A clear picture is the most crucial aspect of any TV. That’s why learning how to clean a flat screen TV is an essential household skill these days.
Televisions attract a lot of dust with their electricity, and they often seem to magically attract fingerprints and smudges out of thin air. And there may be stubborn smudges caused by previous cleaning attempts without the know-how on how to clean a flat screen TV properly.
Fortunately, this is generally a very simple process once you know how. What’s more, you won’t need anything fancy. You can get those good-as-new, shiny results with common household items.
What You Need
First of all, you’ll need a microfiber cloth or two. These cloths are great because they don’t scratch, they don’t leave any lint, and they tend to attract dust with static electricity.
You can use a microfiber cloth for all the tasks involved in how to clean a flat screen TV. However, you’ll want a few of them. Since you’ll want a clean cloth for each of the stages, we recommend using at least three microfiber cloths.
If you wear glasses, you probably already own a few suitable microfiber cloths. But make sure that they’re clean and free from cleaning solutions that can harm your television.
Regarding cleaning solutions, you don’t need anything fancy. Some types of glass cleaners can work, but others may damage your TV, so it’s best not to use them. In most cases, a mixture of vinegar and water will do the trick. Dish soap is a good backup.
While many retailers sell TV cleaning kits, these are generally little more than overpriced bundles of common cheap items. What’s more, some may even contain chemicals that aren’t safe.
Regardless of your preferred method, make sure that you look closer first. If you use the wrong tools and solutions, you may ruin your television and void the warranty.
Avoid damaging chemicals
Flat screen TVs are sensitive to several common cleaning agents. For example, the ammonia and alcohol found in many window cleaners can do serious damage to your screen. Acetone and ethyl chloride are also common and devastating examples.
Please note that many brands sell so-called screen cleaners that contain these risky chemicals. Plus, some of them contain abrasives that will scratch your screen. You can’t trust a label because it has the right words on it, so take a closer look on the list of contents.
In addition to cleaner labels, you should thoroughly read your TV’s user manual. You’ll often find information on what’s safe to use and what you must avoid. Either way, you should avoid all abrasives and the harmful chemicals we mentioned earlier.
How to Clean a Flat Screen TV
There are a few different takes on how to clean a flat screen TV, but there’s something more important before that. It’s best to assess the situation properly before you even begin.
For example, are there scratches? Are those smudges or stains? And have you made sure that they’re all dirt on the surface?
Sometimes, monitor discolorations can occur. For example, OLED burns are a common problem these days, and you can’t wipe those off.
The term “flat screen TV” isn’t very specific, as there are a few different types. Modern OLED and LCD screens differ significantly from older LCD and the now-outdated plasma screens. Although many have ordinary glass screens, most feature a sensitive anti-glare layer that requires extra care.
Also, before you start applying our tips on how to clean a flat screen TV, you should turn it off. In fact, it’s best to unplug it altogether. It’s safer, more comfortable, and easier that way. The TV gets a chance to cool down, and you can see the smudges more clearly when the screen is black.
Also, you should take care not to knock your TV over. Holding it with one hand as you clean it with the other is ideal.
Dust in the wind
Dusting should always be the first step when you clean something. Otherwise, you’ll only be smearing the dust around and mixing it with the cleaning liquid, and the result will still look muddy and splotchy.
Dusters work well, but they aren’t necessary if you have a microfiber cloth. If you’re thinking of using a different kind of fabric, you must be careful and think twice.
Unlike microfiber, ordinary cloth and paper towels have sharp fibers that can scratch your screen. Some types of dust can as well. Therefore, it’s important that you don’t apply a lot of pressure when you dust off your TV.
A key takeaway here is that being gentle is a crucial element of how to clean a flat screen TV. Always use a soft pressure and smooth motions.
While you’re at it, it’s best to dust off your TV cabinet and whatever shelf it’s on. Otherwise, it won’t take long before the dust covers the screen again. Also, make sure to clear any dust in the vents. If you neglect these, the TV may eventually overheat or catch on fire.
Wiping it down
First, mix equal amounts of water and vinegar. You may want to use distilled water, depending on the quality of tap water where you live. Vinegar is a potent, safe, and cheap cleaning agent that often works better than commercial options.
Next, dab your microfiber cloth in this solution and use it to wipe the screen. Don’t spray or pour the mixture onto the screen, as this can cause damage in various ways. For example, it may seep into the TV and cause a short circuit.
If you submerged the cloth or it got too wet, wring it out before wiping down your TV. Otherwise, you’ll face the same risks, and that’s not how to clean a flat screen TV.
Remember, you don’t want to push very hard. Not only can this cause the monitor to topple over, but it can also dent or crack the screen or strip off the surface. Wipe it off using circular motions, don’t apply much pressure, and you’ll be golden.
If there’s a stubborn stain, resist the urge to apply more pressure. Instead, try going over it repeatedly. If this doesn’t work, try the following method.
Dish soap diluted in plenty of water will help you get those stubborn stains. However, this method is unnecessary if there are no smudges.
Look over the screen one last time to see if everything’s gone. If you see any splatters or splotches, you’ll want to wipe it down some more. Don’t forget the frame of the TV. The frame isn’t as sensitive so you can get it done fast.
Since this is the main aspect of how to clean a flat screen TV, it's worth some extra attention. So, take your time and be thorough.
Make it shine
Once the monitor is clean, it’s time to wipe it down with a clean and dry microfiber cloth. If you let the cleaning liquid dry on the screen, it will leave smudges and possibly even permanent marks.
Wipe out any visible streaks and swirls first. Then, dry off the rest of the TV with small circular motions to make it shiny.
Don’t neglect the remote
We can't forget this important element. After all, it’s probably far dirtier than anything else.
Not only do they attract dust, but they also come into contact with all sorts of nasty stuff. How many dirty fingers do you think have touched your remote control? And when was the last time you cleaned it?
Since people often forget to wash their remotes, they often harbor entire ecosystems of germs in all the grease and grime that coats the once-smooth surface.
Before you start cleaning, it’s wise to remove the batteries. Although it’s unlikely, you could potentially shock yourself or the circuitry inside.
Also, try to get any dust and debris off before you start the deep cleaning. You can do this by turning it upside down so that the buttons face down and then tap it against your palm. You may be surprised by all the stuff that comes out between the buttons.
If there’s still stuff lodged in the gaps around the buttons, you’ll want to remove that next. You can use a toothpick or a dry toothbrush for this task. Giving it another few taps after this step can help dislodge even more debris.
Next, it’s time to wipe down the entire remote control with a soft cloth and a cleaning solution. You can use almost any kind of cleaning agent, but it’s best to use something with rubbing alcohol to kill off germs.
For cleaning between the buttons, you can use a cotton swab with the same cleaning solution. Again, damp is the way to go, not wet.
Once you’ve rubbed and scrubbed the entire surface, it’s time to finish up. Wipe it off with another dry cloth to get a smooth shine, and then reinstall the batteries before you forget.
How to Remove Scratches on a Flat Screen TV
If there are persistent marks even after you clean the screen, you probably have a scratched up TV. Check the screen for visible scratches and decide whether you want to do something about them.
First of all, you should look closely at your warranty. If it covers these scratches, you can simply get it replaced. Otherwise, you can attempt to fix them yourself.
Before we begin, it’s important to understand that this is a fine procedure that requires a lot of attention and care. If you don’t do it right, you may cause damage or stains that won’t go away, and you may void your warranty altogether.
The easiest way to repair scratches is by using a scratch repair kit. Like before, you’ll use the solution with a microfiber cloth and gently rub the screen in a circular fashion. This helps to smooth out the scratches.
Another option is to use a mix of isopropyl rubbing alcohol and distilled water. You’ll want to dilute the alcohol well, using around 20 parts water to 1 part rubbing alcohol.
Again, a microfiber cloth is your best friend. When you rub the alcohol onto the monitor, it effectively dissolves the anti-glare surface and fills in the scratch. Therefore, this should be a last resort solution.
Whether you used a commercial kit or a household solution, you’ll want to buff the screen after. For this, you’ll want to use another dry microfiber cloth.
Filling in deep scratches
If you have deep scratches in your screen and don’t have a professional scratch removal kit, you may want to consider filling the scratches in other ways.
One common method is using petroleum jelly. If you coat a soft cotton ball in the jelly, you can dab it onto the scratch to fill it out. This is more of a superficial fix rather than a practical one, and it may affect the picture on your TV.
Lacquer is another option that may yield better results. You can spray clear lacquer onto the scratch to fill it out. Wipe off the excess before letting it dry.
There’s also the option of using a white eraser. Make sure it’s unused, as pencil residue can scratch your screen even more. By rubbing the scratches with your eraser, you can fill them out.
Regardless of the method you used, a final shine is in order. Wiping the screen down with a dry, clean microfiber cloth will finalize the result.
I Can See Clearly Now
Now you know how to clean a flat screen TV. By applying the tips above, you’ll see sparkling results that make you wonder how you could even enjoy watching your favorite shows with all that grime in the way.
Do you have comments or questions about how to clean a flat screen TV? Feel free to leave a comment below or message us here.