Most TVs with LCD displays and touch screens are sensitive to harsh cleaning chemicals and abrasive cloths. These everyday products can actually damage and/or scratch their delicate surfaces. Luckily, the best TV screen cleaners get the job done without issue. When it comes to screens, there are a few different cleaning options to consider: wipes, scratch-proof microfiber cloths, and kits that come with a microfiber cloth and a screen-safe solution.
No matter which route you choose, it’s a good idea to avoid ingredients that might damage your screen’s coating including ammonia, acetone, and ethyl alcohol.
To catch every second of your favorite show, you’ll need a television screen that’s dust-, dirt-, and fingerprint-free.
But using the wrong cleaning method can negate any warranty that may still be in effect.
Here are all our tips for cleaning your flat-screen TV.
Start With a Dry, Soft Cloth
Screens can scratch easily, and even paper towels or 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.
(Sometimes 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,” he says.
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 the wall, Walsh suggests cleaning with one hand while supporting the TV with the other to prevent the set from tipping over.
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, which could cause a shock or component failure if it 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 too 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.
Avoid Harmful Chemicals
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 TV screen cleaners that contain an abrasive that can scratch the screen.
Skip the Cleaning Kit
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.
Tips for Keeping Your TV Clean
- 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.
- Never spray anything directly on a television screen, even glass tube televisions. Excess spray can get onto the cabinet and into the inner workings and damage the set.
- Use your vacuum’s soft dusting brush and low suction to remove dust from any vents, ports and cable connections.
- Remember to always follow manufacturer’s instructions if under warranty as anything you do that runs contra to it can void your warranty.
- Stay away from products containing ammonia, alcohol, or acetone, which can damage the television’s screen.
Below, find a quick list of the best TV screen cleaners that’ll keep your screen free of dust, fingerprints, and streaks.
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1. Screen Mom TV Screen Cleaners Set
The Screen Mom screen cleaning kit is a safe, cost-effective, and chemical-free cleaner that’ll work for any TV screen.
The solution itself is odorless and made without alcohol. Each bottle contains 1,500 sprays, so it’s bound to last awhile.
Because it’s a kit, you also get an extra-large microfiber cloth that requires just a few sprays of solution to wipe a screen clean.
2. Magicfiber’s Microfiber Cleaning
MagicFiber’s microfiber cleaning cloths are another great way to clean TV screens — and you don’t even need to pair them with any sprays to achieve a streak-free shine.
Each oil- and dirt-absorbing cloth measures 6 inches by 7 inches, and for the price, you get six total (five black ones and one gray one).
However, if six clothes seem like too much, they do come in two-packs. Thirty-packs are also available if have lots of screens to clean.
3. Windex Electronic Wipes
These disposable Windex electronic wipes are a quick and easy option if you want some gentle cleaning solution but don’t want to deal with sprays and cloths.
Unlike traditional Windex, they’re formulated without ammonia and phosphates (two ingredients that can harm screen coatings).
They come in a resealable pack of 25 and, according to the manufacturer, won’t leave any residue behind.
Frequently Asked Questions
QUES: Why shouldn’t I use a Glass Cleaner to clean the LCD display of my laptop or desktop?
ANS: Glass cleaner is made with alcohol and ammonia, which will damage any LCD screen. LCD display screens are made of plastic.
Plastics and Computer manufacturers consistently do not recommend alcohol or ammonia-based cleaners.
Repeated applications of alcohol on plastic may turn your screen surface yellow, make it brittle, and can cause stress cracking on your screen surface.
Do not make a very expensive mistake cleaning your laptop LCD screen with a $2 glass cleaner and a paper towel!
QUES: How do I clean my Micro-Chamois or Micro-Fiber Polishing Cloth?
ANS: Our Micro-Chamois and Micro-Fiber Polishing cloths are reusable and easy to clean. Hand wash your cloth with a mild detergent or liquid dish soap and warm water, rinse well, and line dry. Do not iron.