How to Clean Your TV Screen So It's Free of Smudges and Streaks

Remove dust, fingerprints, and other smudges quickly and safely using these cleaning tips.

When it comes to cleaning, flat-screen TVs and LCD screens require special care and a gentle touch. With the wrong technique, you can easily scratch the screen or damage the surface's antiglare coating. Even rubbing too hard can cause pixels (the tiny dots that compose images on computer monitors and TV screens) to burn out and stop working permanently. Most household cleaning products are too harsh to use on electronic devices with LCD or OLED screens, so choose your TV cleaning strategy carefully. These tips on how to clean a TV screen will help protect your device while ridding it of dust, smudges, fingerprints, and streaks.

Sitting area with tv and framed artwork on wall
Helen Norman

How to Clean a TV Screen

Before you begin cleaning a TV or LCD monitor screen, check the manufacturer's manual for cleaning instructions. If a computer or electronic wipe is 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. It's also important to avoid spraying liquid on the screen when cleaning a TV. Liquids can drip into the frame, get wicked inside the screen, and cause permanent damage.

What You Need

  • Dry microfiber cloth
  • Distilled water (optional)
  • Vinegar (optional)

Step 1: Prepare the TV

Turn off and unplug TVs and LCD monitors before cleaning the screens to avoid being shocked while cleaning.

Step 2: Dust the Screen

Dust the screen with a dry microfiber cloth. This will often do the trick to remove dust and smudges, making further cleaning unnecessary.

Step 3: Remove Smudges (Optional)

If streaks or stains remain, wet a microfiber cloth with distilled water and wring 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. If smudges persist, dampen a new microfiber cloth with 50-50 water and vinegar solution, wringing it tightly to keep it slightly damp, and wipe.

What to Use to Clean a TV Screen

To avoid damage to your TV while cleaning, only use gentle products. Never wipe the screen with paper towels, abrasive sponges, or coarsely woven rags, which can cause scratches. Instead, use high-quality, finely woven microfiber cloths to clean TV screens, recommends cleaning expert Leslie Reichert.

You should also avoid cleaning products that contain alcohol or ammonia. These types of cleaners can remove antiglare coatings and cause images to become cloudy or distorted. A simple swipe with a microfiber cloth ($9 for 5, Amazon) is typically all that's needed to remove dust and other debris from the screen's surface. When more than a light dusting is required, however, use the guidelines below for the best way to clean a TV.

Practice preventative measures so you won't have to clean TV screens often. Keep food, drinks, and kids 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 microfiber cloth to prevent dust buildup.

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