How to Clean Your TV Screen (and What NOT to Use)

If your TV screen is dirty, dusty or has smudges, you just want them gone. No one likes sitting in front of a TV to be constantly reminded of these ugly artifacts. There are things you should and should NOT use when cleaning so it’s important to get it right before you start.

You’ll be surprised by what ends up on your TV screen so read on to find out how easy it is.

Many of these products are very affordable so there is no excuse to get it right. Let’s start with what you definitely should NOT use.

What you Should NOT use to Clean Your TV Screen

It may seem counterintuitive but you do not want to use household cleaning products like glass cleaners and all-purpose cleaners. The reason is that these products contain alcohol ammonia and other chemicals that can damage your screen and while the damage may not be instantly noticeable, they will eventually cause damage to the anti-reflective layer and other coatings on the screen.

Even if you have a glass screen say on a plasma TV or one of a handful of OLED models stay away from the Windex and other glass cleaners.

What you Shouldn’t use to Wipe Your TV Screen

Stay away from wood-based products like paper towels, facial tissues and toilet paper. These are fine for wiping your kitchen bench or other items around your home but the tiny fibers in these products will end up scratching your screen. You may not see the effects straight away but over a period of time, all those tiny scratches are going to end up creating dull spots on the surface of your screen. 

What you Should use to Clean Your TV Screen

If you want to buy products that are specifically made for cleaning electronic screens like TV’s, those do exist. You can buy wipes like {these} and there are some screen cleaning sprays you can use. These tend to be costly and a little wasteful so this is what i use:

Microfiber cleaning cloths, distilled water and a little spray bottle. It doesn’t get any simpler than that

Cleaning Steps

There are 3 types of stains that need to be tackled differently in order to keep your TV looking great and lasting for a long time.

1. Dry Cleaning

If your screen is just dusty then all you need to do is dust. You could use a can of compressed air and this could come in handy later but a microfiber cleaning cloth that has bigger loops in the fabric allows more dust collection and you can usually get even the dustiest screens cleaned off with just one cloth. Simply start at the top of the screen and work your way down. When you are doing this you can also dust the bezels and around the back of your TV. Remember that electronics like to attract dust. This is because of static electricity.

2. Fingerprints & Smudges

You’ve somehow got fingerprints or handprints or even some other form of smudges on your TV. You’ve probably got no idea how they got there… you just want them gone. Simply use a little spray bottle with distilled water and a soft microfiber cloth. Distilled water is important because your tap water is full of tiny minerals and other particles that can scratch your screen. Start by turning off your TV and unplugging it. You then want to spray your cloth just until it’s damp. Don’t soak it until it’s wet or it will drip. That could be bad for the electronics in your TV. Use a gentle circular motion to get rid of the smudge. It’s very important not to use too much pressure or you could do some damage to the LCD cells in the panel itself. Once this is complete, go back with a dry cloth to make sure everything’s nice and dry. 

3. Oil-Based Smudges

If you still have smudges on the screen, chances are these will be oil-based smudges, so a different strategy is required. Use a separate bottle of water with just a tiny amount of dishwashing detergent. You don’t want too much or you’ll have soap streaks down the screen but a tiny bit should be enough to tackle the toughest smudge sticking to your screen. Once again use small circular motions, use your microfiber cloth slightly dampened with just water. 

Final Thoughts

Simple tools and methods used in a simple way. This is all it takes to keep your TV looking its best. It doesn’t matter if it’s a 4K or 8K TV, They’re all expensive and a large investment so you want to look after it. It’s important not to overthink or over complicate the problem.

Having a clean TV screen is just the beginning to making your man cave comfortable. With a clean TV you’ll be able to sit back, relax, and enjoy your shows.

Happy viewing!