Cleaner for tv screens: How to Clean Your Flat-Screen TV

How to Clean Your Flat-Screen TV

With the 2023 Major League Baseball season now well underway, you probably want to see all the action as clearly as you can. But TVs, like other electronic items, can attract dust and get marred by blemishes, such as fingerprints.

Cleaning your flat-screen TV is a straightforward process that doesn’t require any pricey chemicals.

While you’re at it, also pay attention to the remote controls for your TVs, cable boxes, and streaming players. These get handled much more than TVs and can harbor pathogens along with plain old grime. We have advice for cleaning both TVs and remotes below.

When it comes to TVs, the current market is dominated by superbright, big-screen LCD (LED) and OLED TVs. But many of us still have older sets, including plasma TVs, which companies stopped manufacturing in 2014, and even CRTVs—also called tube TVs—which started disappearing around 2008.

If you’re cleaning an older tube TV, you have a bit more flexibility because the screen is made of glass and can be cleaned like other glass items in your household. In this—and only this—instance, it’s okay to use a window cleaner, such as Windex.

More modern TVs are far more sensitive and need to be cleaned carefully to keep the screens from getting scratched or damaged. Plasma TVs also have glass screens, but manufacturers often applied a sensitive anti-glare coating, so they should be treated like an LCD or OLED TV rather than a CRTV set.

For all these TVs, the advice is the same, and it’s simple: Clean with a soft, dry cloth to avoid scratching the screen.

In all cases, turn off the TV—or even unplug it—before cleaning, says Claudio Ciacci, who heads Consumer Reports’ TV testing program. “In addition to it being safer for the set, it’s usually easier to see dirt or finger smudges when the screen is dark,” he says. “It also gives the TV a chance to cool down.”

If you have any doubts about which type of TV you have, you can always consult the owner’s manual. Most manuals and manufacturer websites have instructions for the best way to clean their sets.

Here are all our tips for cleaning your flat-screen TV.

Screens can scratch easily, and even paper towels and tissues contain fibers that can do damage. “Your best bet is to use a soft, anti-static microfiber cloth—the kind used to clean eyeglasses and camera lenses—and wipe in a circular motion,” says John Walsh, who cleans more than 250 TVs a year in his role as a CR photographer. (Some TV manufacturers will include a cloth for this purpose.) “Gently wipe the screen with a dry cloth to remove dust and other debris, but don’t press too hard.”

You may also want to wipe down the TV’s cabinet and make sure dust isn’t clogging the vents that help dissipate heat. If the TV is on a stand and not tethered to a wall, Walsh suggests cleaning with one hand while supporting the TV with the other to prevent the set from tipping over. But CR strongly recommends anchoring all stand-mounted TVs using anti-tipping straps designed for this purpose.

If there are hard-to-remove stains, you can dampen the cloth slightly with distilled water and gently clean the screen. Don’t spray water directly onto the screen because that could cause a shock or component failure if water seeps into the inner workings of the set.

For the most stubborn stains, you can try using a solution of very mild dish soap highly diluted with water, once again applied to the cloth and not to the TV itself. (As a guideline, Panasonic used to recommend a 100:1 ratio of water to soap.) LCD screens, in particular, are very sensitive to pressure and can scratch easily, so don’t press hard.

Walsh suggests that if you do use a dampened cloth, go over the screen one more time with a dry one to remove any swirls or streaks.

Alcohol and ammonia, found in window cleaners such as Windex, can wreak havoc on your expensive flat-screen TV, so don’t use cleaners that have them. If you decide to use a packaged “screen cleaner”—which you don’t really need (see below)—choose one that doesn’t contain alcohol, ammonia, or acetone. Also, don’t use any cleaners that contain an abrasive that can scratch the screen.

Some of these kits cost $15 to $20 for just a microfiber cloth and a small bottle of cleaning solution, which is probably mostly water. Instead, buy the cloth at an office supply store or online and use distilled water, or a solution of your own making per our advice above. If you opt for a kit, make sure it doesn’t contain harmful chemicals.

Remote controls can get dusty and also harbor a fair number of germs. Think of how many fingers have pressed the buttons on that remote recently and whether all of them were squeaky clean. Then there’s the issue of coughs and sneezes.

Here’s some basic advice about cleaning your remote controls. We also have more details on how to sanitize your remote control if you’re really worried about spreading viruses.

Remove the batteries before you start cleaning. Then start by turning the remote upside down so that the buttons are facing downward, and tap the remote against your palm to dislodge any debris that might have fallen between the buttons. Wipe down the entire remote with a soft cloth that has been sprayed with a tiny bit of alcohol diluted with water. The cloth should be damp, not wet.

To clean in and around the buttons, you can use a cotton swab dampened with the alcohol/water mix. More stubborn debris lodged deeper into the keys can be dislodged with a dry toothbrush or wooden toothpick.

Last, wipe down the whole remote once again with a dry, soft cloth and reinstall the batteries.

While we’re on the subject of TVs, if you’re thinking of shopping for a new set, you can check CR’s TV ratings, which are available to members. We buy every set we rate at retail, just like a consumer would, then evaluate it using a rigorous testing protocol. Here are three 65-inch sets that combine big screens and strong performance, all at a price of about $1,000 or less.

Here’s How to Get the Job Done

No harsh chemicals, please.

@consumer_reports

Don’t waste money on a cleaning kit for your flat-screen TV. Learn more at CR.org/CleanYourFlatScreen #learnontiktok #moreyouknow #flatscreentv #tip

♬ original sound – Consumer Reports


James K. Willcox

James K. Willcox leads Consumer Reports’ coverage of TVs, streaming media services and devices, and broadband internet service. His focus ranges from the challenges of finding affordable internet service to emerging display technologies. A veteran tech journalist, Willcox has written for Business Week, Maxim, Men’s Journal, Rolling Stone, Sound & Vision, and others. At home, he’s often bent over his workbench building guitar pedals, or cranking out music on his 7.2-channel home-theater sound system.

How to Clean a TV Screen the Right Way

How to clean flat-screen LED, LCD, OLED and plasma TVs

Getty Images

More delicate LCD, plasma and rear-projection screens can’t handle traditional wet cleaning. So whether you own a Samsung, Sony or LG TV that has built up some grime or you recently purchased a 4K flat-screen that you want to keep looking good as new without damaging it, stick to dry cleaning methods and follow these steps:

What You’ll Need:

  • Microfiber cloth or electrostatic duster
  • Pre-moistened electronics wipe
  • Vacuum soft bristle attachment

Directions:

  1. Turn the TV off. It’s easier to see and remove streaks when the screen is black.
  2. Remove dust. Use a soft, dry microfiber cloth that’s designed to gently clean and remove smudges from eyeglasses, cell phones and camera lenses. Our experts like Elite Tech Gear’s oversized option. It’s twelve inches square, so it’s easier to use on a large TV screen than a smaller cloth and helps you zap away fingerprints quickly. And since it’s designed for delicate surfaces and electronics you can use it to clean your laptop and iPad once you’re done with your TV. You can also try an electrostatic duster, like GH Seal star, Swiffer.
  3. Spot-clean smudges. Our experts recommend using a pre-moistened electronics wipe to gently remove spots from your TV screen. Never (we repeat, never!) spray anything on the screen directly. Doing so could damage the inner workings, as well as any surrounding cabinetry.
  4. Wipe twice. To clean your TV without leaving behind streaks, wipe the screen first in one direction (horizontally or vertically) then wipe it a second time in the opposite direction to thoroughly cover the entire screen. Flip or fold the cloth often to keep from pushing around picked-up dust.
  5. Hit the buttons and vents. With your microfiber cloth or duster, go over buttons and the back of the TV to nab dust in the vents, or use your vacuum’s soft dusting brush and low suction to remove dust from any vents, ports and cable connections.

Expert Tip: Avoid using pre-treated dusting cloths. They have oily finishes that are great for picking up dust on wood furniture but that can leave deposits on a TV screen.

How to clean TV speakers

Getty Images

If the sound coming from the speakers is muffled or you notice a visible buildup of dust, it may be time to clean them. Follow the tips below to keep your speakers clean and clear.

What You’ll Need:

  • Scotch-Brite Lint Roller
  • Vacuum

Directions:

  1. Check the covers. If the fabric covers on your speakers are removable (check the manual or website), pop them off and vacuum both sides with the upholstery tool to remove the dust, lint and pet hair that often stick there.
  2. Vacuum or lint roll away dust. If the covers can’t be removed, tackle the job from the front with the vacuum or use a sticky lint roller.Expert Tip: For rigid, screen-like speaker covers, either remove or clean them in place using a well-wrung, damp lint-free microfiber cloth and wipe dry.

Expert Tip: For rigid, screen-like speaker covers, either remove or clean them in place using a well-wrung, damp lint-free microfiber cloth and wipe dry.

How to clean your remote control

While the cleanliness of the remote won’t affect your view, you’ll want to keep it clean so it continues to operate your TV effectively. Cleaning it often also minimizes the spread of germs as it is likely one of the most frequently touched items in your household.

What You’ll Need:

  • Disinfecting wipes

Directions:

    1. Remove the batteries. First, pop out the batteries then replace the cover on the battery compartment.
    2. Dislodge dirt and crumbs. Lightly tap the remote, button side down, on a table to dislodge any loose crumbs or debris stuck in the crevices.
    3. De-germ the surface. Grab a pre-moistened disinfecting wipe (just think of all the germy fingers your remote has seen!), wring it well so it’s not dripping and use it to clean both sides of the remote. Pay special attention to the buttons and narrow spaces around them. To make sure you’re killing germs, the surface of the remote must stay wet for the length of time specified on the wipe’s label. It can be anywhere from a few seconds to several minutes so it may be necessary to wipe it several times or use several wipes.
    4. Let it air dry. Allow the remote control to air dry, then return the batteries to their compartment.

      Expert Tip: To get into the tiny crevices or to remove any stuck-on goo, use a toothpick or your fingernail along with the wipe.

      Advertisement – Continue Reading Below

      How often should I clean my TV?

      Getty Images

      Clean your TV weekly to keep dust, film and fingerprints from building up and becoming harder to remove. Make it even easier by keeping a microfiber cloth nearby to nab dust and grime when you see it. Clean the remote control often, too, and especially after anyone in the family has been sick.

      What kind of cleaners are safe to use on my TV?

      Jovanmandic//Getty Images

      Stay away from products containing ammonia, alcohol or acetone, which can damage the television’s screen. Plasma screens, while made of glass, have anti-glare coatings that can be damaged by traditional cleaning products. It’s best to follow the same dry methods you’d use for cleaning LED, LCD and OLED TVs.

      How do you clean a tube television?

      Bet_Noire//Getty Images

      Cleaning glass tube television screens is about as easy as cleaning the mirrors in your home. Wipe with a microfiber cleaning cloth dampened with a little water or your favorite window cleaning spray. Nudge off any stuck-on bits with your fingernail and buff the screen dry.

      Rachel Rothman

      Chief Technologist & Executive Technical Director

      Rachel Rothman (she/her) is the chief technologist and executive technical director at the Good Housekeeping Institute, where she oversees testing methodology, implementation and reporting for all GH Labs. She also manages GH’s growing research division and the analysis of applicants for the GH Seal and all other testing emblems. During her 15 years at Good Housekeeping, Rachel has had the opportunity to evaluate thousands of products, including toys and cars for GH’s annual awards programs and countless innovative breakthroughs in consumer tech and home improvement. 

      Carolyn Forté

      Home Care & Cleaning Lab Executive Director

      Carolyn Forté brings more than 40 years of experience as a consumer products expert to her role as executive director of the Good Housekeeping Institute’s Home Care and Cleaning Lab. Using deep analytical testing and writing expertise in appliances, cleaning, textiles and organizational products, she produces cleaning and home care advice for GH, has authored numerous books and bookazines for the brand and partners with the American Cleaning Institute to co-produce the Discover Cleaning Summits. She holds a bachelor’s degree in family and consumer sciences from Queens College, City University of New York.

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      How to clean your TV: tips for caring for Screen and Case – LG MAGAZINE Russia

      Most modern LG TVs have an LCD screen. Spots, streaks, dust, and other contaminants begin to appear on the LCD monitor very quickly. To keep the screen clean and prolong the life of your device, you should clean your LG LCD TV regularly. Consider how to properly clean the LCD screen and TV case.

      Due to the high sensitivity to mechanical stress and chemicals, the surface of the LCD monitor cannot be cleaned by any means at hand, otherwise the equipment may be irreparably damaged. Therefore, you need to know what gentle methods you can use to care for your TV. The best way to quickly and safely clean your LG TV LCD screen is to dust the monitor regularly with a long, soft hair duster or use a soft, lint-free cloth. To remove streaks and smudges from the LCD monitor, use the following fabrics:

      • Special wet wipes for cleaning displays – these are impregnated with special solutions without alcohol, designed to wipe these types of monitors.
      • Lightly dried regular wet wipes.
      • Anti-static agents often sold in kits with wipes.
      • Lint-free soft cloths.
      • Microfibre cloths – they absorb moisture well, while not being able to harm delicate surfaces.
      • LCD Care Kits (comes with everything you need: spray, microfiber cloth and anti-static brush).

      To care for the LCD TV screen, LG produces special cleaning products, such as:

      • Special kits. They consist of a spray, a microfiber cloth, an anti-static brush and pads to remove dirt from the joints. Any liquid products must first be applied to a napkin, then you can wipe the monitor.
      • Gel. Gel-like compositions are convenient to apply, they are economically consumed and do not leave streaks. A small amount of the product should be applied to a dry cloth, wipe the surface.
      • Foam. It is a gentle LCD monitor cleaner that removes dust, dirt and fingerprints without streaks. Suitable for stubborn stains.
      • Aerosol. Spray – an effective tool for cleaning any displays. The advantage of aerosols is that they create an antistatic coating on the surface, which is convenient for processing a large LCD screen.

      If for some reason it is not possible to buy special chemicals for cleaning the LCD monitor, you can use improvised cleaning agents.

      • Soap solution. It is best for cleaning greasy stains from the delicate surface of the LCD screen. To prepare this cleanser, you need to take soap and dilute it in a small amount of warm water, it is better not to use tap water. Due to the presence of impurities in the composition of water, such solutions will leave streaks. Soap solution should not be applied to the entire TV screen, but only to contaminated areas. When grease stains are washed off with liquid, the entire LCD screen should be wiped with a damp cloth or soft cloth.
      • Isopropyl alcohol. It also cleans grease spots and dried dirt on the LCD TV screen. You can buy it at a pharmacy. Isopropyl alcohol must be diluted with water in a ratio of 1: 1, and then moisten a cloth in the liquid and wipe the screen. Remains of the product can be removed with a damp cloth, and at the end of the procedure, wipe the TV screen dry with a dry cloth.
      • Vinegar solution. To prepare such a home remedy for cleaning stains and dirt on the TV, you will need table vinegar with a concentration of 3%. It must be diluted with water 1:1. For example, you can take a glass of vinegar and a glass of water (depending on how much you need). Both liquids must be mixed well, after which moisten a soft microfiber cloth in the resulting composition, wring it out well and wipe the TV screen. This must be done carefully, without pressure. Then wipe the screen dry with a dry microfiber cloth. The tool perfectly copes with dust, stains, and also removes fingerprints.

      Consider how to properly clean the LG TV, care rules:

      • Appliances must be wiped off.
      • To remove dust, simply wipe the TV monitor with a dry cloth or dust with a whisk.
      • If products are to be used, the product must be alcohol-free and applied to a tissue first. First, the fabric must be checked so that there are no elements that can scratch the surface. After that, with light circular movements, without pressure, you should wipe the screen. The second hand must hold the TV.
      • For stubborn stains, apply a damp cloth to the dirty area for 2 minutes, wipe the screen. Repeat the procedure until the dirt is removed.
      • Wipe the screen dry after all the above procedures.

      To figure out which cleaner to use, you need to focus on the type of screen. Depending on it, you need to act as follows.

      • For LED panels, it is better to purchase a whole set, which includes: a soft cloth and an alcohol-free cleaning solution. After using such a set, a special coating remains on the screen of the LED panel, which repels dust. If it is impossible to buy such a set, then it is recommended to use a lint-free napkin and any gentle composition.
      • The LCD screen must be cleaned with a lint-free cloth soaked in a special disinfectant. It is better to clean the joints with a cotton swab (without much pressure).
      • It is perfectly acceptable to use a soapy solution for plasma screens, especially if the TV is in the kitchen and there is a lot of grease on it. Microfiber cloths or a soft, lint-free cloth are well suited for processing. For hard-to-reach areas, you can use a vacuum cleaner with a special nozzle and cotton swabs.
      • LCD TVs are very fragile and can be easily damaged. That is why it is recommended to wipe them exclusively with a dry cloth. It is strictly forbidden to allow any substances, including moisture, to enter the LCD screen.

      Very often, fingerprints are left on the TV monitor when touched by hands. Conventional cleaning methods are irrelevant in this case. Better to use:

      • Special dry wipes free of lint and alcohol.
      • Cleaning foam applied first to the tissue and then to the display.
      • A solution of purified water and vinegar to soak a microfiber cloth.

      To remove a scratch on an LG TV display, follow these steps:

      • Treat the surface with a cloth soaked in care liquid.
      • Clean out the scratch with a new eraser, swipe along the scratch several times.
      • Then apply Vaseline to a cotton pad and buff the problem area. There are also special varnishes for scratches, but they are not always on sale.

      To prevent damage to your TV monitor, you need to know which cleaning products and methods should not be used. Pay attention to what you can not clean the LCD screen of the LG TV:

      • Solutions that contain alcohol, as the matrix elements of the display equipment lose color and fail.
      • Hygienic wet wipes – impregnation may contain components that adversely affect the operation of liquid crystal surfaces. In addition, napkins leave stains that are difficult to cope with.
      • Means for cleaning, washing windows, dishes, car, laundry.
      • Solutions containing gasoline, ammonia, acetone, dyes, solvents.
      • Newspaper, paper towels – can scratch the screen, particles often remain on the surface or get inside, causing damage to the device.