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Wednesday, November 21. 2012
Yes, yes, I can hear your gasps of shock and bewilderment from here. Windex contains ammonia, which will make your LCD screen dull and flat. I and countless other computer gurus have been warning you about it for years.
Except there are three problems:
1. My monitor screen is already dull and flat. That is, it's not glossy at all. Glossy screens are terrible indoors, showing off every reflection from every light in the room.
2. What's not mentioned is how many applications it takes of ammonia to make your screen dull and flat. By my estimation, roughly 10,000 times.
3. LCD-friendly products don't work worth shit.
There's a reason Windex contains ammonia; it actually works when it comes to removing grime, filth, tobacco stains, and the spittle resulting from impulsively laughing out loud during one of Dr. Mercury's political posts.
The 'safe' alternatives, like Windex Wipes and using a half-and-half solution of vinegar and water just don't work very well. I've used two types of 'wipes', two 'safe' liquid spray cleaners, plus gone the vinegar route, but none of them got the screen dazzlingly clean with just a few wipes. There are always a handful of spots that have to be specifically 'scrubbed', and at that point I think it's possible you're actually doing more damage to that specific spot (with all the additional abrasion) than if you'd just given it a quick bath of ammonia and no scrub at all.
And that's just the first rule I'm breaking.
Another recommendation is to use a soft cloth, rather than a paper product. I tried both a diaper and an old t-shirt and thought they were both terrible. They smeared, as much as anything else, and since whatever you're wiping with has to be turned frequently, I ended up paying an overly amount of attention to making sure I had a clean spot for the next wipe.
Since I already have a roll of Charmin 'baby-soft' TP nearby for cleaning my glasses, I just use it for the monitor as well. Unlike the non-disposable cloth, you don't pay any attention to getting a clean spot on the wad of TP you're holding; you just wipe a few times and toss it. Like the ammonia, it's true that the slight additional abrasiveness from using a paper product might dull your screen over time — assuming you clean it 10,000 times.
And that's still not the end of my dastardly crimes.
Go ahead — try it. About a year ago, my monitor was on its last legs (started getting weird flashes on the screen), so, just as an experiment, I blasted the whole bottom few inches with a ton of Windex, then left it there for an hour, giving it plenty of time to do its horrific damage.
The monitor, of course, with its high-precision-made casing and sealed layers, just shrugged it off. This little rule is probably based on the very first LCD monitors, which might have been more shoddily made and were actually subject to such problems.
I note that I don't purposefully spray enough along the bottom of the screen to drip down into the seam, but I don't panic when it does.
In summation, I've been using Windex on my dull and flat monitor for roughly a year now, and I'm here to report that it's still dull and flat.
But also dazzlingly clean.
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I've been using vinegar-based Windex for years, as recommended by many when lcd monitors first became widely available. Works as well or better than blue Windex, which I've also tried for comparison. Also, use a lint-free cloth to wipe. Your diaper and t-shirt are lint-factories in disguise, and guaranteed to leave your screen a mess. If you can't tell lint-free fabric from the lint-factories, ask any woman. They all know instinctively which is which.
Thanks for the feedback. I never tried the vinegar Windex, will give it a try. And I'll look into the cloth, but I'm dealing with tobacco stains, so that 'smear' aspect is there with cloth compared to the much-more-absorbant TP.
"They all know instinctively which is which."
I believe you meant "genetically". :)
Since you have included 'women' and 'genetics' in the same sentence I feel at liberty to post this link, "Why women are different from men".
It's a 5 minute hoot.
Girls wearing cute tiger ears always get my vote.
I'm just like that.
Windex and others make a multi-surface cleaner which works really well on my lint-free cloths. I tried to clean the dull-finish screens using the instructions...which didn't work. I just spray the lint-free cloth and they work magic.
Been using Windex of my flat screen for years. Works especially great on my glass eye as well (gives one clear vision along with better "insight").
If you want something in between Windex and those expensive products that work poorly, if at all: for several years I have used whatever tea is left in my cup after it had gone cold. It's just plain black tea -- no milk, no sugar -- and it works like a charm. Doesn't seem to stain the monitor, either, in case you're wondering.
I got my inspiration from remembering the waiters in the old South China restaurant in Philly, who would clean the surface of tables with the contents of the teapot left by the previous diners.
Cheap, easy, effective. Non-toxic. I love it. No, I have NOT yet tried it on my dirty windows, but it's a thought.
Very interesting! And it makes sense, in that the tannic acid would be just strong enough to cut through the aforementioned grime and spittle. Tea drinkers, take note!
"Although tea contains various types of polyphenols and tannin, it does not contain tannic acid."
Dammit Gary - you beat me to it. Tea contains tannin, but not tannic acid.
You're a tough one to get ahead of, even on a good day !!
I just checked...and you're right! A half-century of urban myth -- down the drain!
Caffeine binds to the tannins in tea and is also flushed out of the body and down the drain. That is why, while coffee may have less caffeine than tea, less caffeine stays in a tea drinker's system than coffee drinkers.
Maybe it's the caffeine that cleans the screen? lol
Well, I have the ultimate magic formula for cleaning LCD monitor screens - works every time, no muss no fuss and it's the cheapest product on the market.
Warm tap water and a paper towel.
Thanks for inspiring me to experiment; the usual cleaners are awful.
Since the monitor weighs bupkis, I put it onto its back. Less wobbly and the desk lamp reveals missed spots.
My variation uses Invisible Glass and Kirkland generic bumwad, followed by a quick schpritz of Dust-Off.
The surface is now cleaner than it was at the unboxing.
I just have to say one thing, spoken as a geek:
Adding the Dust-Off is a classy touch.
That's hemlock bark...used for tannin' leather...the needles for making tea...
--a squirt of dish detergent in a spray bottle of water, and a paper towel --stay away from gasoline and bleach --and sandpaper, stay away from sandpaper. And liquid plumbers, don't ever let those guys near your monitor until they sober up
I just take mine down to the do-it-yourself car wash and spritz it off. Note: Be sure to unplug it first.