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Quit Streaking: Cleaning Glasses and Screens Without Streaks or Smudges

Quit Streaking: Cleaning Glasses and Screens Without Streaks or Smudges

Most of us spend a fair bit of time in front of our computer screens, and a fair number of us squint through eyeglasses while doing so. What’s ridiculously frustrating is trying to focus on a screen through greasy, streaky eyeglasses, and even worse when the screen is slathered in smudges as well. Is there a way to solve these problems without pitching both out the window? Yes. Yes, there is.

Let’s tackle eyeglasses first, shall we?

Though this is heralded worldwide as the tried-and-true method for cleaning glasses, it doesn’t always do the trick: if the soap you’re using has any sort of oil or moisturizing lotion in it whatsoever, you’ll end up with a greasy film all over the glass that’s nearly impossible to focus through. Trying to rub it away with a lens cloth or chamois doesn’t work either—it just smears that oil around and makes it worse. There is one kind of soap that works really well for cleaning glasses, though: dish soap. It’s naturally formulated to cut through grease and oil to leave drinking glasses squeaky clean, and it’ll do wonders for your specs as well. All you need to do is wash your hands, put a couple of drops of dish soap on your now-clean fingertip, and use it to wash all around the lenses. Be sure to get around the nose bridge as well: that tends to collect a fair bit of oil too. When you’re finished, rinse them clean with hot water, and dry them off with lint-less fabric such as very clean cotton (like an old tee-shirt or handkerchief), or microfiber cloth: they’re the least likely to shed lint onto your nice, clean glasses.

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If every bit of soap you have in the house has oils in it—some dish detergents have “hand-softening” cream, or essential oils in them—then you can also use a bit of white vinegar on a cloth to clean the glasses: vinegar cuts through oil really effectively, and is actually the best cleaner on earth for mirrors and windows. If it can get those clean, it can do the same for your eyeglasses. Just dip some lint-free cloth into a 50/50 mix of distilled water and white vinegar, rub the lenses gently to clean them, and then let them air dry—the liquid will evaporate quickly, leaving the glass streak-free.

Do not use:

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  • Windex or other glass cleaners
  • Alcohol-based wipes (they can discolor plastic frames over time)
  • Dryer sheets when washing microfiber cloths (they’ll leave film on them)

So, now that your eyeglasses are nice and sparkly, what can be done about those streaks plaguing your computer screen? Well, there are a couple of different cleaning options depending on the kind of screen you have, i.e. glass computer monitor versus flat LCD screen.

Cleaning a CRT Monitor

You can treat your CRT monitor as you would a mirror or other delicate glass surface, and use that same 50/50 mix of distilled water and white vinegar that you used for your eyeglasses. First, ensure that the monitor is turned off: you’ll be able to see smudges and spots far more easily against the black background. Next, moisten a lint-free cloth with the mixture and wring it out so it doesn’t drip, and wipe your screen in a single direction (as opposed to a back-and-forth motion) until you’ve cleaned the entire surface. Wipe away any moisture with a clean, dry,cloth, or use a hairdryer on its “cool” setting to speed the drying process.

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Cleaning an LCD Screen

For a flat LCD screen, you can also use the vinegar/water solution applied with a damp cloth, but many people seem to prefer a rubbing alcohol/water mixture for a streak-free shine.

To use this method, you’ll want to get yourself 90% isopropyl rubbing alcohol and some distilled water, and blend the two of them into a 2:1 ratio solution of water and alcohol (so there’s twice as much water as there is rubbing alcohol). Just like with any other glass, ensure that you use a lint-free piece of fabric to clean it with—any paper-based material (bathroom tissue, paper towels, etc.) will leave dust and paper fibers all over the place, and nobody wants that.

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Turn off your monitor or laptop so all the smudges pop out from the black screen, and use the same process with the dampened cloth as for a CRT monitor.

Do not:

  • Spray liquid directly at your screen—always moisten a cloth and use that on the surface instead
  • Press on the screen as you’re cleaning it. You have to be very gentle so you don’t scratch it or damage it accidentally

Once you’ve wiped it down, you can dry it gently with another clean cloth, and you’ll be left with a shiny, streak-free screen you can stare at happily for hours.

Featured photo credit:  A small man cleaning a pair of reading glasses via Shutterstock

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Last Updated on March 13, 2019

How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

Have you gotten into a rut before? Or are you in a rut right now?

You know you’re in a rut when you run out of ideas and inspiration. I personally see a rut as a productivity vacuum. It might very well be a reason why you aren’t getting results. Even as you spend more time on your work, you can’t seem to get anything constructive done. While I’m normally productive, I get into occasional ruts (especially when I’ve been working back-to-back without rest). During those times, I can spend an entire day in front of the computer and get nothing done. It can be quite frustrating.

Over time, I have tried and found several methods that are helpful to pull me out of a rut. If you experience ruts too, whether as a working professional, a writer, a blogger, a student or other work, you will find these useful. Here are 12 of my personal tips to get out of ruts:

1. Work on the small tasks.

When you are in a rut, tackle it by starting small. Clear away your smaller tasks which have been piling up. Reply to your emails, organize your documents, declutter your work space, and reply to private messages.

Whenever I finish doing that, I generate a positive momentum which I bring forward to my work.

2. Take a break from your work desk.

Get yourself away from your desk and go take a walk. Go to the washroom, walk around the office, go out and get a snack.

Your mind is too bogged down and needs some airing. Sometimes I get new ideas right after I walk away from my computer.

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3. Upgrade yourself

Take the down time to upgrade yourself. Go to a seminar. Read up on new materials (#7). Pick up a new language. Or any of the 42 ways here to improve yourself.

The modern computer uses different typefaces because Steve Jobs dropped in on a calligraphy class back in college. How’s that for inspiration?

4. Talk to a friend.

Talk to someone and get your mind off work for a while.

Talk about anything, from casual chatting to a deep conversation about something you really care about. You will be surprised at how the short encounter can be rejuvenating in its own way.

5. Forget about trying to be perfect.

If you are in a rut, the last thing you want to do is step on your own toes with perfectionist tendencies.

Just start small. Do what you can, at your own pace. Let yourself make mistakes.

Soon, a little trickle of inspiration will come. And then it’ll build up with more trickles. Before you know it, you have a whole stream of ideas.

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6. Paint a vision to work towards.

If you are continuously getting in a rut with your work, maybe there’s no vision inspiring you to move forward.

Think about why you are doing this, and what you are doing it for. What is the end vision in mind?

Make it as vivid as possible. Make sure it’s a vision that inspires you and use that to trigger you to action.

7. Read a book (or blog).

The things we read are like food to our brain. If you are out of ideas, it’s time to feed your brain with great materials.

Here’s a list of 40 books you can start off with. Stock your browser with only the feeds of high quality blogs, such as Lifehack.org, DumbLittleMan, Seth Godin’s Blog, Tim Ferris’ Blog, Zen Habits or The Personal Excellence Blog.

Check out the best selling books; those are generally packed with great wisdom.

8. Have a quick nap.

If you are at home, take a quick nap for about 20-30 minutes. This clears up your mind and gives you a quick boost. Nothing quite like starting off on a fresh start after catching up on sleep.

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9. Remember why you are doing this.

Sometimes we lose sight of why we do what we do, and after a while we become jaded. A quick refresher on why you even started on this project will help.

What were you thinking when you thought of doing this? Retrace your thoughts back to that moment. Recall why you are doing this. Then reconnect with your muse.

10. Find some competition.

Nothing quite like healthy competition to spur us forward. If you are out of ideas, then check up on what people are doing in your space.

Colleagues at work, competitors in the industry, competitors’ products and websites, networking conventions.. you get the drill.

11. Go exercise.

Since you are not making headway at work, might as well spend the time shaping yourself up.

Sometimes we work so much that we neglect our health and fitness. Go jog, swim, cycle, whichever exercise you prefer.

As you improve your physical health, your mental health will improve, too. The different facets of ourselves are all interlinked.

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Here’re 15 Tips to Restart the Exercise Habit (and How to Keep It).

12. Take a good break.

Ruts are usually signs that you have been working too long and too hard. It’s time to get a break.

Beyond the quick tips above, arrange for a 1-day or 2-days of break from your work. Don’t check your (work) emails or do anything work-related. Relax and do your favorite activities. You will return to your work recharged and ready to start.

Contrary to popular belief, the world will not end from taking a break from your work. In fact, you will be much more ready to make an impact after proper rest. My best ideas and inspiration always hit me whenever I’m away from my work.

Take a look at this to learn the importance of rest: The Importance of Scheduling Downtime

More Resources About Getting out of a Rut

Featured photo credit: Joshua Earle via unsplash.com

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