When the sun hits your TV screen at just the right moment, you can see layers of dust and dirty fingerprints staring back at you. While you might not have noticed these marks the last time you were watching, once you know they are there, you probably won’t be able to focus on anything else until you know how to clean your smart TV screen.
No, it’s not a case of dusting it off like the rest of your furniture or giving your screen a quick spray with the Windex while cleaning the windows. Things like this can permanently damage your TV screen, making it even more frustrating to watch!
TV screens need special care when it comes to cleaning. Follow our step-by-step guide below to get it right.
1. Know What Type Of TV You Have
Before cleaning your TV, the first thing you should do is read the care instructions provided by the manufacturer. It is important to follow these guidelines, especially if your TV is still within warranty (or you could void your coverage).
If you no longer have the instructions, you must at least determine what type of screen you have. The care instructions will depend on whether it is LCD (liquid crystal display), LED (light-emitting diode), QLED (quantum-dot light-emitting diode), OLED (organic light-emitting diode), or plasma.
While the basic cleaning procedures for all these different screens are the same, if you need to deep clean, you will want to know what type of screen you have.
2. Power Down Your TV
Before you start cleaning your TV you should unplug it and let it cool down. This will prevent you from getting an electric shock during cleaning, keep static electricity from continuing to attract dust and lint, and dust or liquid touching anything shouldn’t cause an electrical issue.
When the TV is cooled down, clean your cords by wiping them down with a cloth. You can attack harder stains on cords with any household cleaner as long as the TV is unplugged and the cord isn’t damaged.
3. Remove Dust And Grime From The Screen
Your first cleaning pass for the screen and the back of the TV should be to wipe it down with an anti-static microfiber cloth. This will remove dust, grime, and other loose particles that have accumulated on your screen.
When wiping, be sure not to push too hard as this can damage parts of your screen. It is better to wipe the screen multiple times from various directions rather than apply pressure.
This may be all that you need to do to clean your screen, but if you have fingerprints on the screen or any other type of more durable stain, you may need to do more.
4. Clean Your Screen
If your screen is still dirty, you might need to apply a cleaning product. DO NOT use any standard household cleaners, including glass cleaners. These cleaners all tend to contain ingredients such as alcohol, benzene, ammonia, or acetone. These can damage the surface of your screen, especially those with anti-glare coatings, and the damage can be permanent.
Filtered water can be enough to deal with most stains, but never actually wet your screen. Instead, slightly moisten your cloth and then use it to wipe down your screen. If your cloth is too wet, you might also need to wipe the screen dry using a microfiber towel. Never use paper towels or toilet paper as the fibers can be abrasive on the screen.
If water alone is not enough to deal with serious stains, you can invest in a special screen cleaner. The cleaners you find will be low-concentration cleaners with about 1% active product in a water solution, but they are specially formulated to work on your screen.
Some of our top recommendations for the best screen cleaning liquids are below.
4.7 stars (11,424 reviews)
This is a gentle but effective plant-based cleaner that should be effective enough to work on any screen without damaging it. It also comes with two dirt-lifting microfiber cloths to remove dust as well as two pixel-shining cloths for removing oils.
4.6 stars (21,555 reviews)
This screen spray can give you the lubrication you need to remove staining and fingerprints without any harsh chemicals that can damage your screen. It also comes with a microfiber cloth that can be used to wipe off dust or gently apply the formula to your screen.
4.4 stars (450 reviews)
This kit comes with two anti-static microfiber cleaning cloths perfect for TV screens, and a large bottle of a safe spray that should remove oil and smudges. The formula contains no ammonia or other chemicals that can damage LED or LCD TV screens.
5. Clean The Back Of Your TV
While the most noticeable grime on your TV will be on the screen, you need to clean the back of your TV as well. You can clean the back of your TV the same way as the screen, and you shouldn’t need any more powerful cleaners unless there are serious stains. For the back of the screen you can use traditional cleaning products sparingly if necessary, but it can be safer to clean the back of your TV the same way as the screen.
On the back of the TV, you do need to pay particular attention to the air vents that keep your TV cool. Dust build-up here can be a problem and cause functional issues. You can remove dust from the vents with a static duster or with a vacuum cleaner that has a soft brush attachment.
6. Clean The Remote Control
Probably the dirtiest part of your TV is your remote control! Just think about what you are doing when you touch the remote and how many people use it every day. Fortunately, remote controls are a bit more durable than TV screens and you can clean them with traditional cleaners.
Wet wipes can be a good choice for cleaning, but it’s a good idea to remove the batteries while you are cleaning, just to be safe. While they are tougher than the screen, you still can’t submerge your remote controls in water or cleaners.
7. Plug Your TV Back In
Make sure all parts of your TV, from the screen to the power cord, are dry before you plug your TV back into the power socket. When it is completely dry, go ahead and plug your TV back in and enjoy a better picture quality, until the next time it’s time for a cleaning.
You might take this opportunity to review your TV set-up as well. Read our comprehensive guide to setting up Android TV boxes and smart TVs here.
Can you use Windex on a flat screen TV?
Never use window cleaner or other chemical cleaners on your flat screen TV. This can permanently damage your screen and any anti-glare coating.
What is the best way to clean a flat screen TV?
The best way to clean a flat screen TV is to lightly wipe it down with an anti-static microfiber cloth. If this does not remove all the stains, use distilled water. Don’t spray the liquid directly onto the TV. Spray the liquid onto the microfiber cloth and use this to apply minimal amounts of liquid. Never use chemical cleaners on your TV screen.
Can I use glasses cleaner on my TV?
Glasses cleaner can be gentle enough to use on your TV screen, but it is an expensive cleaner for such a large screen. Distilled water is usually sufficient to clean your screen.
Can I use wet wipes to clean my TV?
Wet wipes contain chemical cleaners and so should not be used to clean TV screens. The chemicals can strip away the screen coatings and permanently damage the screen. You can use wet wipes to clean your TV remote.
A clean TV screen means better picture quality, so regularly cleaning the dust and fingerprints off your screen can make a big difference, but the nature of TV screens means that they are easily damaged if too much pressure is applied or when chemical cleaners are used. Instead, you should wipe down your screen with a microfiber cloth and clean with distilled water when necessary.
Always make sure your TV is unplugged when you are cleaning it, to avoid any electrical damage or accidents. Also, don’t forget to clean the air vents at the back of your TV with a duster or a vacuum cleaner.
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