Does it REALLY work?
Wayne Williams tries to avoid buying a replacement monitor with the aid of a damp cloth, a pencil and some gentle rubbing
We try to fix a stuck pixel with a damp cloth
Your monitor’s screen may display several million individual pixels so a single stuck (or dead) one really shouldn’t matter. However, once you spot it, you won’t ever be able to unsee it – that tiny wrong- coloured dot will taunt you continually. Fortunately, you may be able to unstick it with nothing more high-tech than a warm cloth.
Before we progress, it’s important to explain the difference between a stuck pixel and a dead one. If your problem pixel is displaying a different colour from all the pixels around it (slightly changing hue as the colours around it change), then the pixel is stuck. If it’s permanently black, then it’s probably dead. A stuck pixel, which can be red, green, blue or any combination of these colours, can be unstuck, but a dead one can’t be brought back to life. That said, stuck pixels can sometimes look like dead ones, so it’s still worth trying to unstick it.
How we tested it
Our first step was to give the entire screen a gentle clean, to make sure any problem pixels we’d identified weren’t merely specks of dust. We then fired up our web browser, set it to full-screen mode and ran the LCD Deadpixel Test ( bit.ly/pixel446). The test displays pages with a solid background colour (black, white, red, green or blue) to make it easy to spot any stuck (or dead) pixels. 1
We were already aware of one stuck pixel on our test monitor, and used the solid background to check whether there were any others. Having established that there was just the one, we took a blunt pencil and wrapped the point in a small piece of cloth, then lightly dipped the end in boiling water. We then carefully – and gently – applied pressure in a circular motion to the problem pixel, 2 taking care not to press too many surrounding pixels.
The idea here is to massage the stuck pixel so that the liquid in its sub-pixels is spread equally and it lets through the right amount of light.
After a couple of attempts, we managed to unstick the pixel, but about 20 minutes later, it stuck again. We repeated the process a second time but – again – it only worked temporarily and the stuck pixel simply came back again, suggesting this problem isn’t something that can be easily fixed. However, it’s still worth trying as it may work for you.
Because this fix involves an element of risk (if you’re not careful you could damage your screen), it should be treated as a last resort. We would recommend trying the Jscreenfix method first (see boxout, below), or if your monitor is still within warranty, you could try returning it for a replacement.
1 The LCD Deadpixel Test clearly highlights the problem pixel on our screen
2 Press the pencil’s cloth- covered point on the stuck pixel and massage it gently