How to clean a flat screen TV

Fight back against fingerprints.

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What You Need:

Time Needed

10 minutes

Difficulty

Easy

Like sunglasses, mirrors and windows, TVs are best left free of smudge, spots and fingerprints. Unfortunately, there's a ton of misinformation out there about the best (and safest) ways to wipe away the blemishes on a TV. After all, these aren't just any old surfaces—they're expensive and often delicate pieces of technology.

Here's the good news: Once you understand the basics, freeing your spot-covered TV of your kid's oily palm prints couldn't be simpler. Just remember: A clean screen means a clean scene.

Is it safe to use Windex to clean a TV?

Chemical cleaners like Windex might contain harsh ingredients that could damage your LCD TV screen.

No, it is not safe to use Windex to clean your TV.

Repeat after me: I will never use Windex—or any type of window cleaner—to clean my TV.

Window cleaners contain harsh chemicals (like alcohol, ammonia, and lauramine oxide) that can do damage to LCD panels. One reason people assume that surface cleaners are still copacetic for TVs is because old-school CRT TVs could stand up against Windex, thanks in part to their glass screens. These days? The less liquid you use, the better.

What should I use to clean a TV instead of Windex?

To clean your TV screen the right way, start with a dry microfiber cloth and add small amounts of water as needed.

A soft, microfiber cloth is typically all you need to clean an LCD TV screen (but small amounts of water are fine, too).

Believe it or not, even the densest of fingerprints can be wiped away without the use of any moisture. It is important, however, to use the right type of cloth or towel when cleaning, otherwise you run the risk of scratching the panel.

Always use a microfiber cloth or towel—like the ones that come with a new pair of glasses—to clean your TV screen. Go to work on the problem areas with gentle, circular motions. Avoid applying too much pressure to the panel. If you're dealing with some stubborn, oily stains that just won't cooperate, resist the urge to exert more force. Instead, try moisturizing the cloth with a small amount of warm water.

Generally speaking, dedicated screen-cleaning solutions are OK for your LCD TV, but if you decide to use screen cleaner, make sure the formula does not include alcohol or ammonia.

If you decide to use water or some sort of cleaner, do not spray the screen directly. Instead, lightly moisten your microfiber cloth before wiping the your TV screen.

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Our editors review and recommend products to help you buy the stuff you need. If you make a purchase by clicking one of our links, we may earn a small share of the revenue. Our picks and opinions are independent from any business incentives.
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