August 24 2020

Appropriate Method for Cleaning Machinery HMI Touchscreens

The world was hit hard with the current pandemic due to the Covid-19 virus. Protecting ourselves, along with our families and colleagues, is always on our minds. We clean and disinfect our work areas, tools, and equipment to minimize the spread of the virus. However, it is crucial to understand that some tools and equipment can also be at risk, not from the virus but through unintentional harm due to a misstep in the cleaning process. This risk is especially true when cleaning and disinfecting touchscreen monitors.

Choosing the wrong method of cleaning a touchscreen monitor can leave that monitor unusable. When a touchscreen HMI is used to control machinery, this could have the dire consequence of leaving the entire machine inoperable.

Please follow these simple steps for safely cleaning your machine’s HMI touchscreens. Remember to NEVER spray the solution directly on the touchscreen, use a clean cloth instead, as noted below:

  1. Always be sure to shut down the machine and disconnect power.
  2. Use a clean and dry non-abrasive cloth to remove loose dirt or smudges.
  3. Dampen a clean, non-abrasive cloth with mild soap and water, and wipe any dirt residue.
  4. Allow drying.
  5. If disinfection is needed, use another clean, non-abrasive cloth with CDC recommended disinfecting solution applied to it or a commercially available pre-moistened disinfecting wipe (see the CDC list below).
  6. Allow drying completely before use.

CDC recommended disinfectant solutions safe for use with touchscreen products include the following:

  • Household bleach solution (1/3 cup bleach per gal. of water)
  • Isopropyl alcohol (60-70% solution)

US EPA-recommended disinfectants safe for touchscreen products include the following:

  • Clorox® disinfecting wipes
  • Clorox® healthcare bleach germicidal wipes
  • Clorox® commercial solutions hydrogen peroxide cleaner disinfectant wipes
  • Lonza® disinfectant wipes
  • Lysol® brand clean & fresh multi-surface cleaner (20% cleaner solution to water ratio)
  • Purell® professional surface disinfectant wipes
  • Sani-Cloth® prime germicidal disposable wipes

DO NOT use the following!

  • Alcohol at concentration > 70% (i.e., what is normally referred to as ethanol)
  • Methanol
  • Thinners, degreasers or Benzine
  • Strong solvents
  • Acids
  • Detergents with fluoride
  • Detergents with ammonia at concentration > 1.6%
  • Abrasive cleaners
  • Detergents with abrasives
  • Steel wool or cloth with steel threads
  • Sponges with abrasives
  • Formula 409® Cleaner