This Is the Right Way to Clean a Flat Screen TV Safely

Brush the dust off your TV screen the right way with these tips.

Does it seem like the picture on your television is getting hard to see? Before you call the optometrist, you might want to check the television screen first. Like every other surface in your home, dust builds up on screens, along with germs and fingerprints, making it hard to see your favorite show. But not to worry, cleaning your screen isn’t difficult. Just follow the steps below to clean it up without scratching it, and the next time to sit down for a little Saturday night binge watching, you’ll see things much clearer.

How to Clean a TV Screen

No matter what kind of television you have, start by turning it off. You’ll be able to see the dust and smudges much better on a dark screen.

Next, grab a dry microfiber cloth, or another kind of soft cleaning cloth. Don’t use paper towels, which contain fibers that can damage the screen, according to Consumer Reports. Gently wipe the screen to remove any dust. Just be sure not to press too hard.

If there are any hard-to-remove marks, you can dampen the cloth with a little distilled water. However, you don’t want to spray water onto the screen itself. That can cause a shock or damage internal components that will leave the television out of order. If you’re having a hard time removing particularly stubborn stains, try a mix of mild dish soap highly diluted with water. Dilute it with roughly a 10:1 mix of water to dish soap.

For any questions, consult your owner’s manual. Each company — from LG, Panasonic, Samsung, Sony and Toshiba — all include cleaning instructions and their methods may vary.

There are sometimes specific commercial cleaning solutions available for some LCD screen televisions that are designed to better clean those, especially if the dirt and grime has really built up on the surface.  Again, check your owner’s manual for more specific instructions for those televisions.

If your television is hanging on the wall above your head, be sure to use a step stool or a ladder so that you can reach the entire screen.

Can I Use Windex on a TV Screen?

While it may be tempting to use Windex, don’t use it on flat screen televisions like LCDs. Windex and other glass cleaners like it contain ammonia and alcohol, which can damage the delicate screens on LED, LCD and plasma screens. In some cases, it can cause a chemical reaction with the materials on the surface that will leave the screen cloudy. If you buy a screen cleaning product, be sure to check that it does not contain alcohol or ammonia.

Televisions with glass screens, like the old tube kind, can be cleaned with Windex or similar products. In those increasingly rare instances, just clean the screen like you would clean a window.

Do I Need a Special Screen Cleaner?

Save your money — screen cleaners are no more effective than water.

One search on Amazon and you’ll find all sorts of screen cleaners claiming to make your TV screen sparkle. But if a little water can do the same job, there’s no need to add yet another cleaner to your cluttered cabinet. Most TV manufacturers advise to simply use water and a soft cleaning cloth.

Erica Young
Erica Young is a freelance writer and content creator, specializing in home and lifestyle pieces. She loves writing about home decor, organization, relationships, and pop culture. She holds a bachelor's degree in Journalism and Mass Communication from Arizona State University, the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication.