How do you clean fingerprints from a TV screen? It's not difficult, but there are a few things to consider. Learn how to clean a flat screen TV without streaks.
To keep your TV performing at its best, one thing you should consider is cleaning the screen regularly.
A TV screen covered in dust and fingerprints will affect the performance, and everything you watch won’t look as good as it could.
And, for those with small children, there are all sorts of sticky stuff that can find its way onto your TV’s screen.
Learning how to clean a TV screen isn’t hard, but there are a couple of things to know, so you don’t cause any damage.
What about the product you use to clean your windows? Soap and water? Or maybe a dedicated TV cleaning product?
This guide will explain why you probably shouldn’t use any of those things.
Discover how to clean a flat-screen TV without streaks and keep your TV in tip-top performance in the future.
Table of Contents
- How to Clean a Flat Screen TV
- Turn Off the TV
- Wipe the Screen With a Dry Microfiber Cloth
- Use a Damp Cloth For Problem Areas
- Let the Screen Dry Naturally
- Buff Any Remaining Visible Marks
- Clean the Frame, Stand and Back of the TV
- What Do the TV Manufacturers Recommend?
- Can You Use Window Cleaning Products on Your TV?
- Do You Need to Buy a Cleaning Kit for Your TV Screen?
- How to Regularly Maintain Your TV Screen
- How to Clean Your TV’s Remote Control
How to Clean a Flat Screen TV
Regularly cleaning your TV screen will keep your TV working as well as it can. But, if you don’t clean it correctly, you may scratch the screen or damage the delicate anti-glare coating that many new screens have – which will seriously affect the performance of the TV.
With old CRT televisions, you could wipe the screen with almost anything without causing any harm. But, a modern flat-screen TV needs more care.
So, before you start, follow this guide and learn step-by-step how to clean a flat-screen TV the right way.
Total Time: 30 minutes
1. Turn Off the TV
Before you do anything, please turn off the TV and let it cool down.
You will see the problem areas much easier when the screen is dark. You may also find it helpful to turn on the main room light, or open the curtains, as a bright light nearby can make it easier to see the problem areas.
It’s also a good idea to unplug your television to ensure no electricity is present while cleaning.
2. Wipe the Screen With a Dry Microfiber Cloth
Using a microfiber cloth is essential as it will not scratch the screen. A cloth made from a coarse material – even tissues and paper towels – can make things worse.
Please don’t use a cloth that has chemicals applied to it. If you don’t have a microfiber cloth, try using the small cloth that comes with your glasses, phone or tablet.
Wipe with overlapping vertical or horizontal strokes and remove any dust or particles on the screen. Apply minimal pressure to avoid damaging the pixels under the screen surface.
Change the position of the cloth in your hand so you regularly use a clean part. This will ensure you don’t simply move the dust from one part of the screen to another.
3. Use a Damp Cloth For Problem Areas
Check the screen and see if there are any stubborn problem areas. These might be sticky fingerprints or accumulations of dust that have stuck together.
These problem areas may need the help of a liquid to successfully remove them – but only use liquid on these isolated areas rather than across the whole screen.
Get another clean, dry microfiber cloth and spray the liquid as a fine mist onto the fabric. Whatever you do, don’t be tempted to spray any liquid directly on the screen.
Gently rub the dirty area using a circular motion, which can be quicker as it cleans from multiple angles in one go.
Once the area is clean, gently wipe horizontally or vertically in overlapping lines to clear any smears or streaks.
If you want to buy a dedicated TV cleaning kit with a cloth and cleaning solution, you can – but you don’t need to.
The best liquid to use is distilled water, as even tap water can contain particles that could scratch your screen.
However, you must avoid cleaning liquids with harmful chemicals such as alcohol, acetone, benzene and ammonia.
You can make your own TV screen cleaning solution for stubborn areas by mixing 1 part of distilled water with 1 part of white vinegar.
Or, you can create a more powerful solution with 1 part isopropyl alcohol and 4 parts distilled water.
4. Let the Screen Dry Naturally
After removing all the problem areas with a damp cloth, let the screen dry naturally in the air.
It won’t take long as you shouldn’t have applied much liquid in the first place.
5. Buff Any Remaining Visible Marks
You may find a few visible marks left on the screen after any liquid has dried, and these can be tidied up with your dry microfiber cloth.
Gently buff each small region vertically or horizontally until it is gone.
6. Clean the Frame, Stand and Back of the TV
To avoid dust quickly forming on the TV screen again, it’s a good idea to clean the rest of the TV too.
You can use a dry or damp cloth to wipe away dust from the bezel around the edge of the screen, from the stand and from the TV’s rear.
If there is a significant dust accumulation in the TV’s speaker grilles or input and output ports, you can use your vacuum cleaner and a small nozzle tool to quickly clear these areas.
- 1 or 2 microfiber cloths
- Distilled water
- White vinegar (optional)
- Isopropyl Alcohol (optional)
- Vacuum cleaner (optional)
What Do the TV Manufacturers Recommend?
The tips for cleaning your TV screen in this article will work for any flat-screen TV brand.
So, if you own a TV by Sony, Samsung, LG or TCL, you can use these methods to clean your TV screen.
However, here is a summary of some of the top TV brand’s screen cleaning tips.
- Turn off the TV
- Clean the frame and screen with a microfiber cleaning cloth
- If you still have issues, spray distilled water on your microfiber cleaning cloth and gently wipe the screen
- Unplug the TV from the power
- Don’t spray anything directly on the screen
- Don’t use chemicals
- Don’t let the TV touch rubber or vinyl materials for long periods
- Gently wipe the screen with a dry, soft cloth
- For inks from oil markers, soak the cloth in a non-soap synthetic cleanser diluted by water
- Use a small duster to clean between the TV and stand
- Dry any liquid on the screen as soon as possible
- Avoid chemicals like alcohol, thinners and benzene
- Don’t spray water directly on the screen
- Use a soft, lint-free cloth
- Unplug the TV
- Gently wipe the screen in a circular motion
As you can see, the guidelines are similar, regardless of the TV brand. To find the best brand of TV for your room, check out the flat-screen TV buying guide.
Can You Use Window Cleaning Products on Your TV?
No. Avoid using cleaning products that you have for cleaning windows and household surfaces.
Window cleaning products often contain chemicals like alcohol and ammonia, which can damage the screen.
Any type of scouring powder, wax and soap may also scratch the TV screen’s surface.
Do You Need to Buy a Cleaning Kit for Your TV Screen?
Buying a cleaning kit for your TV screen isn’t necessary in most cases.
If you have access to a microfiber cloth and distilled water at home, you have almost everything you need – or, if not, it is usually much cheaper to purchase these separately.
However, buying a cleaning kit can be easier if you want to get everything all in one go. Just make sure that any cleaning solution doesn’t include harmful chemicals like alcohol and ammonia.
This is a popular TV screen cleaning kit on Amazon:
- For LED, LCD and plasma TV screens, laptops, iPads and computer monitors
- Includes a large microfiber cloth
- Cleaning solution contains no alcohol, ammonia or phosphates
- Pure distilled water is safer for screens with anti-glare coatings
How to Regularly Maintain Your TV Screen
The best way is to regularly check your TV screen every couple of weeks and wipe away any dust or fingerprints with a dry microfiber cloth.
Regular cleaning will make this a relatively small job, but if you wait until dust accumulates on greasy fingerprints, it will be more challenging to clean later on.
How to Clean Your TV’s Remote Control
While cleaning your TV, it might be a good time to clean the remote control.
You can do this in a few simple steps:
- Remove the batteries so you don’t switch things on and off while cleaning.
- Use a dry toothbrush or toothpick to remove the worst accumulations around the buttons.
- Avoid using chemicals if you can. Use a damp microfiber cloth or disposable antibacterial wipe to clean the remote’s front, sides, and back. Distilled or tap water should work well in most cases – or dilute water and white vinegar solution if you need something a little stronger.
Use a dry cloth to remove any excess liquid, and then you can replace the batteries.
About Home Cinema Guide
Paul started the Home Cinema Guide to help less-experienced users get the most out of today's audio-visual technology. He has worked as a sound, lighting and audio-visual engineer for around 20 years. At home, he has spent more time than is probably healthy installing, configuring, testing, de-rigging, fixing, tweaking, re-installing again (and sometimes using) various pieces of hi-fi and home cinema equipment. You can find out more here.