8 Best Screen Cleaners of 2020


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Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, we’ve all become much more diligent about keeping high-touch surfaces clean. And what could be more high touch than the phones, laptops, and other electronic devices we connect with almost 24/7? Especially at this time, they are our lifelines to family, work, and the outside world so it’s no wonder they get covered with dust, greasy fingerprints, and grime, not to mention germs we can’t see. Regular cleaning is important not only to make them look better, but for your personal safety, and to help your devices work better, too.

When we test screen cleaners in the Good Housekeeping Institute Cleaning Lab, we are first and foremost concerned with the how safe they are to use on delicate devices and whether they may cause any possible harm to screens and coatings. For pre-moistened wipes and liquid sprays, we check the ingredients for potentially damaging culprits, like ammonia, and steer clear of recommending products that contain them. For dry cloths, we look for a convenient and usable size and how easy they are to launder and clean.

We test all screen cleaners on a variety of devices — large and small and from different manufacturers — for how well they clean, how easy they are to use and store, how quickly they work and whether they leave any residue behind. Our picks here are based on our in-Lab testing, the personal favorites of our tech and cleaning experts, and those highly rated in online consumer reviews. Here are the best screen cleaners recommended by the GH Cleaning Lab:

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Best Overall Screen Cleaner

Electronic Wipes

Pre-moistened and ready-to-use, Weiman’s wipes remove dust, fingerprints and other greasy smudges and smears without any harsh ingredients that could damage delicate screens, all reasons that helped them earn our Good Housekeeping Seal. In our Cleaning Lab tests, they were well-sized to use on large and small devices, worked quickly, and cleaned well. Screens dried fast and without any excess moisture, streaks or residue left behind. We also like using Weiman pre-moistened wipes to remove grime from keyboards and for spot cleaning, too.   

  • Contains no harsh ingredients
  • Helps repels dust
  • Not portable
  • Removes, but doesn’t kill germs

Best Value Screen Cleaner

Personal Electronics Microfiber Cleaning Cloth

If you want a basic cloth to wipe away greasy smudges and film on everything from your phone to your laptop to your television screen, E-Cloth can’t be beat. Made of microfiber, it picks up and locks in dust and dirt particles within its microscopic structure without scratching the surface and without the need for liquids, so it’s a safe bet for any device. And thanks to its large 8-inch by 12-inch size, there are thousands of minute crevices for trapping particles, so it can handle multiple cleanings before it needs rinsing or washing. For devices that can withstand moist cleaning, E-Cloth can be dampened before wiping for even better results. We have tested many E-Cloth microfiber cleaning cloths in the GH Cleaning Lab on glass, appliances, and countertops and are fans of them all.  

  • Large size works on small and large screens
  • Can be used wet or dry
  • Removes, but doesn’t kill germs

Best Screen Cleaning Spray Kit

Screen Cleaner

Insignia™
bestbuy.com

$9.99

Insignia, Best Buy’s private label brand screen cleaner, with a rating of 4.7 out of 5 stars and over 1300 online reviews, is a consumer favorite. While we haven’t tested this spray ourselves, consumers praise it for cleaning all types of screens quickly and thoroughly and without damage. Most say it zapped streaks well and give it points for including a washable microfiber cloth — though a bit small — that can be stored neatly with the spray under the cap. Handy for homes with lots of screens to clean, the 5-ounce bottle of cleaning solution goes a long way when you spray the cloth, then wipe.   

  • Backed by Best Buy
  • Includes a microfiber cloth
  • Some say the cloth is a bit small

Best On-the-Go Screen Cleaner Cloth

Pocket Toddy Travel-Sized Screen Cleaning Cloth

Toddy Gear
amazon.com

Toddy Gear microfiber cloths are a GH Cleaning Lab favorite not only for how hefty and durable they are, but for their dirt-trapping dual-sided cleaning and polishing fabrics and their fun, colorful prints. These travel-size minis are perfect to stash in a purse, glove box or briefcase for whenever you need to spruce up personal electronic screens or your car’s infotainment center. The five-inch by seven-inch cloth neatly folds down into its own little pouch so it stays clean, though it is machine washable and dry-able. 

  • Fold into a built-in pouch
  • Small and easy to carry
  • Removes, but doesn’t kill germs

Best Laptop Screen and Keyboard Cleaner

Good Grips Sweep & Swipe Laptop Cleaner

This ingenious little tool from Oxo is super handy to keep in a desk drawer or nearby your desktop. Pop off the plastic cover and use the microfiber pad to zap a smudge, fingerprint or speck of stuck-on dirt that’s blurring your screen. The soft-bristle brush gets gently into crevices, ports, openings and between and around keys to whisk away crumbs and dust. When done, just retract the brush back in to keep it clean and in good shape.   

  • Has a brush for keyboards and crevices
  • Compact and easy to store in a desk drawer
  • Stays clean and protected
  • Small for large screens and TVs

Best Screen Sanitizer for Phones

Pro UV Smartphone Sanitizer & Universal Charger

PhoneSoap
amazon.com

$119.95

There are lots of devices that use UV-C light and claim to kill bacteria and germs on surfaces. While it’s difficult determine just how effective they are without the assistance of a microbiology lab, there are some things about the PhoneSoap Pro that impressed us enough to include it here. In conversations we had with the manufacturer, we learned that the PhoneSoap Pro is EPA-registered, though it’s not required to be. EPA-registrations is something we look for on all the germ-killing cleaning products we test and provides the assurance that the claims are verified. And in our testing, we found the PhoneSoap Pro easy to use, cleans both sides of your phone at once in just five minutes, shuts off automatically and, for safety, as soon as the lid is raised and allows you to charge your phone while it’s being cleaned. You can also use it for sanitizing small items like eyeglasses, keys, and credit cards. While it kills germs, it doesn’t remove grease or smudges, so you’ll need to wipe you device with a cloth before or after sanitizing.   

  • Cleans both sides of phone within five minutes
  • Can charge phone while cleaning
  • Comes in six colors
  • Only fits small devices
  • Pricey
  • Items need wiped to remove smudges and film prior

Best Screen Cleaning Kit for Travel

Screen Cleaner Kit

A consumer favorite with over 1,200 five-star reviews on Amazon, Whoosh claims to be the screen cleaner of choice at Apple stores. In our experience, it leaves screens squeaky clean and shiny in seconds with no hard-to-remove residue. The small spray is great to tuck into a purse and the larger one, a desk drawer or TV stand. The microfiber cloths are six-inches square, washable, and perfect for phone, tablet, laptop and desktop screens. As with all liquids, we recommend spraying the cloth before wiping. Never spray a screen directly.   

  • Kit includes sprays and microfiber cloths
  • Available in larger sizes and wipes
  • Small size spray may not last long

Best Portable Screen Cleaning Wipes

Mobile Screen Wipes

If you have experience with high end cameras, binoculars, or microscopes, you likely recognize the Zeiss brand. With a long history in high quality lenses, they know how to clean delicate surfaces without damaging them. These pre-moistened, disposable wipes are individually wrapped so they stay clean, fresh, and wet until you open the package to use them. Easy to tuck into a purse, pocket, car console, desk or drawer, the wipes remove fingerprints and greasy smears without leaving behind any filmy residue that needs additional buffing. They can be used to clean eyeglasses, too.   

  • Individually wrapped
  • Easy to carry

Are disinfecting wipes safe for cleaning screens?

When it comes to cleaning electronics, the Good Housekeeping Institute Media and Tech Lab always recommends following the device manufacturer’s recommendations for safety. And while this is always a good practice, many of those recommendations are extra gentle to keep from damaging the anti-glare, fingerprint-resistant, and other protective coatings on a device’s surface.

Yes, simply wiping with a cloth will remove germs —along with grime — but if you want to actually kill germs, you need stronger measures. As a result, companies like Apple have recently acknowledged that disinfecting wipes, like Clorox and Lysol, and 70% alcohol wipes can safely be used on their devices. Unfortunately, disinfecting wipes are virtually impossible to find online now, so we haven’t included them in our round-up here.

If you have them at home and want to use them, make sure the wipe isn’t overly wet and no liquid seeps into any openings or ports. After air drying, wipe your device with a clean cloth to buff away any residue.

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