The Right Way to Clean Your TV Screen (Without Damaging It!)

published Feb 8, 2024
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A television resting on television stand, with flowers and cleaning products nearby
Credit: Cat Meschia/Kitchn

Chances are, you spent a lot of money on a TV screen with an incredible high-definition picture to watch your favorite shows, movies, or sporting events. But as dust builds up, it can distort the quality of the picture, says Leanne Stapf, chief operating officer at The Cleaning Authority

Quick Overview

How to Clean a TV Screen

First, turn off the TV before cleaning it. Then use a dry microfiber cloth to gently dust the screen, working in an up-and-down or left-to-right motion. For any spots, you can dampen a microfiber cloth with water and wipe it clean. For tougher spots, use a water-vinegar cleaning solution instead. Make sure to dry with a clean cloth afterward.

To keep the television screen and picture as crisp as it was the day it was purchased, experts recommend a weekly cleaning to remove the inevitable dust, fingerprints, and film buildup. “The longer these remain on the screen, the harder they are to remove,” says Stapf. 

With that in mind, we asked the pros to walk us through the most effective cleaning routine for your TV screens. Here’s what they had to say.

Credit: Cat Meschia/Kitchn

What You’ll Need

  • Microfiber cloths
  • Water (distilled water is preferred)
  • Vinegar
  • A bowl or spray bottle

How to Clean a TV Screen

Cleaning your TV is one of the easiest tasks to tackle. Although it’s always smart to refer to your television’s manual for specifics related to your exact model, experts say the following guidelines are fairly universal. 

Credit: Cat Meschia/Kitchn

Step 1: Turn off the TV.

Before you do anything, turn the TV off. It’s not only safer — electronics and liquids do not mix — but it’s also easier to see dirt, debris, and fingerprints on a blank, black screen, so you’ll know exactly where the tough spots are. 

Credit: Cat Meschia/Kitchn

Step 2: Dust your TV with a dry microfiber cloth. 

Use a soft, dry microfiber cloth to gently dust the surface of your TV screen, as other cloths can be too harsh and potentially leave scratches behind, shares Stapf. Work in an up-and-down or left-to-right motion. Don’t forget to dust the frame and the base, too.

Credit: Cat Meschia/Kitchn

Step 3: Use water or a vinegar-water cleaning solution to clean spots.

If you have spots on your screen, you can try dampening your microfiber cloth with water to clean it off. You’ll want to work slowly and softly in the same motion as you would when dusting — do not apply pressure! Then, dry it with a clean cloth. If you are dealing with tougher spots, you can make a cleaning solution of equal parts distilled water and white vinegar to clean the screen, according to Jennie Varney, brand manager for Molly Maid, a Neighborly Company. (Regular water can be used in a pinch, but distilled is Varney’s recommendation.)

Credit: Cat Meschia/Kitchn

Step 4: Dip a microfiber cloth into the solution.

Never spray any cleaning solution directly onto your screen. Dip your cleaning rag into a bowl of the vinegar-water mix instead. If you’d rather use a spray bottle, that’s fine; spray the cloth, not the screen.

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Step 5: Wring the cloth well.

Your rag should be very damp, not dripping wet. Again, electronics and liquids are not friends.

Credit: Cat Meschia/Kitchn

Step 6: Gently wipe down your TV screen and the frame.

Wipe down your TV screen with your damp microfiber cloth. Start from the top and work your way down, using up-and-down or left-to-right movements. Don’t forget to wipe the frame and the base of the TV, too.

Credit: Cat Meschia/Kitchn

Step 7: Buff dry with a dry microfiber cloth.

With a clean, unused microfiber cloth, buff your TV dry to eliminate potential water spots. 

Credit: Joe Lingeman

Can you use Windex to clean a TV?

“Cleaning products such as Windex may contain harsh ingredients, including alcohol and ammonia, which can be damaging to the LCD panels of the screen,” says Stapf. “For the latest OLED and LCD TV screens, it is best to steer clear of Windex or other glass cleaners.” 

Of course, you can always consult your owner’s manual for specifics pertaining to your TV.