Though many smart device touchscreen are now made of tempered, break-resistant glass (as a response to years of fragile, expensive-to-replace displays), no screen on a smartphone, tablet, or laptop is completely immune to cracks and breaks. While a crack can be distressing – particularly if you've just spent hundreds of dollars on a new device – you may not need to panic: if the crack in the screen isn't so deep that it's disturbed the pixels on your device's display, you may be able to fix it by using toothpaste on the cracked screen.
DIY Smartphone Screen Repair
Using toothpaste on a cracked phone is one of the oldest DIY repair tricks in the book. While it isn't as effective as the smartphone screen repair services provided by support shops or the Apple Store, it won't be nearly as expensive – and may be the difference between needing a costly repair or making it to your next scheduled device upgrade. To attempt the fix, you'll need a flavorless toothpaste (specifically a paste, not a gel) and one or more Q-tips. Remove the device from any cases, then lay it flat with the screen facing you. Use a display cleaner product to wipe down your screen, then use a can of compressed air to clear any dust or lint from the screen after wiping it dry with a cloth or paper towel. Apply a small amount of toothpaste to a Q-tip, then rub it into the crack in a firm, circular motion – being careful not to get any paste into bezels or gaps between the screen and the phone's shell. Use as many Q-tips as needed to apply the paste, then use a clean cloth to wipe any excess from the screen before cleaning it again. With luck, the toothpaste will have filled the gaps in the screen, extending the life of your device's display.
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Using Toothpaste on Laptop Screens
Though they generally don't take damage as easily or as frequently as smart devices, which tend to have glass-based screens, you can still use toothpaste on the cracked screen of a laptop to mend it. It may not be as effective depending on the depth of the crack, but the trick can extend the life of an LED display and prevent the need for immediate replacement. To attempt the repair, apply toothpaste – again, this should be a flavorless paste product – to a cloth after cleaning the screen and clearing it with a can of compressed air. Rub the paste into the screen using a circular motion, applying it to the location of the crack and the area immediately around it, but being careful not to get toothpaste into the gap between the screen and the rim of the laptop lid. Once the paste has been rubbed in, use a clean cloth to wipe in an up and down motion before cleaning the screen to prevent residue.
Protecting from Future Cracks
While using toothpaste on a phone screen or laptop display may solve the problem immediately, you will want to protect your screen from future cracks that could require costly repairs. For smartphones and tablets especially, it's crucial to apply screen protectors and keep the devices in cases – preferably with rounded edges that prevent the screen from making contact with a surface if the device is laid screen side down. Laptops should be kept closed when not in use and placed in soft sleeves or covers during transit, and all devices should be kept separate from objects like pens and keys that could create deep scratches. This is particularly important if you've repaired the screen once with toothpaste, as additional cracks could lead to catastrophic damage by re-opening old ones.