How to Clean Your TV Screen

Let no smudge stop your binge again.

Once you see it, there’s no use trying to ignore it—fingerprints, smears and smudges all over your TV screen. You have no recollection of ever touching your the screen, and yet there they are, stopping your favorite show dead in its tracks. And don’t even get started on the dust. Now, instead of enjoying some downtime, you’re doing a forensic analysis of what must be the most neglected surface in the home.

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We’ve been there. It seems like some of the most sophisticated equipment we own (TV screens, computer screens, and phones) tend to also be some of the grossest.

The good news? With this handy guide at your fingertips, you can easily return your TV to its fresh-from-the-box perfection. And many (if not all) of the supplies you need for the job are already somewhere in your kitchen. No need to wait for a commercial break, let’s get to it.

TV screen cleaning tips

Before you get out the cleaning rags and solution, keep these helpful hints in mind.

  • Only use soft microfiber cloths on your TV screen—anything else runs the risk of leaving permanent scratches behind (even paper towels).
  • Clean your screen with a gentle, circular motion. Avoid pressing down too hard, even when you’re trying to remedy tough-to-remove spots, as this can do irreparable damage.
  • There are a number of cleaning solutions you can choose from (more on that below), but no matter which one you settle on, never (emphasis on “never’) spay solutions directly on the screen. Instead, spray them onto your cleaning cloth. Remember: electronics and liquids don’t mix.
  • When in doubt, refer to the manufacturer’s guidelines for the best way to clean your specific type, brand, and size of television.

3 effective TV screen cleaning solutions (and how to make them)

Did we mention you never spray a cleaning solution directly on your TV screen? We did, because it’s important enough to mention more than once. Below are four effective, and easy-to-make, cleaning solutions to get your screen sparkling again. Time to choose your own adventure.

  1. Dish soap. Never doubt the power of a little dish soap (we always reach for Dawn, but you do you) to bring about big changes. Grab a bowl, and dilute one teaspoon of dish soap for every two cups of water. Soak a soft cloth in the solution, wring it out until it’s nearly dry, and you’re ready to get that screen shining once again.
  2. Vinegar. Is there anything vinegar can’t do? It’s even good for screens. Mix 1 part white vinegar with 1 part distilled water. Put it into a spray bottle and grab your microfiber cloth. It’s about time to get that screen taken care of.
  3. Isopropyl alcohol. For the cleaning power of vinegar without the temporary smell, look no further than rubbing alcohol. Just make sure to check the label. You want a product with 70% isopropyl (likely rubbing alcohol) and no ethyl, as this can cause serious damage to your screen. Create your cleaning solution by mixing 4 parts distilled water with 1 part alcohol. Get into a spray bottle, and you’re ready to go.

How to clean your TV screen

Now, the primetime moment you’ve all been waiting for: step-by-step instructions on getting your TV screen clean (so you can get back to binging).

  1. Power down. Start by turning your TV off—it’ll be easier to spot smudges, smears, and residue that way. Do a quick spot check before you move on, and identify your trouble areas.
  2. Deal with dust. It doesn’t matter how often you clean your house: there will be dust, and it will inevitably be drawn to your TV. Run a Swiffer Duster over the screen to get the dust out of the way without also spreading it around. Don’t forget to address the outer edges and rims of the TV as well. Dust is the last thing you want clogging up your speakers, ports, and connections.
  3. Create your cleaning solution. You’ve got four great options above. Choose one, and mix it up according to the instructions.
  4. Spray the cloth. Third time mentioning this is a charm, right? Spray your cleaning solution onto a clean microfiber cloth (and not the screen). You want the cloth to be just barely dampened; if you squeeze the cloth, no liquid should come out. Move the cloth gently in circular motions until you’ve cleaned the entire surface. Wipe thoroughly, so that no moisture remains on the surface or runs down into the edges.
  5. Wait before you watch. Before turning the TV back on, allow it to air dry completely. Do one last spot check, and re-address any persistent smudges that might have survived cleaning round 1.

That’s it! With these tips of the trade, you’ll soon be lost once more in your favorite TV series or movie, no smudges or smears to distract you. Remember to keep a bottle of whatever solution you made at the ready—they can be great for battling smudgy computer screens, eyeglasses, phones, and tablets as well.

Now that your screen is so fresh and so clean, let’s get to the most important question: what are you gonna watch next?

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