My phone screen picks up the usual fingerprint smudges, but there is a band where the swipe keyboard appears that is particularly bad. Rubbing with phone screen cleaning wipes and glasses cleaning clothes does not remove the smudges from this band.

It's a Google Pixel XL, if it makes any difference.

Things I have tried:

  • Cheap phone screen wipes, seem to be mild alcohol based
  • Glasses cleaning cloth
  • Glasses cleaning cloth with small amount of phone screen cleaning liquid (unknown content)

How can I get rid of these smudges? Can things like window cleaner (Windex or similar, with vinegar) be used safely, or is there something better?

  • If I understand correctly, you're not using a screen protector of any kind, and the smudges are directly on the phone screen? Does the smudges out stand from the screen, or it feels "like it isn't there"? Any idea what was the cause for them? Commented Apr 19, 2018 at 17:34

5 Answers 5


You can make your own cleaning solution with alcohol (I use a 50/50 mix of water and vodka) and put in a small spray bottle (I bought one from the travel section at the drugstore). Spray the solution (one or two pumps) onto a tissue or microfiber cloth and wipe the screen. Works better than pre-moistened wipes because you can control the amount of liquid.

I use a glass screen protector and this works perfectly to clean it. DO NOT use on your laptop screen as the alcohol may damage the coating.

  • 2
    +1 for specifying to spray the solution on the cloth rather than the screen directly. Though I've never heard anybody use vodka for this.
    – Mooseman
    Commented Dec 6, 2018 at 11:19

I've found clean microfibre cloths to be quite effective on their own with phone smudges.

  • I tested this and they do help, but don't seem to completely clean that one spot. So far microfibre seems to work better than the dedicated screen wipes though.
    – aaa
    Commented Apr 19, 2018 at 8:41
  • 1
    @aaa A little misting might help - spectacles-cleaning fluid, one little drop of water (be careful) or even just a puff of breath. The crucial detail is that the microfibre cloth must be clean; otherwise it just spreads the ‘grease’ around after awhile. Try combining the two: use the screen wipes, then the microfibre.
    – Lawrence
    Commented Apr 19, 2018 at 8:46

If your phone does not already have oleophobic coating on the screen, the easiest way to fight against fingerprint marks on the screen is to buy oleophobic screen protector.

Olephobic means that there is a thin coating on the screen that repels water, dirt and for your case most important, oil marks.

It does not remove them 100%, but it get rids of most of the fingertip marks.

  • Do you have an example of this working on fingerprints? It looks promising.
    – aaa
    Commented Dec 3, 2018 at 14:41
  • I have a screen protector with oleophobic coating and it works great. As I said, it does not completely stop fingerprints (which is kind of impossible with glass), but it minimizes them. If your fingers aren't completely oily or sweaty, this should help you. Also, those screen protectors are not so expensive to buy on eBay or such sites, so there isn't much to loose even if you buy it and it doesn't work good enough for you :)
    – Matt
    Commented Dec 3, 2018 at 15:50

You can try slightly damp tissue paper (or cloth) with a little soap on it (you want it to be very slightly damp, not wet). Clean any soap residues with equally slightly damp tissue without soap. This works well on mine, at least.


I have a plastic protector that is built into my case and I use hydrogen peroxide. It takes all the grease completely off.

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