How to Clean a Flat Screen TV

Learn the best ways to care for, dust, and clean flat TV and LCD screens.

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When it comes to cleaning, flat TVs and LCD screens require special care and a gentle touch. The screens can be easily scratched and antiglare coatings can be damaged. Rub too hard and you can burnout pixels (the tiny dots that compose images on computer monitors and TV screens).

Put preventative measures into play early in the game so you won't have to clean screens often. Keep food, drinks, and kids' exploring hands away from TV and computer screens to eradicate risks of messy splatters and fingerprint smudges. During your weekly house cleaning, lightly dust the screens with a high-quality large-looped microfiber cloth to prevent dust from building up. 

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Screen Cleaning Guidelines

When more than a light dusting is needed follow these guidelines:

  • Turn off and unplug TVs and LCD monitors before cleaning the screens to avoid being shocked while cleaning.
  • Check the manufacturer's manual for cleaning instructions. If computer or electronic wipes are recommended, purchase a container for quick cleanups. Note that using a cleaning product or method not recommended by the manufacturer will likely void a product's warranty.
  • Use high-quality finely woven microfiber cloths, recommends cleaning expert Leslie Reichert (Green Cleaning Coach). First, dust screens with a dry microfiber cloth; this will often do the trick and no further cleaning will be needed. If smudges remain, Reichert suggests wetting the cloth with water (distilled water is best) and wringing the cloth until it's almost dry. With very little pressure, wipe the cloth across the screen in broad motions, working from the top of the screen to the bottom.
  • Still smudged? Dampen a microfiber cloth with a 50-50 water and vinegar solution; wring the cloth tightly to ensure no liquid will drip from cloth; and gently wipe off smudges and fingerprints. 

What Not to Do

  • Never use cleaners that have alcohol or ammonia as ingredients. These types of cleaners can remove antiglare coatings and cause images to become cloudy or distorted.
  • Never spray any liquid on the screen; liquids can drip into frames, be wicked inside screens, and cause permanent damage.
  • Never use paper towels, abrasive sponges, or coarsely woven rags. They will scratch screens, says cleaning expert Melissa Maker (Clean My Space).  

Need to clean your smart phone or tablet? Read on.

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