfiber towel

This non-toxic screen cleaner is perfect for anyone whose primary concern is product safety. Screen Mom uses only plant-based ingredients and no harmful chemicals. The product is free of alcohol, ammonia, phosphates, and fragrance. The natural formula boasts a streak-free shine, but it does come at a premium price point. It is more eco-friendly than some of the other options, offering product refills to cut down on waste.

The microfiber towel is another sustainable touch, as it is washable, reusable, and lint-free. It measures 16x16 inches, making it more than twice the size of the MagicFiber microfiber towels. Because of the size, this product is a much better option for cleaning large electronic devices like a flat-screen TV. 

Their website does include a disclaimer regarding MacBooks, so you may want to steer clear if you’re looking to clean your MacBook screen. The special anti-glare coating isn’t compatible with some cleaners (and Apple recommends cleaning your Mac without any special products). For TVs, smartphones, and other electronic devices, this non-toxic product is a great option.

Why it made the cut: This kit is flexible enough to clean just about any screen and offers enough supplies for even larger surface areas.

Specs:

Soft, plush microfiber cloth16 oz. spray bottleNon-toxic ingredients

Pros:Cons:Non-toxic ingredientsMore pricey comparativelyEasy to use sprayer bottleReusable and eco-friendly

This screen cleaner kit comes at a premium price point, but offers everything you need. The non-toxic ingredients are a plus - the spray is free of alcohol, phosphates, ammonia, and fragrance. It’s been tested and claims to be safe on all sorts of screens, including LED, LCD, CRT, OLED, and AMOLED screens. This product is protective as well as cleansing. After each use, it leaves behind a streak-free invisible film to prevent the future accumulation of lint, dust, and grime. 

We recommend this product over the original EVEO Screen Cleaner because of the ingredient list. Unlike the original, this cleaner is non-toxic and alcohol-free, so you can feel better about using it on your delicate electronics. 

You can buy the screen cleaner in packs of 1, 2, or 4, each including their respective number of microfiber cloths. The manufacturer claims 1,000 sprays in each bottle, so the product can last for months, which helps bring down the cost per use. The microfiber cloth is reusable, making the product a more eco-friendly option overall. 

There are a few things to consider when looking for a new screen cleaner, including safe ingredients, convenience, size and volume.

Safe Ingredients

Steer clear of anything containing alcohol and ammonia. They’re common ingredients in some household cleaning products, as they are effective at sanitizing and killing germs. However, when used on your phone, the high acidity in these ingredients can cause damage to your screen.

When you’re shopping for screen cleaners, avoid these ingredients whenever possible. The truth is, you can get the job done effectively without them.

Size and Volume

Every screen cleaner we surveyed costs between $6 and $20. Without much of a difference in price points, you want to look at the actual volume of product you’re getting. A 3-ounce bottle of screen cleaner for $12 is a better deal than a 1-ounce bottle for $10. When you’re looking at screen cleaners, price differences will be less obvious, so it's important to consider the amount of product.

Convenience

We’ve all bought something that seemed useful at the time, but never ended up using it. If a product isn’t easy to use, it gives us an excuse to be lazy and neglect it. Consider how easy the screen cleaner will be to use and store, and how it will fit into your lifestyle. If a spray and towel sound like too many steps for you, go with a single-use wipe or microfiber cloth instead. 

You’ll also want to consider storage and portability. Screen cleaners are something you’ll want to bring with you when you travel, so going with a smaller size might be a better choice. A simple microfiber cloth can travel with you anywhere. 

A note about MacBook screens

If you have an Apple MacBook, be sure to check out Apple's official recommendations when cleaning the screen. Some MacBooks have an anti-reflective coating that you can damage with incorrect techniques. Once the coating is ruined, it can’t be fixed, so the stakes are high. 

Q: What is the best way to clean electronic screens? Only use microfiber cloths when cleaning your screens. Microfiber cloths are the most gentle option when it comes to your delicate, sensitive electronic screens. Things like paper towels are rough and can cause small scratches on the surface of your device. It can even mess with how well your touch screen works over time.Always check the manufacturer’s recommendation for how to clean your specific electronics before using any spray or wipe. MacBooks, for example, have a special non-glare coating that can be ruined with certain screen cleaners. A microfiber cloth, water, and mild soap is a pretty safe bet, but other screen cleaners are fine too, depending on the type of screen. Q: What is the best way to clean a screen? Use a gentle, microfiber towel. Apply any cleaning solution directly to the towel, not the screen. Avoid pushing hard on the screen and instead use light, circular motions to gently wipe off smudges, dirt and grease. It may take several minutes, depending on the level of dirt and smudges on your screen. The biggest rule of thumb is not to press down on the screen aggressively, to avoid damaging it.  Q: Is isopropyl alcohol safe for screens? It is best to avoid alcohol and ammonia-based cleaners on your electronic screens. This includes Windex and rubbing alcohol. These products are corrosive and can strip your screens of anti-glare coatings and cause cloudiness on your screen. You can get the job done without the use of alcohol. 

We looked at dozens of screen cleaners, and these 5 came out on top due to their high customer reviews, safe ingredients and easy-to-use designs. It’s important to remember that you should always check the manufacturer's instructions on safe cleaning practices before using any product on your screen. Your electronic screen is an important part of the device, and it’s easy to damage. 

It’s important to clean the dirt, grime, and smudging off your screens to keep yourself and your home sanitary. These screen cleaners are all excellent options when it comes to keeping your devices from becoming 10 times dirtier than your toilet.

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