How to clean a TV screen

Want to know how to clean a TV screen without damaging it? Put away those harsh cleaning products and try these simple steps

How to clean a TV screen: BUSH HD READY SMART TV
(Image credit: Bush)

If you're going to spend a fortune on a brand new TV, you need to know how to clean a TV screen properly, right? But before you take the furniture polish to it, beware: most modern TV screens have special coatings that can be ruined by strong cleaning products.

Happily, cleaning a TV screen is pretty easy, if you know how. Find out how to do it here, and find out how to clean a TV remote and TV speakers, too. Then check out all our cleaning tips, hacks and how tos. And, if you need a new TV, see our dedicated buyer's guides below:

How to clean a TV screen without streaks

Before you clean your TV screen, turn the telly off – and, if you're going to clean the back of the TV, too, unplug it. Why turn it off? It allows it to cool before you clean it, it's safer for the TV (and you, to a degree), and it's also easier to see the dirt and finger prints the kids have inevitably left there. This will ensure the TV screen will be streak-free once you've finished cleaning it.

Got the TV manual still? Before you do any cleaning or try any of the TV screen cleaning techniques below, check what the manufacturer recommends.

How to clean a plasma TV screen

It's worth knowing that old TVs (and we mean really old TVs) have glass screens that can be cleaned like any other glass in your house – for instance with a window cleaning spray. 

However, the same cannot be said for newer TVs. If yours is a plasma TV (these haven't been made since 2014, so if yours is newer than that, it's unlikely to be plasma), you'll need to opt for a different approach. 

Once the plasma screen has cooled, wipe it with a soft, lint-free cloth to remove smudges and fingerprints. If it's still dusty, spray water on to the lint-free cloth (note, not on to the TV screen) – or if the TV screen is still grimy, swap water for an alcohol-based TV screen cleaner, such as Monster Screen Clean or screen wipes. Next, gently wipe the dampened cloth on to the screen. Dry the screen with another lint-free, clean cloth to ensure the TV screen is streak-free. Allow all traces of the cleaner to evaporate before switching the TV back on. 

How to clean an LCD or OLD TV screen

Both LCD and OLED TV screens are easily scratched and damaged with cleaning, and we'd advise against wiping them even with a paper towel. Instead, switch to a soft, anti-static microfibre cloth, such as you'd use to clean your glasses or the lens of a camera. 

Use the cloth to gently wipe the TV screen in a circular motion to remove dust and grime, and be careful not to press too hard, which can also damage the screen. If the cloth isn't doing the job, lightly dampen the cloth with distilled water and gently wipe the screen. As ever, never spray water (or anything else for that matter) on to the screen. Water not working? The very weakest solution of mild dish soap and distilled water applied with the soft cloth can be applied, followed by another gentle wipe over with distilled water. Finally, use a dry microfibre cloth to dry the screen and to get rid of any streaks.

How to clean a TV screen with vinegar

You will see this as an option on some websites. They advocate a mixture of water and white vinegar to remove stubborn streaks from TV screens. We say, try it on very old glass TV screens, but don't use it on a new TV screen, such as OLED or LCD, and only use it on your plasma if you're thinking to replace it soon.

We love vinegar as a cleaning solution, however – don't miss our guide to cleaning your home with vinegar for loads of good ways to get a sparkling finish.

How to repair a scratch on a TV screen

First check your TV's warranty, which may cover replacement, either of the TV or the screen cover. Otherwise, you can buy scratch repair kits designed especially for TV screens. But before you try that, first try dipping a cotton bud into petroleum jelly and carefully applying it over the scratch. 

How to clean the TV screen's frame

This should be made of plastic, so you can clean a TV screen frame as you would other plastics in the house – ideally with a dampened lint-free cloth. Be careful not to let any cleaning products you use on the frame come into contact with the TV screen.

How to clean a remote control

If you're cleaning a TV screen, you might as well clean the remote control. As we've said before, remote controls harbour an alarming amount of germs (don't miss our guide to getting rid of germs for more on bacteria-harbouring household items). 

To give your remote control a thorough clean, take out the batteries, hold the remote so that the buttons are face down, and tap it to remove dust and crumbs. Next wipe the whole thing with a dampened microfibre cloth – dampened either with  water or the alcohol based spray – or with the TV screen wipes. If the buttons are really grimy, use dampened cotton wool buds to get into them, or use a dry toothbrush to carefully dislodge crumbs or dirt that has become stuck around the buttons. Finally, wipe the remote down with a dry, lint-free cloth and replace the batteries.

How to clean TV speakers

Again, use a microfibre cloth to remove dust from the surface of speakers. If yours have become very dusty, you can use your vacuum cleaner's upholstery tool to carefully remove dust from the front of the speakers. 

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