The touchscreens on smartphones, tablets, and other mobile devices are made to be touched, so getting fingerprints, smudges, and other types of dirt on them is inevitable. It is important to not let this dirt build up over time. It can interfere with a screen’s touch sensitivity as well as make it harder for you to see what is being displayed.

One way to avoid a dirty touchscreen is to clean it regularly. However, there are three things you should not do when cleaning it:

  • Do not use paper towels, facial tissues, or abrasive cloths. They can scratch your screen. Although these scratches are small, they accumulate over time and dull the screen.
  • Do not use window cleaners or chemical cleaners (e.g. ammonia-based products). They eat away the protective coatings often put on touchscreens. In some cases, chemical cleaners can permanently damage screens.
  • Do not use a large amount of water or other liquid. Liquid can damage devices that are not water resistant. Even if a device is water resistant, there is no need to use a lot of fluid when cleaning a touchscreen.

The best way to clean your touchscreen is to follow the instructions provided by the device’s manufacturer. Or, if you installed a screen protector, follow those instructions. If this information is not available, do the following:

  • Obtain a microfiber cloth. Compared to ordinary cloth, microfiber cloth has many more fibers to grip dirt better. More important, these fibers are much smaller, so they do not scratch surfaces.
  • If you wear glasses, you might already be using a microfiber cloth to clean them. To clean your touchscreen (or screen protector), gently wipe it with a dry microfiber cloth. If that does not clean all the dirt, slightly dampen the cloth with water. (Do not put the water directly on the touchscreen.)
  • For particularly tough dirt, you can use a cleaner made specifically for touchscreens or eyeglasses.