Last night I sat down to work at my beloved 20″ iMac G5 only to discover that my precocious two-year-old son had decided to scribble on the screen with a ball point pen! Not as bad as this kid with a sharpie and a powerbook, but very visible right in the center of the screen. My son was wise enough to do this alone and undiscovered until after he’d gone to sleep, so I had ample time to lower my blood pressure before discussing the error of his ways with him this morning.
But what to do about cleaning the pen ink stains from the LCD screen?! Some quick googling suggested that a 50/50 dilution of isopropyl (rubbing) alcohol and a soft cloth is the right way to clean an LCD monitor, and to definitely NOT use products with ammonia such as Windex. So up I trudged to the medicine cabinet, diluted some rubbing alcohol, grabbed an old cotton t-shirt, and gently cleaned the monitor. Hmm… it’s a little better, but still definitely noticeable ink lines.
So more digging uncovered that I am not alone in discovering toddler + pen + LCD screen = big problem. One parent was blessed enough to find purple crayon all over a brand new 52″ widescreen TV, and the shared the secret to removing it: good ol’ WD-40.
I was a little more nervous about applying WD-40 to my screen, but I also could not stand staring at the black scribbles and was dreading doing so for the rest of the iMac’s life. So I descended to the basement and returned with the all-purpose wonder spray. (Two of my favorite unofficial uses include #1884: Spray on watch band to keep it from pulling out your arm hairs, and #1990: Helps remove stuck prosthetic leg) I squirted a little onto another corner of the t-shirt, rubbed gently in a circular fashion and, just like magic, the ink stains were gone.
Disclaimer: I cannot vouch for the long term effects of using WD-40 on your computer screen. Use your own judgment and common sense, and, by all means, keep your toddler away from your computer! To be honest, I’m still a little afraid of my monitor turning yellow in a few days — BUT, it did remove the pen from my iMac screen and so far seems to have caused no adverse reaction, only a distinct lowering of my blood pressure.
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