Organize & Clean

How to Clean a TV Screen: A Step-by-Step Guide to Daily and Deep Cleaning

updated Mar 3, 2020
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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

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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. Here’s what they had to say: 

Credit: Cat Meschia/Kitchn

One thing to know before you clean your 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: Jill Ruzicka

What’s the best way to clean a TV screen?

We know you’ve got a lot on your to-do list, so you’ll be glad to know that cleaning your TV is one of the easier tasks to tackle. 

Though it’s always smart to refer to your television’s owner’s manual for specifics related to your exact model, experts say the following guidelines are fairly universal. 

For daily cleaning:

The safest and most gentle way to dust away any fibers and fingerprints is with a soft, dry microfiber cloth, because it effectively grabs particles, but won’t scratch or leave lint behind, says Stapf. “Other cloths or towels, including paper towels or rags, are too harsh and can leave scratches behind. Over the course of time, these scratches will be noticeable and distort the quality of the screen.”

For your basic one-a-week clean, the step-by-step (well, it’s one step) couldn’t be easier: 

  1. Swipe the screen: Simply swipe the dry microfiber cloth across the TV gently and slowly in an up and down or left to right movement, says Stapf. (Circular motions could leave whorl marks on the screen.) Don’t forget to wipe the frame and the base of the TV, too.  

For tougher spots:

Though tempting, you should never use pressure to lift these spots—this can damage delicate screens and their pixels, says Stapf. Here’s what to do instead: 

  1. Lightly dampen your cloth with water: Apply a small amount of warm water to your microfiber cloth. (Never spray any water or cleanser directly onto the TV—this is too saturating.)
  2. Swipe the screen: Run the dampened microfiber cloth across the TV as you would for an everyday clean—gently and slowly in an up and down or left to right movement. Don’t forget to wipe the frame and the base of the TV, too. 
  3. Dry everything: Using the same motions, dry the screen—and any other areas you cleaned—with a separate clean, dry microfiber cloth to lift any residual moisture.
Credit: Cat Meschia/Kitchn

How to Clean a TV Screen With Vinegar

If you have spots on your TV screen even a water-damp cloth can’t tackle, don’t fret. The same simple supplies, plus a cleaning solution made by mixing equal parts of water and white vinegar should take care of it, says Jennie Varney, brand manager for Molly Maid, a Neighborly Company. Here’s how to proceed safely: 

1. Turn off your TV

As mentioned above, working on a dark surface will enable you to see dust, fingerprints, and dirt more clearly than if the TV is on.

Credit: Cat Meschia/Kitchn

2. Dust your TV with a dry microfiber cloth

Use one microfiber cloth to gently dust the surface of your TV screen. Don’t forget to dust the frame and the base, too.

Credit: Cat Meschia/Kitchn

3. Make your cleaning solution

Mix a solution of half white vinegar, half distilled water. This cleaning solution is effective, yet gentle enough for such a delicate item. Though regular water is suitable in a pinch, using distilled water prevents hard water residue from making your screen look even dirtier.

Credit: Cat Meschia/Kitchn

4. Dip a microfiber cloth into the solution

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

Credit: Cat Meschia/Kitchn

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

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

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. 

Credit: Sandra Rojo, Cat Meschia