Cleaning your TV screen is easy and can help improve its performance if it’s covered in dust, fingerprints, or even some sticky residue from your little ones.
As an AV engineer, I sometimes had to clean a TV screen after installing it, so I had to learn how to do it quickly and safely.
Learn why you should avoid window cleaners and soap and water and how to make an inexpensive homemade screen cleaner. Read on for all the details.
- Use a dry microfiber cloth to dust the screen and remove fingerprints. For stuck-on dirt, use distilled water.
- Let the screen air dry after cleaning. Don’t use a towel.
- Avoid household cleaners like window cleaners that contain ammonia or alcohol.
- Make a screen cleaner with distilled water and a small amount of white vinegar or isopropyl alcohol.
How to Clean a Flat-Screen TV
Regularly cleaning your TV screen will keep your TV working as well as possible.
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 glass screens 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 how to clean a flat screen TV correctly – step by step.
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. Remove Dust 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 remove them successfully – but only use liquid on these isolated areas rather than across the whole screen.
Get another dry microfiber cloth (make sure it’s clean) 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.
Distilled water is the best liquid, 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.
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
Cleaning the rest of the TV is also a good idea to avoid dust quickly forming on the TV screen again.
You can use a dry or damp cloth to wipe away dust from the bezel around the edge of the screen, the stand, and 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 clear these areas quickly.
- 1 or 2 microfiber cloths
- Distilled water
- White vinegar (optional)
- Isopropyl Alcohol (optional)
- Vacuum cleaner (optional)
What Cleaning Tips Do the Top TV Brands Recommend?
These tips for cleaning your television screen will work for any flat-screen TV brand.
So, if you own a TV made 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 with 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, but if you are in doubt, check with your TV manufacturer before cleaning the screen.
Check out the TV buying guide for advice on choosing the best brand.
Can You Make Your Own Screen Cleaner Solution?
If you need something stronger than distilled water, making your screen-cleaning solution is straightforward.
Here are two ways you can do it:
- Mix 1 part of distilled water with 1 part of white vinegar. This will create a mild solution that should clean the more stubborn areas.
- For a more powerful solution, mix four parts of distilled water with one part of isopropyl alcohol.
I wouldn’t recommend using anything stronger than this, or you are in danger of damaging the screen.
If unsure, just using distilled water alone is always safer.
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 scouring powder, wax and soap may also scratch the TV screen’s surface.
Do You Need to Buy a TV Cleaning Kit?
Buying a cleaning kit for your TV screen isn’t usually necessary.
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 everything in one go. Just ensure 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 TV Screens
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.
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 usually work well – or dilute water and white vinegar solution if you need something stronger.
Use a dry cloth to remove any excess liquid, and then you can replace the batteries.
About The Author
Paul started the Home Cinema Guide to help less-experienced users get the most out of today's audio-visual technology. He has been 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.