How to Properly Clean a TV Screen

Not all TV screens are created equal. Some are screens made of thick glass, especially with older models like tube TVs. Others are made of more fragile materials, which can easily be damaged if you clean them the wrong way. Using Windex or other harsh cleaning agents can do irreparable damage to most flat-screen TVs. Here’s how to clean your TV without damaging it.

How to Clean a Flat-Screen TV

To clean a flat-screen TV, first, turn it off and unplug it. Then use a dry microfiber cloth made for electronics or glass to wipe off any dust and debris. If you have any hard-to-remove stains, you can dampen your cloth with distilled water and a small amount of soap.

These steps work with any LED, LCD, OLED, or plasma TV screen. However, we recommend that you check your owner’s manual if you still have it, or search for it online. Some TVs have very specific rules on how to properly clean the screen.

  1. Turn off your TV and unplug it. Turning your TV off is safer, and you can see more dirt and smudges when the TV is unplugged. Plus, this gives your TV a chance to cool down, which will help you clean it better.
  2. Using a soft, dry microfiber cloth, gently wipe the screen in a circular motion to clean off any dust and debris. Some TVs come with their own cleaning cloths. If you don’t have this cloth, you can use an anti-static microfiber cloth, like the ones used to clean eyeglasses, camera lenses, computer monitors, and vinyl records. Never use paper towels, tissues, or rags to clean your TV screen. These contain fibers that can leave scratches on your screen. Also, remember to avoid pressing down too hard. Pushing on the screen too hard and cause pixels to burn out.
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  3. For hard-to-remove stains, moisten your cloth with distilled water. Never apply any kind of cleaning solution directly onto the screen. This can cause moisture to get into the seal around the screen and damage the electronics. You should only apply a cleaning solution to the cloth. 
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  4. If that fails, use a solution of mild dish soap and distilled water. You shouldn’t need much soap. In fact, Panasonic only recommends a solution of 1 part neutral detergent to 100 parts water).

Using harsh cleaning products (such as Windex and Formula 409) can react with the materials the screen is coated with, which can permanently discolor the screen. If you want to use a packaged screen cleaner, make sure it does not contain benzene, ammonia, alcohol, acetone, or any other harsh chemicals. However, most of these HDTV screen cleaners are 99% water anyway.

How to Clean a Tube TV Screen

If you have an older CRTV or tube TV, you can use the same glass cleaner you use on your windows. First, unplug your TV and wipe any dust away with a microfiber cloth. If you need to, you can moisten the cloth with a 50/50 mixture of rubbing alcohol and water.

  1. Turn off your TV and unplug it.
  2. Wipe the screen with a microfiber cloth to get rid of dust and debris.
  3. Moisten your cloth with a 50/50 mixture of rubbing alcohol and water.
  4. Wipe the screen again with a dry cloth.

Once you get your TV cleaned, you can make it look even nicer by mounting it. Take our short quiz to find the best tv mount for you.

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