To catch every second of your favorite show and keep your TV in excellent condition, you'll need to clean your television screen regularly so it remains dust-, dirt- and fingerprint-free. But using the wrong cleaning method like spraying your TV directly with harsh chemicals can cause permanent damage and negate any warranty that may still be in effect.
That’s why the Good Housekeeping Institute’s Cleaning and Media and Tech Labs have joined forces to recommend the safest, most effective methods and household products to clean your television screen and reveal a picture that’s brilliant to watch and totally streak-free.
No matter what type of television you have, our recommended cleaning method remains the same. All you'll need to clean your TV screen is a dry microfiber cloth that’s designed to gently clean and remove smudges from eyeglasses, cell phones and camera lenses. Though there are thousands of microfiber cloths to choose from, our experts like Elite Tech Gear's oversized option. It's twelve inches square, so it’s easier to use on a large TV screen than a smaller cloth and helps you can zap away fingerprints quickly. And since it's designed for delicate surfaces and electronics you can use it to clean your laptop and iPad once you're done with your TV.
Here's the best way to clean a flat-screen TV without ruining it or ending up pesky little streaks, along with some useful tips on how to scrub down all the accessories that go along with it:
More delicate LCD, plasma or rear-projection screens can't handle traditional wet cleaning. So whether you own a Samsung, Sony or LG TV that has built up some grime or you recently purchased a 4K flat-screen that you want to keep looking good as new without damaging it, there are a few household products you can use to clean your TV screen.
• What you'll need: Microfiber cloth or electrostatic duster; pre-moistened wipe
• How to clean: Dust the TV with a soft, dry microfiber cloth or with an electrostatic duster, like GH Seal star, Swiffer. Spot-clean stubborn smudges with a pre-moistened wipe designed for electronics. With your microfiber cloth or duster, go over buttons and the back of the TV to nab dust in the vents.
• GH Lab Tip: Plasma screens, while made of glass, have anti-glare coatings that can be damaged by traditional cleaning products. It’s best to follow the same dry methods you’d use for cleaning LED, LCD and OLED TVs.
To keep your television streak-free, you'll want to avoid using pre-treated dusting cloths. They have oily finishes that are great for picking up dust on wood furniture but that can leave deposits on a TV screen.
• What you'll need: A clean microfiber cloth or duster
• How to clean: Wipe the screen first in one direction (horizontally or vertically) then wipe it a second time in the opposite direction to thoroughly cover the entire screen and nab any telltale streaks. Turn the cloth often as it picks up dust.
• GH Lab Tip: Clean the screen with the TV off. It’s easier to see and remove streaks when the screen is black.
Cleaning glass tube television screens is about as easy as cleaning the mirrors in your home. Read on below for our advice on how to clean your tube TV without ruining it.
• What you'll need: Microfiber cloth, window cleaning spray
• How to clean: Wipe with a microfiber cleaning cloth dampened with a little water or your favorite window cleaning spray. Nudge off any stuck-on bits with your fingernail and buff the screen dry.
• GH Lab Tip: Never (we repeat, never!) spray the screen directly. Doing so could damage the set, as well as any surrounding cabinetry.
If the sound coming from the speakers is muffled, it may be time to clean them. Follow the tips below to keep your speaker sound crystal clear.
• What you'll need: Scotch-Brite Lint Roller, vacuum
• How to clean: If the fabric covers on your speakers are removable (check the manual), pop them off and vacuum both sides with the upholstery tool to remove the dust, lint and pet hair that often stick there. If the covers can't be removed, tackle the job from the front with the vacuum or use a lint roller.
• GH Lab Tip: Even a wadded-up old pair of pantyhose can do for de-fuzzing duty. For rigid, screen-like speaker covers, either remove or clean them in place using a well-wrung, damp lint-free microfiber cloth and let dry.
While the cleanliness of the remote won’t affect your cinematic viewing experience, you’ll want to keep it clean so it continues to work with your TV. And cleaning it often minimizes the spread of germs as it is likely one of the most frequently touched items in your household. Here’s what we suggest.
• What you'll need: Disinfecting wipes
• How to clean: First, pop out the batteries and replace the cover on the battery compartment. Lightly tap the remote, button side down, on a table to dislodge any loose crumbs or debris stuck in the crevices. Grab a pre-moistened disinfecting wipe (just think of all the germy fingers your remote has seen!), wring it well so it’s not dripping and use it to clean both sides of the remote. Pay special attention to the buttons and narrow spaces around them. Allow the remote control to air dry, then replace the batteries.
• GH Lab Tip: To get into the tiny crevices, use a toothpick or your fingernail with the wipe to remove any stuck-on goo.
• Clean your TV weekly to keep dust, film and fingerprints from building up and becoming harder to remove. Make it even easier by keeping a microfiber cloth nearby to nab dust and grime when you see it.
• Never spray anything directly on a television screen, even glass tube televisions. Excess spray can get onto the cabinet and into the inner workings and damage the set.
• Use your vacuum’s soft dusting brush and low suction to remove dust from any vents, ports and cable connections.
• Remember to always follow manufacturer's instructions if under warranty as anything you do that runs contra to it can void your warranty.
• Stay away from products containing ammonia, alcohol or acetone, which can damage the television's screen.