Tips for Cleaning Your Television’s Screen

Make sure the picture is clear and sharp with a clean screen!

By Dawn Angileri


Dust and dirt might be the culprits if the image on your television isn't as sharp as it's supposed to be. Television screens are magnets for fingerprints and smudges, too.

No fun whether you want to watch “American Idol” or your favorite sports team!

How you clean the screen depends on its type. Regardless of the kind of set you have, please read the manufacturer’s instructions first. The manual will have some very good pointers.

Glass cleaners and similar products are not recommended on any but truly old sets, where screens are protected by glass. At worst, the cleaners could damage modern televisions; at the least, leave a hazy residue.

Begin by dry dusting the screen with a soft cloth. Paper towels could scratch it, so leave them in the kitchen. If this does not do the trick, follow the methods described below for your set.

Flat-Panel Screen Televisions: Fill a spray bottle with a 50/50 mix of filtered or bottled water and isopropyl alcohol. Lightly mist it onto a very soft, 100 percent cotton or microfiber dust cloth. Unplug the TV and then gently dust the screen.

Flat-screens are plasma or LCD and therefore fairly fragile. Don’t push or exert any pressure on the screen. If you can’t remove a tenacious smudge, contact the dealer or manufacturer for assistance.

Do not plug in or turn on the TV until the screen is completely dry.

Projection Televisions: Before you clean the screen, unplug it. Determine if yours has a screen shield. Many projection televisions have a plastic screen shield that can be cleaned with a damp, soft cloth, but can be damaged by paper towels and potent cleaning products. They also tend to streak. Use a dry cloth to buff the shield with small circular motions.

Projection televisions without a screen shield require specialized cleaners and rags. These are available where televisions are sold. The owner’s manual should also have information about how to acquire these.

Conventional Televisions: Older models with glass covering the screens can be cleaned with glass cleaner and paper towels. As with all televisions, unplug them first. Newer models of conventional TVs may be treated with anti-glare coating that can be scratched or damaged, and so these should be cleaned with a damp, cotton cloth. If you're not sure if yours has a coating, use a soft dampened cloth.

Regardless of the kind of television you and your family watches, you will enjoy this downtime more when the screen is clean and the image sharp and clear.