How to Clean a Flat Screen TV?

Do you remember those old tube TVs? They were bulky and not very attractive but we have to admit one thing – they were easier to maintain and clean. This article discusses the topic that has been revised so many times and there’s a good reason for that. The most important characteristic that affects the way you clean your TV screen is the material it’s made of and this is why it was so easy to clean those old TVs. Their screens were made of glass and you could clean them as any other glass. You could use all the cleaning solutions that you can’t use when you have a flat screen TV.

How to Clean Your Flat-Screen TV

As you will see in the following text, it is not recommended to apply liquid cleaning solutions to flat screen TVs and it’s not recommended to spray them directly on the screen surface. As older TVs had glass screens, you could simply spray water or window cleaning liquid directly on them and wipe it with a regular cloth. However, modern TVs, no matter if they are LCD or plasma, are made of very flexible and sensitive material that should be treated carefully and gently. It seems that advanced technologies bring us TVs with better sound and high-quality resolution but when it comes to durability and maintenance, you have to obey certain rules if you want them to last.

New TVs usually have a special coating that can be easily destroyed by strong cleaners based on strong chemicals. Their screens are made of small sensitive components that could be seriously damaged if those cleaners were applied.

First, let’s see what they are made of and how they work. That will help you understand why you should treat them gently.

Plasma and LCD TVs Explained

Plasma and LCD TVs are the common types of TVs that look almost the same and have similar features, but their construction is quite different. Both types are very thin and they both have flat screens. Besides that, they offer the same options for connecting to different devices and enable you to watch different kinds of audio and video content with great sound and resolution quality.

Plasma and LCD TV

The technology used for making plasma TVs is based on the use of fluorescent light bulbs. The display is made of cells and, between the cells, there are gaps with an electrode, display electrode, and an insulating layer. The gas injected in plasma is charged when the TV is connected to the power source and that gas changes its color from red, to blue and green, creating an image. Each group of red, green, and blue lights is called a pixel.  

LCD TVs work in a different way. They have two polarized layers of transparent material that are glued together. One of them is covered with a polymer that holds liquid crystals that participate in creating images when the current passes through them.

One Thing All Agree About

If you’ve been wondering how to clean your TV properly, we have good news for you. You don’t have to surf the Internet in order to find the right explanation. It is enough to look at the user manual that comes with your TV and you will find all the information you need. The interesting fact is that all the manufacturers, no matter how different opinions they have about other things, agree about one thing – cleaning and maintenance.

Basically, the main rule is to use only the recommended cleaning tools, which are highly accessible and cheap. The first rule, you will find in every manual is to clean your flat screen TV with a clean and dry microfiber (lint-free) cloth. In case your TV is very dirty, you may think about using some mixture of mild soap and distilled water or a mixture made of distilled water and vinegar (50:50).

The important thing is to avoid wiping the surface with paper or any material that can scratch it and to avoid strong chemical mixtures that are usually used for cleaning glass surfaces. It is also important to avoid alcohol-based liquids or any other flammable substance, as well as spraying the substance directly onto the screen because that could cause an electric shock, fire or system breakdown. This is important because flat screen TVs are made of small components that are extremely sensitive and because electric current runs through all of them.

How to Clean Your Screen and Avoid Damage?

Getting it ready

One of the first things you should do is to prepare/buy a cleaning kit. This should be very simple and if you don’t want to spend money on buying cleaning kits that usually contain a microfiber cloth and a bottle of cleaning liquid (usually based on water), you can make your own for a few dollars or even less. Every house has a microfiber cloth, especially because they come with every pair of glasses, with every smartphone, and even with some TVs. Apart from that, you can use distilled water, a mixture of water and vinegar, or mild soap. You can also get one more microfiber cloth that can be used for drying off the screen.

When you get all the equipment, you should prepare the device – you need to turn it off, unplug it, and disconnect all the cables in order to prevent any kind of damage caused by the contact between water and electricity. This also prevents you from being electrocuted. It might be a good idea to let the TV to cool down for a few minutes after turning it off. If you want to clean your remote controller, make sure that you have taken out the batteries.

Cleaning process

If you clean your TV regularly and if it’s covered with dust only, it will be enough to take a dry lint-free cloth and wipe the dust off. It is anti-static and it will remove the dirt perfectly without leaving any residue or scratches.

In case your TV is a bit dirtier and if there are some stubborn stains, you can dampen your cloth with a mild cleaning liquid and wipe the screen with it. It is very important not to apply too much pressure. If the stain won’t disappear, you should repeat the process several times and do it gently every single time in order to avoid creating dents. Also, don’t wipe it circularly but only from top to the bottom or from one to another side.

Apart from the screen, every TV housing/frame also needs cleaning, as well as its remote. The frame is made of plastic and it is more durable and less sensitive than the screen, which means that you can always clean it with liquid cleaning solutions. Just don’t spray it directly onto the frame as it may get below and damage the electrical parts. Besides cleaning the frame, try cleaning every hole and every port because piled up dust can make them less functional and responsive. In order to do that, use toothpicks or cotton swabs.

Cleaning the remote is much easier. It is enough to wipe it with a wet cloth but avoid spraying the cleaning liquid directly on it.


The best way to dry your screen off is to wait for it to air dry. However, this can take a while and if you are impatient, you could get another (dry) cloth and wipe it in order to speed up the drying process.

The most important thing is to make sure the device is completely dry before you connect the cables and turn the TV on in order to avoid electric shocks.

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