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How to clean your TV screen

You can't use just anything to clean such a surface.
By

Published onFebruary 6, 2023

The ubiquity of television screens can sometimes blind us to their fragile nature. A modern LED or OLED screen is high technology, with all the benefits and all the fragility that come with it. This refers not only to the resolution of the screen, its refresh rate, and its ability to stream 4K movies with no Ethernet cable necessary. It also refers to the screen itself — its various layers include multiple coatings to reduce glare, to direct the light produced, and to physically protect the screen. You can’t use just anything to clean such a surface; in fact, different manufacturers of the same kind of screen give differing instructions on screen maintenance.

The damage done to a TV from the wrong cleaner or bad cleaning practices cannot be undone. So your overall strategy should be one of erring on the side of caution. Keep in mind that these instructions are for any kind of TV, whether it’s an older CRT TV or a plasma or an LED or OLED. Read on for an up-to-the-minute guide on how to clean your TV screen.

QUICK ANSWER

To clean your TV screen, first try using a microfiber cloth by itself. This should remove most smears or fingerprints. For stubborn smudges, spray some distilled water on the cloth (not on the screen). Wipe gently to avoid damaging the screen.


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What to use to clean your TV screen

Fire TV on the Echo Show 15

According to a wide array of experts in both electronics and housecleaning, the safest thing to use to clean your TV screen is a microfiber cloth by itself. Paper towels and tissues can actually contain fibers big enough to scratch your screen. If you have to use something more, use a little distilled water, only on the cloth. Your regular tap water may be just fine, but if it contains calcium and/or magnesium (making it what is known as hard water), it may also contain particles big enough to do damage.

If you are seeing some smudges that aren’t coming off with just the cloth and distilled water, it may be necessary to use a cleaning solution. There are two options here, store-bought and homemade. If you buy a screen cleaning solution, make sure it has no alcohol or ammonia or acetone in it, and also make sure the cloth it comes with are made of microfiber. If you want to make your cleaner at home, the recommendation is to use a 100:1 dilution of dish soap in distilled water.

How to clean your TV screen

Whoosh Screen Cleaner Kit

Now that you know what to use, here are some pro tips on cleaning your screen:

  • Read your TV’s manual for specific instructions and cautions for your model.
  • Turn off your TV before you begin, both because it is safer and also to make it easier to see smudges.
  • Use straight motions to avoid grinding any particles into the screen.
  • Use gentle pressure; pressing too hard can damage pixels.
  • Any cleaner or distilled water you are using goes on the cloth, and definitely not on the screen.
  • If you used a solution, let the screen dry before turning the TV back on.

Things you should avoid

Caution Warning

There is quite a list of things that are hazardous to your screen, and so should be avoided at all costs. These include:

  • Alcohol
  • Ammonia
  • Windex and other window cleaners (except if you have an old CRT TV)
  • Acetone
  • Paper towels or tissues (they can scratch the screen)
  • Cleaning in a circular motion (it can grind any particles present into the screen)
  • Any store-bought cleaner not specifically made to clean electronic screens
  • Spraying any liquid directly on the screen (it can short-circuit the TV)

Read more: How to put a screen protector on your smartphone

FAQs

Most experts, from housekeeping gurus to professional photographers, recommend a weekly cleaning.

You should, but be very careful. Do not use solutions of any kind, and do not clean near the cracked part if you can possibly avoid it.

No. the cheapest TV on the market and the most expensive both need regular cleaning. So does every model between the two.