Update: How to Clean Your PowerBook LCD

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Date: Monday, February 1st, 1999, 00:00
Category: Archive


A popular question among PowerPage readers is how to safely clean a PowerBook LCD panel. For obvious reasons, you don’t want to use a harsh chemical or solvent (including most glass cleaners) on your expensive screen. So what are the alternatives? An article (“Clean Your LCD Safely“) from the 24 June 97 issue of PC Magazine suggests using rubbing alcohol:

You’re right to be careful about how you clean an LCD panel; you don’t want to use the same procedures you’d use on a standard CRT monitor.

A monitor has a glass front, but the front layer on an LCD screen is made of plastic. This is a special film that polarizes the light from the display; it may also perform other functions, such as light diffusion.

Plastic is much softer than glass and needs special treatment. For example, use only a soft cloth to wipe the screen. Do not use a hard paper towel, which could scratch the screen’s surface.

Also, never spray any liquid directly on the screen. Instead, apply some to the soft cloth and then wipe the screen. Do not use standard glass-cleaning solutions; these could damage the plastic. The best cleaning solvent to use is rubbing alcohol, as this is what LCD panels are washed with before leaving the factory.

UPDATE: PowerPager Joseph Luk notes:

Apple’s own manuals say to never use a product containing isopropyl alcohol to clean the PowerBook. It weakens the plastics. (this is mentioned in the Troubleshooting guide included with Lombard)

Another option is to use one of the off-the-shelf products that are available, including Klear Screen Singles, which look similar to Wet Naps and are alcohol and ammonia free. According to the package:

Klear Screen is endorsed by leading suppliers of notebook and desktop LCD displays, including Apple PowerBook, Sony VAIO Notebook computers, ViewSonic ViewPanel LCD displays and Dolch “industrial/military grade” LCD flat-panel displays.

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